Stevenson Stumbles vs Libertyville

Varsity Boys Basketball fell 51-50 in a thrilling game against Libertyville on Friday, January 14, 2022


The Stevenson varsity boys basketball team welcomed the Libertyville Wildcats to the Sports Center on Friday, hoping to take a win against the rivals. It ended 51-50, a tough Stevenson loss. The evening was also ‘Military Appreciation Night’ as ROTC members and veterans led an opening ceremony of sorts. Although the Patriots had a decent night, highlighted with an incredible 3rd quarter, the overall feelings from the game were that of disappointment and a missed opportunity.   

Although the game was decent for the Patriots, the 1st quarter was lackluster. A sloppy Stevenson defense was put on the edge of a sword by an eager Libertyville. Urged on by their vibrant orange away fans, Libertyville started strong, seemingly hitting the same open three on the bottom left-hand side of the court on every possession. A couple solid offensive possessions, one finished off by a striking 3 pointer from junior David Sulnius, kept Stevenson in the quarter, but did not take away from the dominant Wildcats. Coach Ambrose called out his team’s defense, and the Wildcat’s went into the first break with a 21-13 point lead. 

The 2nd quarter was an improvement by Stevenson, as the introduction of senior Tate Donica and some great defense from the team allowed them to regroup and better facilitate play. Sophomore Christian Uremovich starred in the quarter, putting points back on the board for Stevenson as they doubled their 1st quarter points. Libertyville remained in the game, but had few highlights going forward as they only put 6 points up on the board. Stevenson looked confident and eager. The comeback was on as the half ended 27-26, advantage Libertyville. 

The boys in green and gold picked up right where they left off in the 2nd quarter, continuing to put points up on the board and take the lead for the first time in the game in the 3rd quarter. A couple of intense steals and breakaways from the team allowed them to get the points back up. Senior Jaden Evans had his best quarter, starring on defense and facilitating some offense. Donica and Uremovich continued their impactful performances, acting as leaders both vocally and in scoring. The Patriot defense was effective; Libertyville was held to 4 points in the whole quarter. At this point, Stevenson looked to be coasting towards a win, ending the 3rd quarter with a 38-31 lead. 

The 4th quarter got quite interesting, as both teams eventually broke into their team’s bonus fouls. Passionate fans in both sections made noise, critiquing refereeing decisions and taunting the other fan section. Libertyville had their second best period of the night, scoring 20. The team showed real fight and tenacity, they came to win. A resurgent couple of possessions from the Wildcats made it a 6 point game with a little over 3 minutes left to play. However, a couple of fouls gave Stevenson a chance to put some points between the two teams. Donica’s free throws kept Stevenson in the driver’s seat. Libertyville played persistently, with a striking counter cutting their deficit to 3 points with just 2:07 minutes left to be played. Evans and Donica continued their efforts to keep the score in Stevenson’s favor, even at one point having a basket disallowed as the refs reasoned it came off the wire. Roars from both student sections filled the Sports Center as another quick orange counter made the game 49-48, Stevenson lead. Stevenson thought they had relief, as a bonus foul meant they could relieve the pressure and put more points up. The free throws, however, were missed, and the score remained unchanged. Against the run of play, a huge charge from Libertyville ended with a devastating three, which was sunk and put Libertyville in the lead 51-49 with 17.7 seconds to go. A Stevenson possession was cut short by Coach Ambrose, who called a timeout to the dismay of the crowd. With 6.3 seconds to go, a well run play resulted in a foul against Stevenson.  

Game deciding moment here, as Jaden Evans stepped up to take the free throws. High pressure situation. Evans needed to take 2, score 2. Shot one, SUNK. 50-51. Evans went to take again, but another timeout was called by Coach Ambrose. Groans from the Stevenson student section were countered by an ecstatic Libertyville student section, who could just taste the win. Jaden went back to the line, ready to shoot, and the Sports Center was filled with roars of support and jeers from behind him. With a chance to tie the game, Evans missed, and the rebound was collected and launched away from an orange shirt. The Libertyville student section spilled onto the court, as the Patriots stood, stunned and dejected. 

Stevenson may feel as if they let themselves down by the end of the game on Friday night, as stellar 2nd and 3rd quarters from the team should’ve been enough to win. However, a resurgent Wildcat side came out when it counted and looked more determined to win. A devastating 3 from the Cats, and questionable timeouts from the Patriots put the whole game on the (free throw) line right at the death. A missed opportunity, for sure, but the Pats have lots to be proud of. 


Photos by Dylan Barbee and Griffin Brown