Stevenson's Ambrose wins 500th game
Stevenson boys basketball coach Pat Ambrose certainly didn't want to be the focal point, but Ambrose "quietly" hit a huge milestone Friday night by recording his 500th career victory in 24 seasons.
It was not the easiest win for Ambrose and the Patriots. But in the end they pulled away from a pesky Mundelein squad for a 47-38 North Suburban Conference victory as the Mustangs struggled through a cold shooting game.
Stevenson (17-4, 8-1) only led 43-37 after a 3-pointer by Mundelein's Emmanuel Willoughby with 1:29 to play.
But Mundelein (10-13, 3-5) could not get any closer as the Patriots grabbed two huge offensive rebounds off of missed 1-and-1 free throws before junior Jack Dabbs (game-high 18 points, 12 rebounds) scored an inside hoop for a 45-37 lead with 50 seconds to play.
Then a fastbreak basket by Stevenson sophomore Aidan Bardic (14 points) boosted the lead to 47-37 with 32 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Ambrose downplayed the great milestone following the game as many people and players did not even know he had reached 500 career wins.
"I mean it tastes just like (win) 499 though, so it's not something I dwell on or focus on," said Ambrose, who coached probable NBA all-star Jalen Brunson (Class of 2015) of the New York Knicks. "I've had a lot of great players, I've got one in the NBA right now (Brunson) that made me look really good for a long time."
Despite shooting only 33% from the field overall (14-for-42), the Mustangs were able to stay within striking distance the whole way led by sophomore Derek Bishop with 11 points.
But when push came to shove, Mundelein could never get over the hump despite 9 points from Evan Salvador, 7 points from Willoughby, and 7 points from Trey Thompson. Stevenson's Christian Uremovich had 6 points and 6 rebounds while teammate Michael Maloney added 5 points.
"I think they play really good hard defense and kind of took us off some of our cuts," said Mundelein coach Matt Badgley, whose team was outrebounded 29-18. "They just do a really good of being able to control the game with just a slight lead and then they can stretch that out to be just a little bit bigger."
Early on the Pats led 11-7 after one quarter before leading 23-16 at halftime and 35-27 after three quarters. Stevenson shot 46% from the floor (21-for-45) while both squads had 11 turnovers.
"They (Mundelein) scrap, and they played hard," added Ambrose, whose team had 14 second-chance points to just 2 for Mundelein. "We just kind of stayed the course and Jack Dabbs had a great game."