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Stagg's Sean Dwyer (22) drives to the hoop against Sandburg's Murad Elayyan (3) during their basketball game in Palos Hills Tuesday, December 4, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

District 230 rivals Sandburg and Stagg hadn’t played in four years.

Sandburg probably wishes it would have been longer — or at least until star forward Malek Harris returned from an 11-game suspension.

Stagg started strong, opening a 27-point lead after 16 minutes in coasting to a 64-39 victory over Sandburg in Palos Hills.

At one point, Stagg (7-0) led by 35 points, providing Charger Nation with plenty to cheer about.

“We shot the ball well early,” Stagg coach John Daniels said, “but I thought we did a real nice job defensively. We stressed defense at practice on Saturday and Monday. We put pressure on their shooters.”

Like they have all season, the Chargers spread the wealth on offense. Sean Dwyer led the way with 19 points, all but five coming in the opening half, including three three-pointers.

Max Strus had 12 points, including three baskets from beyond the arc, and Kevin White added 10.

Strus’ first three of the game gave Stagg a 7-5 lead and ignited a 10-0 run.

The Chargers led 19-9 after one period, but the worst was yet to come for Sandburg.

Stagg started the second quarter on a 19-0 run to take a commanding 38-9 lead. Murad Elayyan’s layup at 1:16 represented the Eagles’ first points of the quarter. However, by that time the horses, in this case, Chargers, were out of the barn and the lead was 38-11.

“We’ve been coming out slow lately,” Dwyer said. “We made it a point to start strong (Tuesday). We set good screens, boxed out and rebounded well.”

Sandburg (0-5) was led by Niko Kogionis’ 12 points. Tim Prendergast added nine for the Eagles, who shot 11-of-38 from the field.

Stagg finished 21-for-43 from the field, including 7-for-14 from beyond the arc. The only blemish of the night was when Steve Kubiak took a nasty shot to the mouth in the third and never returned.

“The difference is, they have a number of guys who can rise up and knock down shots,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “We’re young, and we’re learning.”

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