Girls’ Varsity Dominates, Boys’ Varsity Struggles against Mundelein

Stevenson held a “Hoops for Heroes” night on Friday, Dec. 8, featuring a doubleheader with the girls’ varsity matchup at 5:30pm and the boys’ varsity matchup directly following. Although both games were against Mundelein, each turned out very different.

The girls’ varsity game was not much of a contest. Up 15-0 in the blink of an eye, the Patriots continually throttled the Mustangs throughout the game to cruise to a 51-20 victory. Every member of the Patriots team contributed, as Coach Ashley Graham had all players involved early and often, making subs every few minutes to make sure everyone had some playing time. Graham gave Nicole Ware ’21 as much playing time as she could, and Ware utilized it, accumulating nine points and showing glimpses of what is to come for the only freshman on varsity.

Although Stevenson won by 31, it was not their offense that was super effective. Defensively, the Patriots stifled the Mustang offense and forced countless turnovers which led to easy points at the other end. Kiana Cencula ’18 contributed with four steals and midway through the third quarter, Julia Osuch ’18 sent a shot back all the way to Mundelein, rejecting the ball with authority and stopping a rare Mundelein fast break by herself. Stevenson sports a three game win streak, 6-3 record and faces off against the Zion-Benton Zee-Bees on Dec. 13.

Just like the girls’ varsity team did, the boys’ varsity team started with an offensive outburst. After being down 5-0 early, the Patriots launched a 12-1 run to capture the lead and get a hold on the game. Midway through the second quarter, Stevenson was up 26-12. However, unlike past years where Stevenson has dominated this matchup winning 11 straight, this game had different feeling to it. And then, after halftime, the tables turned.

Mundelein got hot. Really hot. The Mustangs were shooting only 39% in the first half, but suddenly, Mundelein could not miss. Senior Jeff Bikus was lights out, drilling threes left and right, and was lethal in the post against the smaller Stevenson guards. Bikus had 23 points in the game and led the charge in the third quarter. By the time the third quarter was over, Mundelein had all the confidence. The Patriots were cold. Ice cold. Except for their one bright spot, Matt Ambrose ’20.

In the first half, it was the ‘Jackson Qualley ’18 show,’ as Qualley had 12 points and had a pair of threes. But in the second half, Ambrose kept the Patriots in it as he caught fire. At one point, Ambrose was so hot that he had an open three pointer, waited for Bikus to come up and play him, and then drilled a 26 footer right in Bikus’ face. Ambrose finished with 27 points and was five of eight from downtown.

Mundelein took the lead from the Patriots as the fourth quarter was winding down. With 1:26 to go, the Patriots were down nine. Slowly and methodically, the Patriots were catching breaks. With 41 seconds left, the Patriots had the lead down to five. But freshman Scottie Ebube was not about to let Stevenson come back. Ebube finalized Mundelein’s effort with a slam to put the game out of reach.

The final score was 69-64 in favor of Mundelein. Qualley and Ambrose combined for 47 points and the Patriots now drop to 5-2 on the season, while the Mustangs improve to 6-2.