Another Plaque for Stevenson Boys Basketball

Stevenson (22-8) took down Hersey High School (19-13) to bring home the Regional Title.

Overcoming a shooting slump in the first half, the Stevenson Boys Basketball team beat the Hersey Huskies 50-36 on Feb. 24 to win the regional finals and advance to sectionals.

Stevenson started the game off cold, missing several open shots and making careless mistakes. Hersey was able to establish an early 4-0 lead with key contributions from Max Menninga. Stevenson was not able to contain Hersey’s offense and struggled to find good shots on the other side of the court.

“We started off slow because we had a few slip-ups on defense, which allowed them easy points at the start,” Stevenson guard David Sulnius ’23 said.

However, all Stevenson needed was a made floater from Aidan Bardic ’25 to get some momentum. Bardic made another tough layup to put the score at 10-4 in Hersey’s favor.

David Sulnius ’23 drives down the right lane for a smooth finish over several defenders. Sulnius and others were able to score easily in the paint which was the difference maker down the stretch. (Elan Gurevich)

At the 2-minute mark, both Stevenson and Hersey went on scoring runs with neither team able to stop the other on defense. A made layup by Johnny Ryg for Hersey was matched with a made three from deep in the right corner by Sulnius for Stevenson to put the score at 12-7. Sulnius got deep in the paint and dumped the ball off to an open Bardic who made the open floater to put the score at 12-9. A back and forth quarter ended with Brandon Sorokin ’23 hitting a corner three off a swing pass from Bardic to make it 15-12 in the Huskies’ favor heading into the second quarter.

Adjusting to Hersey’s pace, Stevenson started the new quarter with Christian Uremovich ’24 scoring a quick layup in the paint. On the subsequent play, Michael Maloney ’23 caught a pass from Sulnius and scored the layup while drawing a foul mid-air. On the last play for Stevenson, Sulnius hit his defender with a pump fake and made the pull-up charity stripe jumper to make it 19-18 with Stevenson trailing by only one point. Stevenson played as a team, with a majority of made field goals coming off of assists.

Although Stevenson was lights-out on offense, the Patriots committed careless fouls on defense that Hersey capitalized on at the line, making it more difficult to cut down Hersey’s lead.

Michael Maloney ’23 used a trick out of Michael Jordan #23’s bag and switched hands mid-air to complete the highlight play. Maloney and other patriots ran out on fast breaks which allowed them to get easy points off Hersey turnovers. (Elan Gurevich)

However, the Patriots cleaned up their defense in the third quarter. Setting the tone of the new half, a scoop layup from Sulinus gave the team its first lead of the night. Stevenson proceeded to focus on inside scoring which allowed the team to achieve a lead of 26-19. Maloney got the student section on their feet when in transition he jumped off from the left end of the backboard, switched hands mid-air and finished on the right side of the backboard to avoid the hands of the defender in the MJ-esque play.

Despite giving up the lead, Hersey refused to let up and scored an open three off a chaotic play, putting the score at 30-21 with less than a minute of action left in the third. Hersey finished the quarter with Jared Ryg hitting a three from the top of the key to put the score at 32-27 heading into the fourth in Stevenson’s favor.

“In the third quarter we really just looked at what they were taking away and what they were letting us do,” Sulnius said. “They were denying the shooters [good shots] so the driving lanes were open for us. We were also able to continue to lock down their best players, which helped us extend the lead.”

Stevenson carried their momentum into the fourth quarter with Bardic getting deep into the paint and rolling the ball off the backboard. Hersey refused to let their season end with Menninga getting deep in the paint, absorbing contact on a layup and converting the additional free throw to get three points the hard way. Jackson Hupp got deep into the post and scored a quick basket to make it a one-possession game for Hersey at 34-32.

David Sulnius ’23 hits a three in front of the Stevenson bench which does their best impression of the Golden State Warriors’ bench. Stevenson was able to knock down several threes which ultimately put the momentum in their favor throughout the game. (Elan Gurevich)

Maloney continued his aggression in the paint by getting deep inside, absorbing a foul and still making the layup. Using a series of headfakes, Bardic tricked the Hersey defense and was able to get a wide open layup to put the score at 38-32 in the final five minutes of the game. After several made shots by Stevenson and several missed shots by Hersey, Stevenson knew they had something to celebrate. Swaraj Mohapatra ’23 capitalized on the victory when he was checked in with under a minute left and scored a floater over several defenders to make the student section go wild.

As the buzzer went off to signify a Patriot victory over the Huskies, the student section stormed the court to celebrate with the team. Chanting “Patriots on three, family on six,” the bonds of the team extended beyond the boundaries of the court to friends and fans who cheered the team on the whole season.

“We worked hard all year for a win like this,” Sulnius said. “It means a lot to me and for the team that we were able to accomplish this and we hope to continue our run in the sectionals.”