Stevenson pulls away from Palatine in 2nd half
Michael Maloney brought his football mentality to the basketball court for Stevenson Friday.
Maloney, who was the starting running back on the football team, used that approach to spark the Patriots to a 57-43 win over Palatine.
With the win, Stevenson (3-0) won its pool in the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic at Palatine. The Patriots will play Glenbrook South, which won the other pool, in the title game Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
"We made a couple of adjustments and gave the kids a couple of things for the kid to concentrate on," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "But credit the kids. The adjustments weren't earth-shattering. But we have a pretty good defensive team."
Maloney helped lead a Patriots defense that put the squeeze on Palatine (2-1) in the final three quarters.
"Football season really got me prepared for this year," Maloney said. "I came in here with a role this year and coach told me to be a football player. As a captain of the team I am going to bring energy to this team. I am not going to be the best scorer, but I can do it on defense."
The first quarter was played at breakneck place with the game tied at 19-19 after the first quarter.
Palatine opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run and took a 25-19 lead on a steal and driving basket by Tommy Elter with 5:05 left in the half. That's when Stevenson put the clamps on the Pirates.
The Patriots limited Palatine to 2-of-16 shooting over the next 16 minutes. They also forced five turnovers. That enabled Stevenson to pull ahead and eventually put the game away.
First Stevenson was able to grab a 32-30 lead midway through the third quarter.
Palatine then had an opportunity to get right back in the game after Stevenson was called for an intentional foul. Palatine not only missed both free throws, but they also turned over the ensuing possession.
Stevenson jumped all of the opportunity.
Led by juniors Christian Uremovich and Jack Dabbs, who each scored 15 points, the Patriots ran off 16 unanswered points to surge ahead 48-30.
"I really have to credit our reserve players," Uremovich said. "They stepped up and learned the Palatine offense quickly. They gave us a real good look today during our walk through."
Dabbs said the Patriots' defense was the key to their scoring run.
"We are all buying into Ambrose's system," Dabbs said. "We buy into playing defense. Each and every practice, that's what we do."
David Sulnius had 11 points for the Patriots while Maloney had seven points and Aidan Bardic had six points.
Palatine, which shot 28% (13-of-47), was led by Tyler Swierczek, who had 10 points. Connor May had eight points, Elter and Quinn Golletz each had seven points while Sam Millstone had five points.
"We went through stretches where the ball wasn't going through the bottom of the net," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "But if that is happening, you have to shore things up on the defensive end. Stevenson did a real good job of taking advantage of our offensive miscues and capitalizing on their end of the floor."