Stevenson dumps Lake Zurich for 1st sectional title since 2001
Simone Sawyer spent nearly as much time on the floor as she did upright Thursday night in the Class 4A Warren girls basketball sectional final.
Forget the 12 points that Stevenson's breathless, 5-foot-10 guard scored in the Patriots' 46-26 defeat of Lake Zurich's Bears. Sawyer's all-out hustle, want-to, grit and countless hardwood slides and bounces helped Stevenson capture its first sectional title since the 2000-01 season.
She hit the floor to recover loose ball after loose ball after loose ball.
Stevenson's ceiling, a handful of days from the wonderful hoops month of March?
Perhaps it's too high to see.
Stevenson (33-2) faces Loyola Academy in the Hersey supersectional Monday at 7 p.m. LA's Ramblers (31-3) downed Maine South's Hawks 42-34 in the Glenbrook South sectional final Thursday night in Glenview.
Coach Ashley Graham's relentless Patriots used a 16-4 run that bridged the first and second quarters to secure a 21-13 lead in the final minute of the first half Thursday night. Four Pats -- Sawyer, senior guard Ava Bardic, sophomore guard/forward Emory Klatt and sophomore guard Kendell Williams -- tallied at least 4 points apiece in the first 16 minutes, as the top-seeded club from Lincolnshire took a 21-13 advantage at the break.
Sixth-seeded Lake Zurich (20-12) was limited to 4 points in the second stanza.
Bardic finished with a game-high 14 points, including her team's only 3-pointer. Junior forward Kate Arne netted 8 points -- all coming after the first quarter -- grabbed 4 rebounds and swatted 2 shots. Klatt and Williams each struck for 6 points.
Klatt, averaging a double-double this winter, came down with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Stevenson, which swept the regular-season series against LZ, opened the third quarter on an impressive 15-3 burst and led 36-20 after three frames.
Junior guard Baylie Parks and sophomore forward Anna Gilbertson paced LZ's Bears with 9 points apiece. The sharpshooting Parks fouled out with 5:48 left in the final quarter.
Bears senior standout Alayna Soukup scored only 2 points but nearly matched Sawyer's tip-to-final-buzzer determination in other areas of the game.