Stevenson’s win worth shouting about
Jalen Brunson's primal scream — produced after Stevenson's point guard won an offensive rebound off the floor, scored and was fouled — could be translated simply:
This is not the same Patriots basketball team from earlier in the season.
Brunson completed the three-point play, capping a 21-0 run to start the game, and it would actually get worse for visiting Warren.
Connor Cashaw scored a game-high 15 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and recorded 3 steals, and Stevenson avenged a North Suburban Conference Lake Division loss for the second time in five days with a stunning, 63-31 rout on its home floor Tuesday night.
How dominating were the Patriots?
They led 16-0 after one quarter, 32-8 at halftime and were up 52-17 after three. When Stevenson opened the fourth with a 3-pointer by Cashaw and a drive and bucket by Justin Berkson, the lead was 40.
"We got a team right now that needs to do some soul-searching," said first-year Warren coach Ryan Webber, whose Blue Devils (11-9, 3-5) had actually won its last three, averaging 74 points per game vs. Libertyville, Deerfield and Round Lake.
"I've never had a team get beat that bad. First time in eight years and it doesn't sit well with me. I'm not a happy coach right now."
Stevenson (14-4, 6-2), which avenged a loss to Zion-Benton last Friday night and fell to Warren 55-52 the last time, won its fourth in a row. The Patriots are 10-2 since starting NSC Lake play with road losses to Zion-Benton (Nov. 30) and Warren (Dec. 4).
"That was tough," Stevenson guard Andy Stempel said of the 0-2 start in division play. "Two bad losses that put us down a little bit."
"We were ready for (Warren) because the last time we were frustrated that we lost to them," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "It's not anything against them. It's just that we're a better team (compared to earlier in the season)."
Stevenson shot 7 of 13 in the opening quarter, getting baskets from five players and 3-pointers from Matt Morrissey and Stempel against Warren's zone.
At the other end, the Blue Devils missed all 10 of their shots.
"We played real well in the first quarter," Ambrose said. "We were able to get ready and get our feet set, and were able to make them take some tough shots. And then we rebounded real well."
"We wanted to be very intense and pressure them well, so they wouldn't get comfortable," said Cashaw, who collected 2 of his 3 offensive boards in the first quarter. "We feel we came out much more intense on defense, forcing steals, rebounding, grabbing loose balls."
Stempel knocked down two more 3s in the third quarter, and finished with 13 points. Brunson, who sat out the fourth quarter, tallied 11 points, while Morrissey, who missed the first Warren game due to illness, added 9 points.
"We wanted to come out really fast," Stempel said. "We figured out how to take them out of their zone and then from there, man to man, we were pretty good."
Aarias Austin scored 7 of Warren's 8 points in the opening half. His fastbreak basket off a feed from Derek Mason finally put the Blue Devils on the board with 6:31 left in the second quarter. Dominic Cuevas also scored 7 points, all in the fourth quarter, for Warren. Timmy Pieper popped for a pair of second-half 3-pointers.
Warren was 5 of 32 from the floor through three quarters, before going 6 of 12 in the fourth. The Blue Devils turned the ball over 11 times in the opening half.
"They outplayed us. They out-toughed us," Webber said of the Patriots. "They didn't want us to cut, so we didn't cut."
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