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Stagg’s Sean Dwyer and Kamil Barnas literally took their lumps under the basket Tuesday night against Thornton, but the Chargers still delivered the knockout punch on the scoreboard.
Although Dwyer and Barnas both got hit in the head pursuing points and rebounds, the physical play didn’t deter the 6-foot-6 Dwyer, who contributed 15 points and an impressive 18 boards in a 64-43 home victory.
“They bodied us all game, but we bodied them back,’’ Dwyer said. “We didn’t let them take control of the physical part of the game. After Christmas we suffered two tough losses. We said ‘We want to be a tough team,’ and I think we showed it (Tuesday).’’
Looking to extend a 19-12 lead after the first quarter, Stagg (17-5, 7-3 SouthWest Suburban Red) put together a 14-5 run in the first four minutes of the second period to go ahead 33-17.
“We were aggressive. We attacked,’’ Stagg coach John Daniels said. “Even Kevin (White) to a certain extent. He was pulling up short. We talked about it at a timeout. ‘You’ve got to attack the backboard.’ ’’
Max Strus (15 points) hit two second-quarter three-pointers, White (18 points) had a steal and layup and Strus culminated the 14-5 run with a drive to the basket.
“We take it to the hoop and we’re not afraid to get fouled,’’ Dwyer said, who had four points, five rebounds and a block in the decisive second quarter.
“They were shooting the lights-out,’’ Thornton coach Troy Jackson said. “We never seemed to have the energy to stay in the game with them. It seemed like a lack of energy on our part and a lot of energy on their part.’’
Stagg extended its 35-23 halftime lead to 48-33 going into the fourth quarter. White scored eight points in the final period to help put the game out of reach.
“We’re starting to move the ball better, attack the rim hard, but the biggest thing is we’ve been getting it done at the defensive end,’’ Dwyer said
Brian Nicholson and Justin Taylor each had 10 points for Thornton (11-9, 8-2).
“The difference in the game was energy,’’ Jackson said. “They kind of looked like us when we beat them at our place. They’re a good ballclub.’’