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Boys Basketball: Stagg ends Sandburg’s Cinderella run

Stagg's Sean Dwyer (22) celebrates with John Sinclair (5). | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

Stagg's Sean Dwyer (22) celebrates with John Sinclair (5). | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 4, 2013 6:27AM



For the first time in 17 years, Stagg’s boys basketball program can call itself a regional champion.

The fact the accomplishment came by disposing of District 230 rivals Andrew on Thursday and Sandburg on Friday made it that much sweeter.

The three-headed monster of Max Strus, Kevin White and Sean Dwyer combined for 38 points to lead Stagg to a dominant 55-32 win over Sandburg at the Class 4A Sandburg Regional in front of a raucous crowd.

The Chargers (20-8) advance to the Thornton Sectional opposite Bloom on Wednesday.

“When I took the job, people said I couldn’t win here,” said Daniels, in his 10th year at Stagg. “But we have the right kids for what we do. It feels awesome.”

Sandburg was in the game for most of the first half, trailing 31-23 at intermission.

The second half, however, proved disastrous for the Eagles (10-17).

Stagg, which won its previous regional title in 1996 behind guard Jeff Clemons, hit Sandburg with an 18-3 run in the third period. Strus ignited the outburst with a three-pointer, and by the time Kamil Barnas buried a short jumper near the end of the period, the Chargers led 47-26.

“We had to come out and try to put them away,” said Strus, who finished with 14 points. “We had to stay loose and make our shots.”

The play of the game occurred in the third when Jeff Goral, while falling out of bounds, made a sweet behind-the-back pass that resulted in a Barnas basket. Charger Nation erupted.

“I can’t explain the emotions I’m feeling,” said Dwyer, who added 11 points. “To work for four years and get a regional title, it’s unbelievable. And to do it against Andrew and Sandburg, it doesn’t get any sweeter.”

Kevin White added 13 points for Stagg, which converted 21-of-44 field goals.

Sandburg had a tough night shooting, finishing 13-of-39. Malek Harris led the Eagles with 10 points and Niko Cahue had nine.

“We never recovered from that start to the second half,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “We lost our poise and got rattled. Give Stagg credit, they played well.”



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