Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
By Tim O'Brien
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.