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Men’s College Basketball: South Suburban College gets lift from return of Johnnie Stevens

Updated: February 20, 2014 5:14PM



After becoming eligible for the second semester, South Suburban College’s Johnnie Stevens was eager to make an impact for the Bulldogs.

After playing in just four games, though, Stevens suffered a concussion and found himself back on the sideline.

In the wake of enduring another frustrating wait, Stevens is back on the court and making an impact for a team ranked fifth in the nation in NJCAA Division II.

“He came out and played well those four games, but then he gets the concussion and has to sit out,” South Suburban coach John Pigatti said. “Now he’s just getting back into the swing of things. He’s a guy who can definitely help us out down the stretch.”

Stevens had his breakout game in the Bulldogs’ Tuesday win over Indiana Dabney. With South Suburban’s starters struggling, Stevens and fellow reserve Lavell Boyd sparked the team.

Stevens had 19 points, all in the second half, and 12 rebounds.

“It was partly that I wanted to step up and score and partly just my teammates getting me the ball,” he said. “Me and Lavell were able to get open and our teammates helped us out and set us up.”

Pigatti is hoping for continued production from his bench as the postseason approaches. The Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season Saturday against Midwest Prep Academy and open the NJCAA Region IV Tournament on Thursday.

“We’re a little banged up right now,” Pigatti said. “Antonio Levy is dealing with a hip pointer (and) Jalen Brown has an ankle bothering him. We’re looking for depth. It’s going to be important.”

More milestones for Karp

It was a happy Senior Night for St. Xavier’s Brad Karp. Playing in his final regular-season game at the Shannon Center in Mount Greenwood, Karp pulled in 10 rebounds to surpass the 1,000 mark for his career.

He has 1,007, third in program history, to go along with being the program’s all-time leading scorer. Karp is up to 2,777 points, fifth all-time among Illinois college basketball players.

Marks hit 200

St. Francis coach Ryan Marks earned his 200th career win Feb. 12 when the Saints topped Indiana-South Bend 77-72.

With two more wins since, Marks — in his first year with St. Francis — sports a 202-185 coaching record in 13 seasons.

Prior to arriving in Joliet, Marks coaches for four seasons at NCAA Division I Texas-Pan American. He also spent five seasons at St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas, and three at Southern Vermont.



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