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Lebarion Gilmore saves Stagg from Andrew


Stagg’s Lebarion Gilmore He is known as ‘Happy’ on social media.

It has nothing to do Adam Sandler or movie “Happy Gilmore.”

“I always stay positive,” he said. “That’s what gets you somewhere in life.”

Gilmore, a three-sport athlete, already has plenty of reasons to be happy this week.

The senior guard scored 13 points for the host Chargers in a 59-44 SouthWest Suburban Red win over Andrew in Palos Hills on Tuesday. He previously committed to Minnesota State for football.

Connor Williams He contributed 12 points to Stagg (17-10, 4-2) and David Ortiz There were 10 of them.

Grant SakenisHe led Andrew (15-11, 4-3) with 21 points in his second game since suffering an injury in late December. Azan Berchos 11 added.

With football out of the picture, Gilmore can concentrate on basketball and then track and field in the spring. That said, he’s had a productive few days to start the week.

“I went to visit Minnesota State and took care of things,” Gilmore said. “This is where I want to continue my life and go to college.

“But I also had my main goal and that was to come home and win this match against Andrew.”

Stagg’s Connor Williams dribbles against Andrew during the SouthWest Suburban Red game on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Palos Hills. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

This was more than just a rivalry game between District 230 schools. On December 12, Stagg led by 20 points in the second quarter in a 67-65 loss to the Thunderbolts in Tinley Park.

It was a big deal to erase the memories of that game, especially after the Chargers led 17-7 early in the second quarter on Tuesday night.

“We felt like we had to get the job done,” Gilmore said. “We knew we couldn’t let this happen again and we weren’t going to let it happen.

“We left. We knew it had happened in the past, we knew we made mistakes in the first game and we knew how to adapt to that. “We knew they were going to create pressure and we adapted to that.”

Now that the college decision has been made, Gilmore’s group has noticed him playing a little more freely.

“You can see he plays with more energy,” Williams said of Gilmore. “He’s a guy of energy, plays great defense and can attack the basket.”

“The only word I would use to describe him is ‘competitive,'” Stagg coach said Marty Stress Additional. “I think he got everyone going. He’s an absolute magnet for a team. When his energy is on, we all go, and he was definitely on.”

St. Andrew's Grantas Sakenis rebounds against Stagg during the SouthWest Suburban Red game on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Palos Hills.  (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)
St. Andrew’s Grantas Sakenis rebounds against Stagg during the SouthWest Suburban Red game on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Palos Hills. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

The win gives the Chargers the edge for the conference championship as the remaining teams have three or more losses. Stagg hosts Lincoln-Way West on Friday and visits Bradley-Bourbonnais on Tuesday.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but we’re playing with confidence and trying to win the conference,” Williams said. “We are hosting a regional organization and we want to win it.

“We also want to win 20 games, so we need to win the rest of our games.”

Gilmore’s new football team is also used to winning. The NCAA Division II school finished 9-3 last season, and Gilmore initially thought they were looking at him as an athlete.

“They look at me as a quarterback,” said Gilmore, who is also listed as a wide receiver and cornerback. “I trained for them and they told me they liked me as a point guard.

“The coaches welcomed me and my family and offered so much, so I feel very lucky.”

He is considering entering sports management as a major.

“I want to do something where I can help my family live a better life,” Gilmore said. “I want to go wherever it takes me.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.


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