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House’s act a hit at Stevenson

01/21/2013, 6:12pm CST
By Bob Gosman

Riley House’s work with Stevenson’s scout team has impressed his coaches, earned the respect of his teammates and even earned some varsity playing time.

Fighting for a rebound (from left) is Stevenson's Riley House and Zion's Chris Moragne, Mubarak Bakr, and Trenton Curry. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

When it comes time to cast the lead in Stevenson’s spring play, perhaps the drama department should consider senior boys basketball player Riley House.

Sure, he has little formal acting training. But over the last two years, House has impressed on the stage of his sport for Stevenson.

Thanks to his ability to play any position on the floor, House often leads the scout team, whose job is to simulate what the Patriots will see from the opposition in their next game. Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose usually casts House into a lead role as the opposing team’s best player.

Lately, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound House morphed into Zion-Benton junior Malik Yarbrough. Yes, the same Yarbrough who stands 6-foot-5, weighs 220 pounds and is being recruited by many of the top college programs in the country.

“He doesn’t have Malik’s body, but he did a great job of replicating Malik,” Patriots senior Andy Stempel said. “He was drilling shots the whole practice and making us better as a team. He’s really valuable, and is our team’s best practice player.”

House said he enjoyed channeling his inner Yarbrough.

“I can’t compare to him, but I did a pretty good job getting my teammates ready for him,” House said. “I hit a couple of tough shots over defenders and my teammates got hyped up about it.”

House did well enough to draw a rare start, and was one of the players responsible for guarding Yarbrough. Yarbrough got his points (25), but it was Stevenson (13-4) emerging with a 66-56 victory. The next morning, House scored nine points to help the Patriots defeat Zion-Benton in a JV game. At that level, House is asked to be more of a scorer.

Ambrose appreciates that House will give 100 percent, whether it’s guarding Yarbrough in prime time or executing a drill during a long practice,

“He knows his role and does whatever is asked of him on a daily basis,” Ambrose said. “That is rare these days, where many players want to play a big role, or their role, or they decide not to even come out for the team. He brings his lunch pail to work every day for the betterment of himself and the team.”

In just two years, House has carved out an important niche for himself. As a freshman and sophomore, he played for Richmond-Burton.

“It was a little nerve-wracking, considering the size of the school, but I was able to get used to it,” House said. “It was a great opportunity.”

House said a trademark of this season’s Stevenson squad is the way in which the players challenge each other in practice and support each other in games.

“We go at it so hard in practice, but we also have a lot of fun,” he said. “During games, the bench calls out things on defense and helps us out by cheering. We have great energy.” ~.

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