Stevenson's red-hot shooting sinks Lake Zurich
Bears-Patriots has an NFL ring to it.
But the matchup played out on a basketball court Tuesday night, with Lake Zurich's Bears hosting Stevenson's Patriots in a North Suburban Conference boys basketball opener for both teams.
A field goal, alas, didn't decide it.
Sizzling shooting from the field did.
Stevenson charred nets at a 25-for-37 (.676) clip in its 67-58 victory.
Patriots senior guard Brandon Sorokin paced all scorers with 19 points, including 11 in the first half. His fourth and final 3-pointer at the 2:39 mark of the third quarter upped the visitors' lead to 42-32.
Stevenson sophomore guard Aidan Bardic battled like a seasoned senior all night, tallying 18 points and whipping the assist of the night to junior forward Jack Dabbs (10 points, game-high 11 rebounds) near the end of the second quarter.
Sorokin had drained a trey 18 seconds earlier when the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Bardic unleashed a fastball from the top of the key. Dabbs snared it in stride and calmly scored on a reverse layup.
"We all love Aidan," Sorokin said. "He's unselfish, plays hard, and he always wants to get better.
"Our entire team is unselfish. We all want everybody else to do well."
Playing without starting senior guard David Sulnius (illness), third-ranked Stevenson (5-1, 1-0 in the NSC) led 18-9 after one quarter and 32-22 at the break. Bardic had a hand in each point of a 6-0 spurt midway through the second frame, dishing an assist to junior forward Christian Uremovich (13 points, 4 boards) and recording a pair of layups (the first off his steal) in a 40-second span.
Lake Zurich (4-2, 0-1), ranked No. 20, poured in the first 6 points of the second half to narrow Stevenson's advantage to 32-28. Bears sophomore Anton Strelnikov (team-high 13 points, 5 rebounds) netted four of them.
A field goal from LZ senior Noah Kyrychenko (9 points).
But Stevenson re-established momentum, outscoring the hosts 19-9 to secure a 51-37 lead after three stanzas.
"We're young," LZ coach Terry Coughlin said. "Unforced errors and Stevenson's offensive rebounds hurt us. A lot of our kids are getting used to playing varsity basketball, and tonight we went up against a team -- a poised team -- coached by Pat Ambrose, one of the best to ever coach in Illinois.
"Our guys never quit -- that's been our hallmark thus far."
LZ senior Brendan Powers and junior Ryan Carrol scored 11 points apiece, and 6-3 junior Nick Popovic (3 3-pointers) struck for all 10 of his points in the final quarter, when the Bears outscored the Pats 21-16.
"Our passing," Ambrose said, referring to another significant factor in the win. "We made that extra pass in possessions, giving us open looks.
"Lake Zurich hung in there," he added. "(Popovic) got hot there at the end, and their sophomore (Strelnikov) has a nice inside game."