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Stevenson's Samuel Panitch (43) and Waukegan's Angel Melendez (25) scramble for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of Friday evening's 4A Regional Final, played at Prospect High School. Stevenson won the game, 76-49. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Me
Top seed Stevenson wasted little time during its 76-49 romp over Waukegan Friday night.
The victorious Patriots (25-4) not only captured the Class 4A Prospect Regional championship in the process, but extended their winning streak to 15 games, too.
As he has most of the season, sophomore Jalen Brunson led Stevenson on the scoresheet. This time he finished with 19 points, nine assists and four rebounds.
“It was really important for us to jump out to an early lead on them,” Brunson said. “Last year, we lost (as a No. 8 seed) in the regional final (to top-seeded Warren), so I think this year it was our turn to come out and shine as the top seed in a game like this. My teammates did a great job out there.”
The Patriots also got double-digit scoring performances from Connor Cashaw (17 points), Andrew Stempel and Matt Morrissey (14 points each), as Stevenson shot a scalding hot 60.4 percent (29-of-48) from the field.
“This is a great feeling right now, “ Cashaw said. “To put in as much hard work as we have this year and have this happen is something else. Hopefully, we’re a long way from being through.”
Stevenson advances to play Mundelein in the Waukegan sectional semifinal game next Tuesday night, after the Mustangs beat the Scouts in other regional final action Friday.
Waukegan (15-12), meanwhile, got a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds from Devonte Taylor.
The Bulldogs, despite shooting 20-for-34 from the field themselves, admitted they were overmatched. They turned the ball over 13 times and had 14 fewer shot attempts than the Patriots.
“Everyone on that team (Stevenson) knows their roles, it’s incredible,” Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw said. “They’re very good defensively. They’re prepared. And they always know what calls are coming on both sides of the ball, and how to execute those calls.
“And Brunson? He’s tremendous. But I think what impresses me most about their clubs is their poise. No matter what the situation, they seem so calm and poised out there. As a group, they’re a lot better out there than they were at the beginning of the season.”