The Skinny: The question of how far Stagg’s two junior guards have come in a short time span was answered in the Chargers’ 66-35 boys basketball victory over Andrew on Friday night at the Thunder Dome in Tinley Park.
Miles and miles and miles.
Kevin White and Max Strus combined for 42 points and broke down the Thunderbolts’ aggressive man-to-man defense with dribble penetration. White scored the first six points and 10 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter as Stagg jumped to leads of 6-0 and 14-2 in the early going.
Strus scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half as the Chargers put the pedal to the medal in pulling into a tie for second place in the Southwest Suburban Red. Andrew played without its top scorer and rebounder, Jubril Adekoya, who was sidelined by an ankle injury. The Thunderbolts were also without Jake O’Connor (torn meniscus) and Alec Senne (illness).
Patch’s MVP: Kevin White, 6-1, junior, guard, Stagg. He scored the game’s first six points and 10 in the first quarter en route to a game-high total of 24. White made 10 of 13 shots and all four of his free throws.
Key Moment: Stagg made 6-of-10 shots and jumped to a 14-2 first-quarter lead, the Chargers’ burst capped by Max Strus’ 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Did you know? Andrew used its pressure defense to stymie Stagg’s guards and scored a 10-point victory when the two met earlier in Palos Hills.
Stagg Leaders: Kevin White (24 points, 10-of-13 shooting, 5 rebounds), Max Strus (18 points, 7-of-10 shooting, two 3-pointers, 5 rebounds), Steve Kubiak (12 points, four 3-pointers), Jeff Goral (6 points, two 3-pointers).
Andrew Leaders: Glorind Lisha (12 points), Mike Grenda (6 points, one 3-pointer), Luke Hook (7 points), Jarvion Franklin (5 points).
Quotable I: “Well, I think it shows the growth of the two juniors,” Stagg coach John Daniels said. “Earlier in the year, if you would have saw the first game, when they were physical with us, we tended to bring the ball away from the rim and we weren’t aggressive with it. And I think you’ve seen the growth in Kevin (White) and Max (Strus) to be stronger with the ball and take advantage if the defense does over-extend and play that far away from the rim.”
Quotable II: “We know they were going to come out strong on Sean (Dwyer) because he’s such a great shooter,” Stagg’s Kevin White said. “So, if we attack the basket early, it will free him up. But, even if it didn’t free him up, we got to the basket and got easy baskets. And that’s what we were trying to do.”
Quotable III: “On the positive note for us, we held (Sean) Dwyer to two points, and I think he’s an outstanding player,” Andrew coach Mike O’Halloran said. “So, we did a good job defensively on him and they picked it up in other areas. If you would have said going into the game Dwyer scores two and they win it by a big margin—you wouldn’t have thought that.”
Quotable IV: “What hurt us early, I thought, was the rebounding,” Andrew coach Mike O’Halloran said. “They had more offensive rebounds in the first half—six—than we had total rebounds—four. And I think they converted on—if not all six—five of six of those. That’s what put us behind the eight-ball right away.”
Quotable V: "Yeah, they came out overplaying us last game, and we shied away from the physicality," Stagg's Max Strus said. "This game, we matched it and we came out stronger."
Team Records: Stagg is 16-5 and 6-3 in the Southwest Suburban Red. Andrew is 11-8 and 6-3. Both teams trail Thornton by two games in the race for the conference title.
What’s Next: Both teams play at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Bradley-Bourbonnais is at Andrew. Thornton is at Stagg.