Palatine was hoping to finish with a flourish when it took on Stagg in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York on Monday evening.
It was not to be, as the Chargers opened the game by hitting their first four shots to lead 9-0.
Stagg opened a 15-2 lead before settling for a 20-7 advantage at the end of the quarter. The Chargers went on to sink the Pirates 65-43.
"We knew that they were a skilled team," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone, who saw his team slip to 6-7. "We didn't meet the challenge. We had a good practice this morning and I think were mentally ready to play, but when the ball went up to start the game we weren't there."
Stagg 6-foot-6 senior guard Max Strus was a one-man wrecking crew. He scored 35 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the field, including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. Strus scored 10 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second as the 12-3 Chargers led 37-17.
"We had to make sure that they put the ball on the floor," said Stagg coach John Daniels. "They have good shooters, so we had to stop their passes. They like to put up the 3-pointers so we had to try and stop that. On defense we played strong, limiting them to one shot, and because of that we we're able to get fastbreak points. Max has played like this all year. That is why we have the record that we have."
"He's a real good player," said Millstone of Strus. "He shot well, got good postion and rebounded."
The Pirates played better in the second half with Stagg only outscoring them by 3 points.
Dondre Watson scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, including five 3's. Chris Macahon was up next with 6 points.
"I like our possibilities for the second half of the season," said Watson. "We have to be able to pull for each other and stay together as a team. We have shown that we can play well. We just didn't connect well when the game started for us. We didn't shoot well for the game."
Palatine started 0-for-7 from the field and finished at 32 percent, hitting on 16 of 50 shots. Stagg, meanwhile, made 28 of its 50 shots.
"Over the four games," said Millstone, "I think we played competitive. We're a little more battle tested now. We played well except for tonight and now we just have to get ready for our next game."
Conant 91, Riverside-Brookfield 61: The Cougars put on quite an offensive show in their tournament finale, finishing with four scorers in double figures and a season-high scoring output.
Conant shot 33-for-48 on 2-point field goals and 5-for-7 from 3-point range. The Cougars (9-4) had assists on 22 of their baskets and also completed 10 of 13 foul shots as they completed tournament play with a 3-1 record.
Danny Sotos had 17 points to lead the way, with Joe Ranallo and Ryan Blaha getting 16 points and D'Angelo McBride getting 14.
Ranallo finished with 10 assists and McBride had 4.
Rolling Meadows 43, Glenbard East 40: Matt Dolan produced a game-high 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the field to lift the Mustangs in their tournament finale.
Matt Wojcik contributed 9 points and Calvin Gunn had 6 assists and 3 steals for Rolling Meadows (5-8), which made it to the free throw line 25 times and converted 13.
Elk Grove 63, Schaumburg 54: Eric Pillath led three Grenadiers in double-figure scoring to help Elk Grove wrap up with a victory at York.
Pillath made 3 of 4 from the field and 9 of 11 from the foul line on his way to 15 points. Joell Melendez finished with 13 points and a game-best 11 rebounds, and Bryan Alcazar was a perfect 5-for-5 with a 3-pointer to finish with 11 points.
Elk Grove (8-5) got to the foul line 27 times and made 18 shots.
Schaumburg's Josh Rahn led all scorers with 18 and also had 8 assists and 6 rebounds as the Saxons finished 1-3 at York.
Charlie Quilico had 14 points and 3 rebounds for Schaumburg (7-8), and Johnnie Flynn had 13 points, including a pair of 3's.