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Stagg isn’t going to win many games when Max Strus and Jeff Goral miss 19 of their first 20 field goal attempts like they did Tuesday against Bolingbrook.
Throw in the absence of senior point guard Kevin Smith and it resulted in a 49-44 loss to the Raiders in a SouthWest Suburban Blue tilt in Palos Hills.
The loss was the second straight for Stagg after posting eight consecutive victories to the start the season. The Chargers fell to 2-1 in the Blue.
Bolingbrook improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in conference.
“Obviously, we have to get more points,” Stagg coach John Daniels said. “It’s obvious we miss Kevin. I thought we played good defense. But Bolingbrook is a special team.”
The Raiders flaunted their depth against Stagg, with eight players dotting the score sheet. The only player to reach double digits, though, was Prentis Nixon with 12 points. It was a pair of baskets by Nixon, including a vicious jam, early in the third quarter that allowed the Raiders to pull away from the Chargers. Combined with a three-pointer by Gage Davis, the Raiders opened up a 30-22 advantage early in the third.
“Nixon is coming off a 30-point game on Friday,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. “He did a good job of adjusting to the type of game it was.”
Bolingbrook’s lead swelled to 39-26 with 2:49 remaining in the fourth quarter, when Strus finally found his stroke.
The senior guard, who scored 24 in a loss Monday to Addison Trail, nailed a pair of treys and fellow guard Nick Sims followed with a three of his own and just like that Stagg was within striking distance at 42-38 with less than a minute to go.
“Sims stepped up and (Anthony) Gardner played out of his mind,” Strus said. “We made some shots to get back in the game.”
In the end, though, it wasn’t enough. A three-point play by Davis (7 points) and clutch free-throw shooting by Joshua Dillingham (9 points) preserved the win for the Raiders. Shakur Triplett was a force on the glass for Bolingbrook, pulling down 11 rebounds.
The Raiders converted 16-of-39 field goals, including 3-of-11 from beyond the stripe. Their bench contributed 11 points to the cause, with Julian Torres (5 points) and Devon Sims (4 points) combining for nine. Stagg was 16 of 47 from the field and 5 of 20 from beyond the arc.
“We didn’t force shots down the stretch, which hasn’t been a characteristic of us,” Brost said. “We go nine deep and it’s tough getting everyone minutes. Not one guy though is worrying about his minutes. Their only concern is for the team and the win.”
Strus, Sims and Gardner each finished with 14 points for Stagg.