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Stevenson's Jalen Brunson (15) reacts to a loose ball collision in game action vs. Lake Forest. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Stevenson can’t say it is conference champions, but it took an important step towards that goal Friday night.
Behind a quiet 23 points from star sophomore guard Jalen Brunson, the Patriots won their ninth in a row, beating Lake Forest, 59-50.
With the victory, Stevenson (19-4, 8-2) remains in the driver’s seat for the North Suburban Lake conference title, with Zion-Benton one loss behind.
“We want to play hard every game and go into the playoffs with a chip on our shoulder,” Patriots sophomore guard Connor Cashaw said, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds.
Early on, the game looked as though it would be a shootout. But a 16-14 score at the end of the first quarter did not foreshadow what was to come. It was in the second quarter where Stevenson took control, outscoring Lake Forest 15-8 and leading 31-22 at the break.
Brunson, who played in front of numerous college scouts watching from the stands, waited until the fourth quarter to put on a show. After Lake Forest senior center Sam Downey (team-leading 16 points) scored to make it 44-39 early in the fourth, the Patriots went on a decisive 9-2 run. It was capped by a play fans had been waiting all night for. Off a mid-court steal, senior Matt Morrissey fed Brunson who was all alone leading the break. He went up with his left hand, hesitating slightly before finishing with a Scouts defender trailing.
Whether or not it was a dunk was debatable, but it was good enough for Brunson.
“I thought he (the defender) was going to jump with me. I gathered it at the last second,” Brunson said. “I’ll count it as a dunk.”
Lake Forest sophomore forward Evan Boudreaux had 18 points and eight rebounds. The Scouts (15-7, 4-6), have now lost four conference games in a row.