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St, Charles East’s Mark Musial (20) splits the defense, Wednesday 12-26-18. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times

Mark Musial’s clutch three leads St. Charles East past Stevenson

SHARE Mark Musial’s clutch three leads St. Charles East past Stevenson
SHARE Mark Musial’s clutch three leads St. Charles East past Stevenson

St. Charles East is one of the area teams with a definitive style. The Fighting Saints like to run and love to shoot the three-pointer.

“It’s just the way [St. Charles East] coach Patrick Woods likes to play and we always seem to have the pieces to do it,” Fighting Saints senior Cody Mitchell said.

All that work and belief in the three-point shot paid off on Wednesday in a 51-48 win against Stevenson in the first round of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.

Senior Mark Musial, like the rest of his team, was ice cold from outside during the second half. But with the game on the line and twenty seconds left he drained the game-winning three-pointer.

“You have to have a short memory and just move on,” Musial said. “I haven’t made a shot that big before. That was kind of crazy actually.”

Musial scored 15 points. Senior Nate Ortiz added 14 and Cody Mitchell scored 12.

“I saw the look in [Musial’s] eyes and I knew it was going in,” Mitchell said. “I like that he had the confidence to take a deep breath and make a huge shot like that after missing a few in the third quarter.”

The Fighting Saints (8-5) led for most of the game but the Patriots (9-3) started scoring in the post and made a late charge. Sophomore Evan Ambrose’s drive and bucket with 3:41 to play pulled Stevenson within 48-46.

“They did a nice job of getting the ball inside on mismatches when we switched,” St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods said. “Bottom line is it comes down to taking care of the ball at the end which is a struggle. We have had opportunities at the end of games before this season and have not come through.”

Stevenson’s best player, junior Matt Ambrose, is out with an injury until sometime in January. Matt Kaznikov led the Patriots with 13 points and eight rebounds. They have several other talented juniors, including Robert Holmes (10 points, six rebounds) and Cameron Bernard (seven points).

St. Charles East will face DePaul Prep in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

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