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Stevenson's 1-2 punch sparks win
By Dino Macro | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 2/1/2013 11:19 PM

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As the tempo continued to pick up on Friday night, it was hardly a surprise that Connor Cashaw and Jalen Brunson stole a good portion of the spotlight.

The Stevenson duo put together a series of highlight-reel plays to spark the host Patriots to a 75-59 victory over Libertyville.

Cashaw exited the floor with 15 points, 3 steals, 4 assists and 5 rebounds, while Brunson piled up 17 points and 3 steals.

“It (the fast pace) has got to favor Jalen and Connor,” said Patriots assistant coach John Taylor, who led the team while Pat Ambrose was being inducted into the Naperville North Hall of Fame. “They’re both quick and athletic, and they move well in space.”

Cashaw’s best moments came early in the third quarter. He turned a steal into a layup, nailed 2 free throws and set up John Duffy for a layup to push the lead to 49-30.

“We love to get out and run,” Cashaw said. “Coach Ambrose and coach Taylor stress defense first, and then we can get out ahead and run.”

Brunson shook off some early foul trouble to score 11 of his 17 after intermission.

“He (Brunson) is a competitor,” Taylor said. “He wants to be perfect every time. He holds himself to a much higher standard than coach Ambrose or I expect of him.”

Stevenson (17-4, 7-2) also enjoyed the work of Matt Morrissey (17 points) and Andy Stempel (14 points).

“With all the attention that Jalen and Connor get, it opens up things for the other guys,” Taylor said. “Matt has put in the work, and now he’s getting some good looks.”

Libertyville (3-17, 1-7) played hard until the final whistle. Leading the charge was 6-foot-8 sophomore Joe Borcia, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.

“Joe had some good looks in the second quarter,” noted Cats coach Scott Bogumil. “He just didn’t finish them.”

During the break, Borcia had a chat with his coach.

“Joe told us to give him the ball,” Bogumil said. “He broke the lid off the basket (in the second half).”

His work around the basket could be a recurring theme for the next few years.

“He (Borcia) took us to the post, and he’s really strong,” noted Brunson, also a sophomore. “I’m looking forward to playing against him for the next two seasons.”

Wildcat guard Matt Reed buried four 3-point shots during a 14-point performance. The 6-0 junior made the most of his return to the starting lineup.

“Matt started this game because he was unconscious in practice,” Bogumil related. “Yesterday, I said, ‘I don’t know how we can keep him out of the starting lineup.

“I was proud of the way he kept attacking.”

Taylor was impressed by the Cats’ effort.

“Coach Bogumil’s teams always play hard,” said Taylor, a 2007 Stevenson graduate. “They are a better team than everyone thinks.”