2013-14 All-Area Basketball Teams


MAX STRUS, Stagg, G/F, Sr.

  • Max StrusThe 2013-14 Player of the Year — who was mentioned by more than one opposing coach this season as the second-best player in the south suburbs behind Marian Catholic and future University of Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis — finished his prep career as the greatest basketball player in Stagg history. That’s the tag applied to Strus by veteran Chargers coach John Daniels, and it’s certainly difficult to debate the claim. After all, Strus was the top performer on Stagg’s finest single-season hoops squad, one that garnered 22 wins and came within two points of defeating four-time defending state champion Simeon for the Class 4A Shepard Regional crown. In his three full varsity campaigns, the Chargers piled up a total of 56 victories. Already a two-time all-area second-team selection, the 6-foot-6 Strus became a first-teamer by accruing per-game averages of 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists while connecting on 82 percent of his free throws and sinking 68 3-pointers. He recorded 10 double-doubles and led Stagg in every major statistical category except assists, where he was second to Kevin White, and Strus departs the program as its No. 1 man in made foul shots (241) and charges taken (31). His 1,140 career points are only 16 off Jeff Miller’s pacesetting mark and put him third overall in team scoring annals. Other notable career stats include 180 assists and 165 3s. Strus’ college destination has yet to be determined, but Illinois State, Nevada and Missouri-Kansas City universities are among his suitors.

National knockouts administered to Cougars

SXU sports summary

While there was room for St. Xavier University in both the men’s and women’s NAIA Division II basketball tournaments, neither Cougars squad will need to free up additional space in the school’s athletic trophy case.

SXU’s men did advance into the second round of play in Point Lookout, Mo., last week but No. 10-ranked Midland (Neb.) University halted the Cougars’ progress on Friday. Despite a combined 35 points from senior Brad Karp and junior Jack Krieger, the Cougars dropped a 64-61 decision to the Warriors.

The fate of SXU’s women was a little worse, seeing as how that group of Cougars was knocked out on Day 1 of their tourney. Escorting SXU off the national stage was the College of the Ozarks, which handed down a surprisingly lopsided 68-43 defeat on Thursday at the Tyson Events center in Sioux City, Iowa.

SXU’s men opened play last Wednesday versus Cincinnati Christian University and fared quite well, as they jumped out to a 19-4 advantage and eventually pocketed an 87-71 triumph at the College of the Ozarks’ Keeter Gymnasium.

“We came out playing really aggressive,” said Krieger, who tallied a game-high 22 points for the No. 6-ranked Cougars. “Everyone on our team played hard, even the guys off the bench. We had some key rebounds and forced some big turnovers, and those are the little things that helped us get such a big lead early.”

The Eagles, who were making their initial appearance in the national tournament, slipped behind 24-8 before reeling off eight unanswered markers. SXU (30-5) countered with a 20-9 burst that carried it into intermission and regained momentum for the locals. Freshman Kyle Tackett’s buzzer-beating basket capped the run.

Cincinnati Christian recovered from that latest assault, though, to get back within 10 points of the Cougars midway through the second half. Following a timeout, SXU scored twice in a row, but the Eagles refused to fold; instead, they netted 12 of the game’s next 13 points to narrow their deficit to just four points.

‘V’ means more than ‘victory’ during March Madness


(Reprinted from March 17, 2011)

In the 1940s, making the “V” sign with one’s index and middle fingers meant victory, as in the winning of World War II.

In the 1960s, longhaired hippies flashed that same sign in resistance to another military conflict. That group said they wanted peace, but what they really meant was that they wanted no piece of the armed-forces action.

Now, in 2011, when men hold up their two fingers, they’re telling their spouses or significant others that the action they desire is a vasectomy.

At least it’s true when March Madness is on the horizon. In a report presented last week on a variety of media outlets, the number of men scheduling that particular surgery escalates right before TV coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins in earnest.

(This story, by the way, perfectly illustrates what is referred to as a “slow news day” in our business. But let’s forge on anyway).

Having recovery time coincide with tourney time is, I have to admit, pretty cagey. Doctors have done their part to prod prospective clients into making a snip decision by incorporating tacky slogans and promising consolation prizes to replace the children those men will no longer be fathering in the future.

Trolls’ bats lead the way

  • Written by Tim Cronin

Trinity sports report

Trinity Christian College baseball coach Justin Huisman said it best.

“It was fun to be outside,” he said of last week’s trip to Florida.

The Trolls took advantage of the great outdoors. After a two-week layoff caused by bad weather back home, Trinity exhibited no signs of rustiness as it belted 18 hits in its Sunshine State opener and thumped Aquinas (Mich.) College 19-1.

Oddly, it was actually a come-from-behind affair, as Aquinas scored in its initial at-bat. The Trolls tallied in each frame thereafter.

That victory also set the tone for a week in which Trinity went 5-4 to improve its season ledger to 5-8. The Trolls amassed 52 runs and gave up 34, a dozen of the latter being surrendered in a high-scoring loss to St. Ambrose. Otherwise, Trinity’s pitching and defense was more solid than it perhaps had a right to be, given the inability to do anything but work out in the gym for two weeks.

“I fully expect our pitching to be the backbone of the team,” Huisman said.

Marist alums in latest ESCC Hall of Fame class

Submitted photo. The Worth Warriors recently completed an unbeaten basketball season.Submitted photo. The Worth Warriors recently completed an unbeaten basketball seasoMarist alumni Gary Kostrubala and Tony Evensen will be among the 12 newest inductees into the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 10, at Crystal Sky Banquet Hall in McCook. Nine individuals will enter the Hall, along with Joliet Catholic Academy’s 1994 baseball and 2004 football state championship squads and Notre Dame’s 2004 baseball titlist team.

Kostrubala brought a pair of gold medals back to Mount Greenwood in the spring of 1982, when he returned from the state track meet as a champion in both the shot put and discus events. Less than a full year later, it was Evensen’s turn, as he became Illinois’ best wrestler at 138 pounds in February of 1983.

Former Carmel football players Jack Simmons and Mark Venegoni, former Marian Catholic basketball player Adam Savick, Benet Academy boys’ golf coach Dan Nagis, Benet girls’ basketball coach Peter Paul, St. Viator boys’ golf coach Jack Halpin and ESCC girls’ basketball officials assignor John Dacey round out the list of Hall of Fame newcomers.

Tickets to the event are $50 and may be purchased through any ESCC member school’s athletic department. For more information, visit or contact Mike Hennessey at (847) 779-8652.