Libertyville takes NSC lead over Stevenson
Libertyville used a Bug-A Boone to blast past Stevenson 62-52 Saturday in Lincolnshire.
Will Buchert bugged Stevenson in the first half while Aidyn Boone provided some long range spark for Libertyville (15-3, 5-0) in a battle for the midseason lead in the North Suburban Conference.
Buchert scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first half thanks to three key steals.
"It was really a momentum changer for us getting free baskets," said Buchert, who finished with four steals. "I watched a lot of film on them. So I was kind of expecting a lot of their stuff."
When Stevenson (13-3, 5-1) tried to mount a comeback in the second half, there was Boone knocking down 4-of-5 three-pointers to shut down the Patriots.
"That was the goal," said Boone, who finished with 18 points, 17 of which came in the second half. "We trust in all of our players."
Buchert was like a fly, sliding between Stevenson players and stealing the ball.
Three times, Buchert swooped in to grab the ball off an errant pass. He was then able to slide to the basket uncontested for layups.
The first time he did it, it capped a 7-0 run as Libertyville opened up a 12-8 advantage.
Buchert then followed up with an encore.
The Wildcats led 16-14 early in the second quarter when they ran off nine consecutive points. Buchert again capped the run with not one, but a pair of steals, and drove for baskets as Libertyville opened up a 25-14.
Stevenson pulled close with three-pointers by Christian Uremovich and Jack Dabbs cutting the margin to 25-20.
But as time expired, Buchert slid behind the defense, grabbed a rebound and was fouled when shooting as time expired. He drained both free throws as the Wildcats took a 27-20 lead.
After Libertyville pulled ahead 34-24, Stevenson whittled it down to 34-30 on a basket by Aidan Bardic. More importantly, for the first time, the Patriots had some momentum.
That's when Boone burst the Stevenson bubble.
The 6-foot-6 senior popped in a pair of three-pointers. He added two free throws and then two more three-pointers as the Wildcats opened up a 49-41 lead. Stevenson would get no closer than seven points from there.
"From the start of the game, Will Buchert defensively and offensively kind of set the tone," Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski said. "Aidyn Boone then took control of that game. On the glass and finishing inside. His ability to hit the outside shot I think was the difference maker."
Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team will play at Libertyville Feb. 10, said his team will learn from this loss.
"They gave us a lesson to learn, credit to them," Ambrose said. "We've got some young guards that are learning some lessons. I am proud of our guys for digging in and not giving up."
Stevenson was led by David Sulnius, who had 14 points. Bardic and Dabbs each had 12 points. Uremovich added nine points and Michael Maloney six points.
Boone had seven rebounds and three blocks. Cole Bonder chipped in nine points while Jack Huber had eight points.