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It’s success to the Max

  • Written by Ken Karson

Strus carries Chargers past Lockport

It’s no secret that Stagg’s basketball fortunes are tied tightly to Max Strus.
Simply put, the Chargers usually go only as far as their senior guard takes them. Friday night in Lockport, that meant Stagg bagged a victory.
Already a vital component in the Chargers’ operation, Strus’ importance increased when senior guard Kevin White exited with a back injury. White was hurt in the third quarter when he landed hard after absorbing contact while going airborne for a layup attempt, and Stagg coach John Daniels preferred to exercise caution.
“Just as a parent, and [the fact] I’ve been through that as a player,” said Daniels, who suffered a severe back injury while playing ball in college. “I’m not going to risk anyone’s health.”
Without White as a sidekick, Strus stepped forward both as a scorer and distributor. Two of his assists set up key late baskets by Sebastian Kolpak and Jeff Goral, and then Strus applied the finishing touch himself by sinking a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to break a tie.

Junior achievement

  • Written by Ken Karson

Finn’s hot hand helps Rice down Vikings

Arguing with Mark Sevedge’s strategy was difficult.
Knowing what Brother Rice seniors Quinn Niego and Ray Rubio have done to so many teams - including his own - this year, the St. Laurence coach opted to try to shut them down as much possible. Sevedge was banking on the idea that no other Crusader would be able to hurt the Vikings too badly when the two area rivals squared off again on Sunday in the Chicago Catholic League Tournament.
But while it was largely mission accomplished on Niego and Rubio, thanks to the combined efforts of Matt Gurgone and Mike Witkowski, St. Laurence derived no benefits from its duo’s handiwork. That’s because Sevedge’s plan ultimately backfired when another Rice athlete did indeed assume a starring role.
Junior Connor Finn became the Vikings’ worst nightmare in the third quarter. His three 3-point baskets and 12 total points were at the forefront of the Crusaders’ 24-point eruption, a scoring assault that enabled them to gain some much-needed breathing room versus St. Laurence.

On the right track

  • Written by Ken Karson

RedHawks stifle JCA to stop slide

Against the Hilltoppers, Marist refused to bottom out.
Losing to Joliet Catholic Academy Friday night certainly wouldn’t have spelled doom for the RedHawks, but it would have extended a feeling of gloom. Marist entered the East Suburban Catholic Conference matchup in Mount Greenwood in the midst of a four-game losing streak, which had gotten extended four days earlier by Tinley Park.
Most troubling to RedHawks coach Gene Nolan in that earlier confrontation was his squad’s inability to slow the rapid-paced Titans. Tinley chalked up 78 points against Marist, just enough to net it a two-point triumph.

Loving a Valentine’s victory

  • Written by Ken Karson

Coach happy as Astros upend SSC Red-leading Bulldogs

Tony Chiuccariello gave thanks on a different holiday than everyone else.
While Shepard’s veteran coach probably expressed gratitude for several things in his life at Thanksgiving, basketball -- and specifically the Astros’ game against rival Richards in the season-opening District 218 Tournament -- likely wasn’t among those items. When the sister schools met the first time, it was all Bulldogs, as the Oak Lawn crew made off with a 28-point triumph.
Since then, Richards has lived a bit of an up-and-down existence on the court, although it has still played well enough to sit atop the South Suburban Conference Red standings. And when they visited Palos Heights Friday night, the Bulldogs had a chance to lock up at least a share of their ninth straight league championship.

Bartosh

Here we go again with things to go away

By now, you’ve seen a sampling of one man’s opinion on what is wrong in the world of sports these days.
Last week in this space, I presented some of my personal peeves, using alphabetical order and listing one item per letter. Obviously, there are other examples I could have cited that would certainly be justified.
Instead of the letter “D” standing for “dunk,” for instance, it could have referred to “day-night doubleheaders,” the greed-driven abomination that many years ago replaced the two-games-for-one-price deal major-league baseball teams typically offered fans almost every summer Sunday. And in the “A” category, “agents” could have easily been substituted for “apology” with no difficulty at all.