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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
National
Kyle Williams

Undefeated Maine South shows resolve in close win over Stevenson

Maine South’s Ava Blagojevich (13) controls the ball as the Hawks play Stevenson, January 5, 2024, Hinsdale, Illinois | Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times (Allen Cunningham, Chicago Sun Times)

Unbeaten Maine South controlled much of its game Saturday against Stevenson, but the Patriots made a run in the fourth quarter.

Stevenson scored more points in the fourth quarter (15) than it did in the first half (12) and cut the Hawks’ lead to three.

Would this be the day Maine South was taken down? No. Like they have in every game this season, the Hawks had a response.

Senior guard Meegan Fahy drove down the middle of the court and shoveled a pass to the left corner to senior guard Ava Blagojevich, who made a three-pointer to put Maine South up by six. Fahy then anticipated a pass for a steal and scored on a fast break.

Maine South survived for a 44-39 victory against Stevenson at the Grow the Game Showcase at Hinsdale Central. It was the second game between the teams in a week.

The Hawks (19-0) knew the Patriots (14-3) would come out with energy after losing to them previously.

‘‘Teams are going to be coming at us, as they should, and it’s an honor to be where we’re at,’’ Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said. ‘‘When we needed to make a play, there were multiple kids that were able to do that.’’

The Hawks don’t beat opponents with one star. They have an egalitarian approach to offense that makes everyone on the court a threat. Sophomore guard Amelia Fernandez came off the bench for the first time in the third quarter and made a three-pointer.

‘‘This team is unlike any other team that I’ve been on at Maine South,’’ said Blagojevich, who had six points and five rebounds off the bench. ‘‘It’s not just one person, it’s not two people, it’s all 12 of us.’’

Junior forwards Asia Kobylarczyk and Caitlin Leyden combined for 13 rebounds for the Hawks and had the difficult task of matching up against DePaul commit Emory Klatt, who scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Stevenson.

‘‘She’s a special player,’’ Hamann said of Klatt. ‘‘She’s just a tough matchup, so you do what you can to make it as difficult as we can for her, and I felt that we did.’’

Patriots coach Regan Carmichael said the different looks Maine South showed defensively played a role in slowing her team’s offense.

‘‘They’re a great team,’’ Carmichael said. ‘‘They gave us a couple of different zone looks that made it challenging. [They’re] really athletic, and we’ve just got to make sure we’re taking care of the ball.’’

The Hawks have made it to January with an unbeaten record. There have been some close calls, including a one-point victory Dec. 8 against Kenwood, but they have emerged unscathed so far. 

Still, Maine South’s players say the team tries to ignore its undefeated record.

‘‘Every day we just try to think about going 1-0,’’ Blagojevich said. ‘‘Because if we think about it — ‘We need to keep the record’ — that’s when things kind of fall apart.’’

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