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Stevenson wins again at Proviso West

Updated: December 27, 2012 7:36PM



Stevenson’s promising sophomores of Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw are rapidly gaining more attention on the bigger stage at the 52nd annual Proviso West Holiday tournament.

Brunson made the game-winning shot to beat Hinsdale Central in the tournament opener Wednesday. It was Cashaw’s turn Thursday by becoming one of three players to score a game-high 16 points, but the 6-foot-3 guard also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and shot 7 of 9 at the free-throw line.

Stevenson pulled out a 58-49 victory over St. Charles East in the second round at Proviso West in a meeting between first-year teams at the newly expanded tournament. The Saints suffered a blow when Purdue-bound senior guard Kendall Stephens re-aggravated his right shoulder after colliding during a screen for a Stevenson 3-pointer with 7:01 to play in the game.

Stephens, who has been playing this season with a torn labrum, did not return.

St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods noticed that Stephens originally injured his shoulder while getting screened in the second quarter. He did not leave the game at that time. Stephens has not missed a game this season, but his status is undetermined for the Saints’ game against Maine South or Glenbard East at 6 p.m. Friday.

“We have to keep our fingers crossed,” Woods said. “We knew what we were dealing with when the season started.”

Stevenson (9-2) will play Maine South or Glenbard East in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday.

Cashaw, Brunson and Saints’ guard Dom Adduci finished with 16 points each. A.J. Washington added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Saints (8-3). Stephens scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but his only basket in the second half was a 3-pointer. Stephens didn’t score his first basket of the game until there was 1:10 remaining in the first quarter. The Saints led 11-9.

“We kind of locked in defensively. We played better defense in the second half,” said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, a former assistant coach at Proviso West. “Matt Morrissey is one of our best defensive players. He is an all-state football player. He got into foul trouble in the first half, but I am proud of him.”

Stephens’ injury occurred during Stevenson’s 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 41-35 lead. The Saints could not rally and shot 2-of-19 3-pointers in the game.

Cashaw and Brunson have turned into a pair of quiet scoring leaders for Stevenson. The duo did not grow up together and played for separate middle schools, but are AAU teammates with NLP (Next Level Performance).

“The chemistry is unbelievable,” Cashaw said. “We work hard together. He makes me so much better in practice and makes me work so hard.”

Stevenson’s next-leading scorer in the game was Adam Cohen with 11 points. Brunson and Cashaw combined for 17 points in the first half with Brunson scoring nine.

“Connor’s pretty good,” Ambrose said. “You can take Jalen out and Connor can play the 1 (position). They go every day at it in practice. Jalen makes Connor better and Connor makes Jalen better.”



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