The winningest high school basketball programs of the decade: No. 5 Stevenson
The Sun-Times is counting down the 50 high school basketball programs with the most wins during the decade.
When high school basketball fans think back to the 1980s, programs like Quincy, Providence St. Mel, East St. Louis Lincoln and the arrival of city powers King and Simeon are easy to think back on.
The 1990s brought us memorable basketball giants in Peoria Manual and Thornton, a few steamrolling Proviso East teams and the continued dominance of King.
The first 10 years of the 2000s included Glenbrook North, Peoria High and the beginning of a Simeon juggernaut.
This list is comprised of the 50 winningest programs over the past 10 years, starting with the 2010-11 season and concluding with the 2019-20 season. Every team in every class throughout the Chicago area will be broken down in a variety of ways. But total wins, with winning percentage used as tie-breaker, determined the rankings.
We present No. 5 Stevenson today and will add one program a day going forward.
5. STEVENSON: 242-67
Decade’s biggest storyline: Stevenson basketball and Jalen Brunson were the biggest story in the state during the 2014-15 season.
That magical season capped off a brilliant and thrilling three-year run where the Patriots won 91 games and three state trophies. But nothing matched the 30-win state championship season of 2014-15.
Behind Brunson, a McDonald’s All-American who won every individual honor in the state as a senior, Division I recruits Connor Cashaw and Justin Smith, along with a host of valuable role players, Stevenson cruised in its third straight trip to Peoria. The Patriots pounded Bolingbrook by 20 in the state semifinals and beat Normal 57-40 in the Class 4A state championship game.
Among the lone losses that season were two out-of-state powers: Findlay Prep and Chaminade out of St. Louis.
Underrated highlight: Everyone remembers the state championship team of 2014-15. And everyone remembers Brunson scoring 56 points in a state semifinal loss to Young the year before as the Patriots settled for third in the state. But everyone tends to forget the 2012-13 team that made it all the way to the state championship game.
Brunson and Cashaw, who were just sophomores then, were again the catalysts, along with senior shooter Andy Stempel. They led the way for a team that knocked off Edwardsville in the state semifinals but lost to Simeon and Jabari Parker in the state title game to finish 29-5.
Player of the Decade:Jalen Brunson (2015)
All-Decade Team: Matt Morrissey (2014), Jalen Brunson (2015), Connor Cashaw (2015), Justin Smith (2017) and Matthew Ambrose (2020)
Other decade highlights
-Brunson, one of the state’s all-time greatest players, dazzled and entertained for four straight years. He finished his career 18th all time in point scored in state history with 2,682 career points.
-Both Cashaw and Smith soared past the 1,500-point mark during their careers. Cashaw is the second leading scorer of all-time at Stevenson with 1,736 points and Smith is fourth with 1,522 points. Matthew Ambrose is among the top 10 scorers in school history with 942.
-The Patriots are currently riding a streak of eight straight North Suburban Conference championships.
-There are just over 40 players from the decade who have gone on to play college basketball at some level.
-Even after the big-name stars who went on to play Division I basketball departed — Brunson, Cashaw and Smith — the Patriots still won another sectional title in 2018-19. The Patriots finished 27-6, winning the program’s sixth sectional championship, before losing to Evanston in the super-sectional.
-Coach Pat Ambrose won his 400th career game during the 2018-19 season.