Stevenson hangs on to down Lake Forest

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/21/2022 10:38 PM

Stevenson's boys basketball team had to find a way to win while making a statement in the North Suburban Conference race. The Patriots took advantage of the home court and built a big enough lead to do it on Friday night.

The odd thing was that both teams couldn't make a free throw in the fourth quarter. But the Patriots' Evan Porto made the most important one with two-tenths of second left on the clock.


Stevenson held on for a 45-43 victory over visiting Lake Forest in Lincolnshire.

The Patriots improved to 12-5 and 4-2 in the NSC, while the Scouts dropped to 14-6 and 6-1.

"Lake Forest and Stevenson, you don't expect a lot of scoring," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "There was a lot of physicality and we were able to hold them down at the start. Asa Thomas got going but we held on for the victory."

The Patriots built a 7-point lead early in the fourth quarter only to see the Scouts' Thomas cut the lead to 44-43 with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. But before that each team had a hard time converting free throws as they combined for 11 missed free throws.

"That wasn't so pretty," Ambrose said. "We had missed some front ends (of the bonus). Having the lead we did relax a bit. We didn't have to shoot, we wanted to make smart decisions."

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Porto (14 points) sealed the game with his free throw.

"We knew it would be a very good game against a well-coached team," Porto said. "We prepared hard all week and we were locked in. We were able to grind it out towards the end. It was a great win for our team, and it shows who we really are. We were able to bounce back after the last time we played them."

Jaden Evans had a team-high 16 points but got hit under his eye going for a rebound according to Ambrose and had to leave the game in the final minute.

David Sulinas added 9 points and hit 3 3-pointers for the Patriots.

Lake Forest had its only lead of the game on the opening basket as Stevenson led 12-4 after the opening quarter and 19-12 at halftime.

The Scouts kept chipping away in the third quarter behind Thomas, who had 8 of his game-high 21 points, but still trailed 31-27 after three quarters.

Tommy Aberle and Alex Forowycz each added 9 points for Lake Forest.

"(Stevenson) just out physicaled us and I didn't get our guys ready enough," Lake Forest coach Phil LaScala said. "I thought (Stevenson) did a great job getting the ball to the paint on their drives. That's what hurt us. I just have to get our team more prepared going through that contact."

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