Ston's 21 leads St. Francis over St. Edward, gives coach Dwyer 100th win
After putting on an offensive show in the first half on Tuesday night, St. Francis junior guard Dylan Ston was ready to make a bigger impact in the final two quarters.
Wearing a white headband, Ston was the first player out of the halftime locker room, but he walked into an unexpected scene. An extended halftime break, which included a few dance shows, forced Ston to wait a bit longer until he started his warmup routine.
"I was just confused what they were doing (at halftime)," Ston said.
Ston eventually went back to putting on scoring display, tallying 6 points in a critical 2-plus minute segment in the fourth quarter to hand the Spartans a 51-40 win over St. Edward.
The Spartans (2-4) won the Metro Suburban crossover game thanks to Ston finishing with a game-high 21 points to offset 16-point efforts by St. Edward's Ben Zielinski and Kaden Dawson. Standing 6-foot-3 with long arms and a solid inside-outside game, Ston is a player with a bright future in hoops. He showed the ability to put the ball on the floor, play big inside and scoring from outside.
Ston, who prefers baseball over volleyball despite his family's background, said he's focused on becoming a complete player this season after the Spartans suffered heavy graduation losses from last season's 28-win team.
"My teammates helped me out, and we hit shots tonight and we all played well together," Ston said. "My teammates made some shots, and that let me be open to score. I got open and they drove and kicked it to me. It was my day today."
The Green Wave (5-4) fell victim to fatigue in the fourth quarter, playing the game with nine players, including three sophomores and a freshman. Ston scored 12 points in the first half to give the Spartans a 35-22 lead. St. Edward sliced the deficit to 43-38 early in the fourth quarter following a basket by Zielinski, but Ston scored 4 straight points in less than a minute to give the hosts a cushion.
"We told them at halftime not to quit, and we played hard in the second half," St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski. "I was proud of how our kids played. We struggled with their trap a bit in the first half. We're not really deep, and our bench is (small). Three of the guys played in most of the sophomore game. We're down to six true varsity kids. It's tough. We will struggle with the depth factor. We have to play 32 minutes. We have to learn from this and get better."
The Spartans' defense came up big in the clutch, holding the Green Wave to two points over the final five-plus minutes to secure their second win of the season.
"We have to find a way to maintain our consistency, but we're young and learning on the fly," St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer said after notching his 100th career win. "We responded pretty well and shared the ball. Dylan had a nice game. He's a versatile player. We ask him to do a lot of stuff. He makes us better with his passing, can get to the rim and is a versatile athlete. He's got a lot of upside."