Team effort carries Stevenson by Prospect for regional crown
It was just a small moment in the game, a hustle play by Stevenson senior Jaden Evans.
But it was indicative of the way the Patriots played the entire contest.
Late in the first quarter Friday at the Class 4A Mundelein boys basketball regional championship game against Prospect, Evans fought his way through traffic in the paint to grab an offensive rebound.
Evans quickly fed classmate Evan Porto for a layup -- and it was a great example of how Stevenson was just a step ahead from the get-go.
The Patriots put forth an outstanding team effort to defeat the Knights 59-43 and win the regional title.
"I thought Michael Maloney (a Patriots junior) set the tone for us in the first half, and we really kind of locked them down," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "He did a great job, and (throughout) we took really good shots and just kept it going."
Stevenson will face North Suburban Conference rival Libertyville in the Barrington sectional on Wednesday.
Evans led the way for the Pats with 18 points, while Prospect junior guard Alex Georgakas gave a terrific performance with a game-high 20 points and kept his team in the game in the second half.
"We couldn't quite pick up any momentum tonight, especially offensively," said Prospect coach Brad Rathe, "and we had trouble putting the ball in the basket.
"Stevenson kind of took us out of some of the things that we wanted to. We were a little bit out of sync, but you have to give credit to their defense."
Prospect trailed by just 6 at halftime and battled to keep it close in the third quarter, led by Georgakas.
Then Stevenson 6-foot-6 sophomore Christian Uremovich, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half, got it going.
Uremovich hit back-to-back layups late in the third quarter to give the Pats a 10-point lead.
"Christian did just a great job for us," said Ambrose.
Prospect senior guard Owen Schneider opened the fourth period with a steal and fed Georgakas for a breakaway layup, but after that, it was all Stevenson.
The Patriots (20-8) were 16-of-17 from the free-throw line down the stretch, including 6-for-6 from Uremovich, to seal the win.
"The kids played really hard tonight," added Ambrose. "I'm happy for them."
Porto finished with 9 points for the Pats, while senior Jackson Hall scored 7 for Prospect and teammate David Marshall, another senior, had 5.
It turned out to be the final game for a great group of Knights seniors, including Marshall, Schneider, Hall, Alexander Kazuk, Charlie Carroll, Owen Walter, Patrick Freeman, Daniel Raupp and Marcin Jacek.
"They were great representatives of our team and our school," said Rathe of the senior class, "and I'm proud of them."
The first-year coach, who's team finished with a 17-12 record, was upbeat despite the loss.
"We accomplished a lot this year," added Rathe, "and we'll keep our heads up."