Stagg stuns No. 8 Thornton in conference play

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Stagg stuns No. 8 Thornton in conference play

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
10:50 p.m.

By Tim O'Brien
YourSeason.com

Hanging with No. 8 Thornton through three quarters, Staggs Dan Ahern knew if the Chargers could just stick around they would be able to make a play late.

With Ahern and teammate Darius Draper taking charge in the fourth, it was Stagg coming through in the end with a 58-53 upset of the Wildcats.

We always trust our defense, and when you make a big stop youve got to get down on the offensive end and score too, Ahern said. Thats what we did.

Draper finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for Stagg (17-5, 8-3) in the SouthWest Suburban Red win. Ahern added 16 points (3-for-6 three-point shooting).

The loss for Thornton (19-2, 10-1) was the first defeat since the school entered the SouthWest Suburban conference in 2009.

We got up on them, but we didnt play intelligently, Thornton coach Troy Jackson said. We rushed some shots and played undisciplined. They took it away from us.

Bernard Brames 16 points and 12 rebounds paced Thornton with Antonio Levy scoring 11.

Down 45-43 to start the fourth, Ahern opened the quarter with a high-arcing three-pointer from the corner to give Stagg its first lead since the second quarter.

Draper scored on a driving floater and added two free throws with Ryan Dahleen hitting one free throw to extend the lead.

Levy answered with a floater of his own to get Thornton within four at 51-47. But in a scrum for a loose ball on the following inbounds, Staggs Brett Kaiser came up with the ball, somehow finding an open Ahern on the arc.

The senior guards shot hit nothing but net as the Chargers went up 54-47 with three minutes to go.

(Thornton) played great defense the whole game so I didnt get many open looks, Ahern said. Ill take whatever I can get however I can get it.

Thornton drew within three points following a Jay Parker jumper with 53 seconds left, but Levy missed two three-point attempts late. With one last shot, Scott Lyons stole the Thornton inbounds pass and tipped it to Draper who hit an open Kaiser at the other end of the court for a wide-open, upset-clinching layup.

Weve been playing our best basketball of the season lately, Draper said. We knew we could play with them. This is as big a win as weve had in my three varsity years. This was by far our best team effort.

For Andrew Ladd, chance to play for a contender trumps money

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For Andrew Ladd, chance to play for a contender trumps money

Andrew Ladd’s second stint in Chicago was, in some ways, like his first one.

He had good teammates and enjoyed being around them again. He had nothing but good things to say about the organization that welcomed him here for the second time in his career.

The only difference was the abrupt postseason ending.

“It’s disappointing, for sure,” Ladd said during Wednesday’s wrap-up interviews. “You bring your family here and move your whole life. You want to make a run for it, make it worthwhile. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.”

Ladd’s stay with the Blackhawks is likely to be a brief one. They traded for the veteran, who was part of their 2010 Stanley Cup team, figuring he could be a key piece for another run. It wasn’t to be. Ladd had a quiet postseason, recording just two points in the Blackhawks’ seven-game series against the St. Louis Blues.

“It was a tight series, could’ve gone either way and that’s life,” he said. “You move on. Just happy to have the opportunity to come back and be a part of this group again.”

Ladd has reached that point in his career where he can look at the big picture. He’s won two Cups, one with the Blackhawks and the other with the Carolina Hurricanes. His family grew by another member earlier this month; Ladd brought his his son Walker Gordon, born April 14, home on Tuesday.

“It was a good day after what happened in St. Louis,” Ladd said. “It kind of put things in perspective when you can come home and take your mind off everything else.”

As for Ladd’s continuing hockey career, he said it’s not about getting the lucrative contract anymore as much as it’s about playing for a winner.

“I think I’m at the point in my career where I can make decisions based on being in a good situation. At the end of the day it’s not all about money for me. It’s about being in a good place for my family and being on a team that’s going to contend every year,” Ladd said. “You’d be crazy not to want to be a part of this group and this organization. We’ll see what happens.”

Chances are the Blackhawks and Ladd will not be together in the near future. The Blackhawks are once again facing a salary-cap crunch and, if there is a high-priority signee for them, it’s Andrew Shaw. Even that possibility is a tough one.

Still, Ladd’s not ruling anything out. Ladd’s latest playoff run with the Blackhawks was much shorter than he or they would have liked. But the Blackhawks have the pieces to contend again, and Ladd wouldn’t mind being a part of it.

“Every guy’s at a different point in his career in terms of what he wants to accomplish, whether he has a family or he’s getting on later in his career and wants to be part of a contender,” Ladd said. “There are a lot of things that go into that. You evaluate that individually and try to make the best decision possible for yourself and for your family. At the end of the day, you try to do whatever’s possible to be a part of a group and an organization like this.”

Rodon, White Sox battle Orioles on tonight on CSN

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Rodon, White Sox battle Orioles on tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon vs. Mike Wright

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

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Jon Lester takes mound as Cubs face Braves today on CSN

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Jon Lester takes mound as Cubs face Braves today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Atlanta Braves today, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester vs. Aaron Blair

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Cubs Pulse.