Stagg grad Max Strus launches a 3-point attempt against the Chicago Bulls on April 14. Miami Heat photo
Area Sports Roundup | Strus gets loose, helps Heat bury Bulls
By Jeff Vorva
Max Strus had a money game on April 14.
Chicago Bulls fans, however, may not have been too happy with the Hickory Hills native’s performance in a 102-91 win to knock the Bulls out of the NBA postseason.
Strus, a former Stagg star who played briefly with the Bulls, scored 31 points and added six rebounds in the play-in game to fill the stat sheet, and might have just filled his bank account some more with that performance.
“Honestly speaking, I think Max made himself a lot of money tonight,” teammate Jimmy Butler told reporters after the game.
Strus, a 6-foot-5 guard, is slated to make $1.8 million this season, the final year of a three-year minimum contract. He can test the free-agent waters after this season.
Miami can also come up with some major scratch, as proven when it re-signed Duncan Robinson to a five-year, $90-million deal in 2021.
For now, the 27-year-old Strus is concerned about the Heat, which is seeded eighth and locked in a playoff series this week with top-seeded Milwaukee. Last year, the Heat was the top seed in the Eastern Conference finals and fell to Boston in the semifinals.
This year, the Heat needed Strus’ outburst, which included a 7-of-12 shooting performance from 3-point range and a perfect 8-of-8 at the free throw line.
He downplayed his thoughts on beating his hometown team, for which he played for a handful of games during the 2019-2020 season before tearing an ACL.
“It didn’t matter who we were playing, we had to win this one,” Strus said after the game. “It was win or go home and we weren’t done yet. But it does feel a little bit better against them, I’m not going to lie.”
Breaking even at nationals
Saint Xavier University’s men’s volleyball team finished 1-1 in pool play, but did not advance to bracket play in the NAIA National Championship last week.
The Cougars (23-5) dropped a 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 decision to top-seeded Benedictine-Mesa on April 11.
They recovered the next day and beat Georgetown (Kentucky) 33-35, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-9 at MidAmerican Anergy Company’s RecPlex in West Des Moines, Iowa. But Benedictine won the pool to advance and finished second to Vanguard (California) for the national title.
SXU freshman opposite hitter Oskar Krzyzak had 25 kills and a .340 attack percentage against Georgetown. Freshman outside hitter Jan Lopuch added 13 kills and Riverside-Brookfield graduate Vejas Cuplinskas had 13 kills to go with four digs, three blocks and a pair of aces.
Former Marist standout Jake McClain had six blocks.
Girls soccer and boys volleyball postseason assignments are out.
In girls soccer, the Class 3A Reavis Sectional features area teams Morton, Reavis, Curie, Hubbard, Kelly, Lyons, Riverside-Brookfield and Argo.
At a sectional that does not have a host yet. Mother McAuley, Oak Lawn, Sandburg and Stagg will be among the local teams competing.
The Class 2A Kankakee Sectional features St. Laurence, De La Salle, Marist, Evergreen Park and Richards.
Nazareth’s sectional features Kennedy, Solorio and Nazareth.
Chicago Christian is in the Class 1A Manteno Sectional.
In boys volleyball, there is a chance for a Brother Rice-Marist showdown of national powers for the title, as both teams are in a 30-team sectional that does not yet have a host.
Other teams from the area competing are Reavis, St. Laurence, Catalyst/Maria, Hubbard, Kennedy, St. Rita, Oak Lawn, Richards, Sandburg, Chicago Christian, Shepard, Stagg and Argo.
The Jones Sectional features Morton, Curie, De La Salle, Mount Carmel and Solorio.
Lyons and Nazareth are competing in the Oswego Sectional.
Clinton gets Bears workout
Toriano Clinton, a St. Laurence graduate and former University of Indianapolis standout, worked out for the Chicago Bears last week.
Clinton, a 5-9, 197-pound running back, set the Indy career record with 4,538 yards and 48 touchdowns on the ground, and had 39 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns.
He is hoping to catch an NFL team’s attention for the 2023 draft.
He is ranked as the 18th-best prospect in Division II football by d2football.com.
Showing some Love
Details have not been finalized, but Nazareth will retire former football star Julian Love’s No. 20.
There will be a ceremony on June 15, with details to come in May.
Wrestling team honored
The 2003 St. Rita state championship wrestling team will be honored at 1 p.m. April 30 at the school’s McCarthy Center. Tickets are $40. RSVP to Ryan Klinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAC down another school
Cardinal Stritch announced it will close after this school year.
That is the second blow to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Earlier this year, Trinity International University announced it was going to all-online education and eliminating sports.
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