The Skinny: One of the smallest players on the floor scored one of the biggest baskets in Stagg’s 52-44 boys basketball victory over Lincoln-Way North in Southwest Suburban Red Conference play on Friday night in Palos Hills. Max Strus, a 5-foot-11 sophomore guard, took a pass from Mike Scatena and converted a layup off a backdoor cut. Strus’ basket snapped a 41-41 deadlock at the 3:06 mark of the fourth quarter and triggered an 11-0 scoring run for the Chargers. His older—and much taller—brother Marty was in the stands to witness the feat. Marty Strus is a 6-10 senior center at Lewis University.
Patch’s MVP: Max Strus, 5-11, sophomore guard, Stagg. He scored one basket—but what a big one it was—on a backdoor cut to snap a 41-41 deadlock in the fourth quarter. He also spotted teammate Brett Kaiser on occasion running the point and running the Chargers’ offense.
Key Moments: After trailing by as much as 25-17 in the second quarter, Lincoln-Way North showed its resiliency. The Phoenix exploded for five points in the final five seconds of the second quarter to pull even 26-26 at halftime. Trey Lewis hit a 3-pointer. Daryle Morgan came up with a steal on the ensuing inbound pass and scored on a dunk at the buzzer. North’s Denton Wallace drained a 3-pointer to end the third quarter and pulled the Phoenix within 38-37.
Lincoln-Way North Leaders: Trey Lewis (12 points, 9 in the first half), Daryle Morgan (8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 blocked shot), R.J. Arnott (8 points, 6 rebounds), Jake McCabe (5 points, 1 3-pointer).
Stagg Leaders: Sean Dwyer (13 points, 2 3-pointers, 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter), Kamil Barnas (13 points, 4 rebounds), Brett Kaiser (10 points), Steve Kubiak (6 points, 2 3-pointers).
Quotable I: “Max Strus got that big one—that was a big layup,” Stagg coach John Daniels said. “(Daryle Morgan) rotated over and tried to block the shot. He held his own and went up and finished. That was a really big basket for us. And that showed you how much Max has come this season. He’s a sophomore. So, he’s really come along.”
Quotable II: “We moved the ball and had good passing,” Stagg’s Sean Dwyer said. “That’s the only way we’re going to win. We don’t have any star players. We just have to pass and dish off and have open guys hit open shots.”
Quotable III: “I was telling the kids after the game we need to develop some shooters, some guys that can just have some confidence and knock down some shots,” Lincoln-Way North coach John Terry said. “When we do that, we’re going to be a much-improved basketball team. There’s no doubt about it. If we had guys who could shoot it as well as Dwyer and Kaiser—lights out—man, it’s a totally different game.”
Team Records: Stagg is 10-8 and 3-3 in the Southwest Suburban Red. Lincoln-Way North is 6-15 and 2-5.
What’s Next: Stagg plays at Bradley-Bourbonnais at 2 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 28), then travels to New Lenox to face Lincoln-Way West at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 31). Lincoln-Way North plays at Bradley-Bourbonnais at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 31).