Boys Basketball Class 4A Playoffs: Bloom turns away Stagg upset bid
By Steve Millar
Stagg led only once in its regional semifinal matchup with Bloom, but put a major scare into the top-seeded Trojans last week in Palos Hills.
The 17th-seeded Chargers were within two points in the final two minutes, but Bloom held on for a 50-42 victory in the Class 4A Stagg Regional on Feb. 26.
“We were right there, we kept chipping away and we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Stagg coach Marty Strus said. “It’s tough to come up short, but it wasn’t effort that we lost by.”
Senior guard Roy Huddleston hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points in his final game with the Chargers. Senior guard Martin Macenis added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Stagg (13-16).
The Chargers’ only lead was 2-0, but they stayed close throughout.
Huddleston’s 3-pointer with 7:05 left cut Bloom’s lead to 39-38, and his two free throws with 4:10 left made it 42-40.
It was the same score with 1:27 left when Bloom’s Martice Mitchell made two free throws, came up with a steal on Stagg’s next possession, and hit two more free throws to seal the win for the Blazing Trojans (25-3).
“This hurts right now, but I think we’ll be able to look back on this and remember that this game showed what our guys are all about,” Strus said.
Before the season-ending loss, the Chargers enjoyed a final victory that was extra satisfying because it came against District 230 rival Sandburg.
Macenis scored 17 points and Stagg rode its defense to a 50-39 postseason-opening win in a Class 4A Stagg Regional quarterfinal on Monday, Feb. 25.
Nick Harper added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers, while Huddleston scored nine points.
Atharva Atreya (7 rebounds) and Kevin Agwomoh scored nine points each to lead Sandburg (12-18).
The Eagles jumped to a quick 7-0 lead, but Stagg fought back to take a 13-12 lead after the first quarter.
Sandburg then went ice cold, scoring just seven points over the second and third quarters.
The Chargers outscored the Eagles 8-0 over the first 7 minutes, 57 seconds of the second quarter before Sandburg scored four points in the final three seconds on a free throw from Terrence Fields and an Agwomoh 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We’re not getting to win any beauty contests,” Strus said. “We have to guard. We’re not super talented offensively, but we have guys that can defend.
“We had a group of our guys that acted as Sandburg all weekend in practice. They did a great job and they got us ready to play.”
Tyler Winkelmann, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds, had a pair of key baskets late in the third quarter as Stagg stretched its lead to 31-19.
Sandburg didn’t score for the first six minutes of the third. Over the second and third quarters, the Eagles shot 2-for-21 from the field.
“I have no idea what happened,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “I don’t think we took bad shots, I think we had great looks.
“I think we were solid defensively, because we were still in the game after 2-for-21 in the second and third quarters, which I couldn’t believe. We scratched and clawed and we just couldn’t hit a shot.”
Marvin Agwomoh had eight points and eight rebounds for Sandburg.
“It was against our rival, and we were 1-1 against them this season, so this was like the tiebreaker,” Macenis said. “It feels great to win it.”
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