By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s boys basketball team rebounded from its loss to Fremont in the opening round of the NECC tournament to beat Garrett Thursday night in the consolation game, 72-56.
Jalen Paul broke a Churubusco school record with 19 assists. The previous record of 16 assists was set by Tom Geiger in 1988.
The Eagles started the game with a 13-2 lead, holding off the Railroaders’ offense for much of the first quarter. ’Busco had a 24-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 43-30 lead at halftime.
Garrett outscored Churubusco 10-9 in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough of a rally for the Railroaders, who were outscored 20-16 in the fourth stanza.
Churubusco’s Dakota Barkley and Garrett’s Kam Yarian both scored 23 points. Barkley recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds. He shot 10-for-12 in two-point field goals.
Paul scored 12 points for Churubusco and Garrett’s Ben Purdy tallied 18.
FREMONT — Revenge has a nice taste to it when it’s served four days later. After Churubusco handed Fremont its first Northeast Corner Conference loss the week before, Fremont responded with a 72-52 win at home on Tuesday to start off the conference tournament.
“The biggest difference is the kids believed in themselves and playing to win,” Fremont assistant coach Mike Ritter said after the action. “Tonight, we came in with the idea that (Churubusco) could not stop us offensively if we have good possessions.”
The Fremont boys basketball team was on fire in the first quarter as it took an early 22-6 lead. Cooper Wall, alone, had nine points with four free throws.
But Chururubsco responded in the second by outscoring Fremont 17-12. After Wall hit another three-pointer to make it 29-10, Chururubsco went on a 13-3 run as Jalen Paul started to make some plays in the paint since his long-range shooting wasn’t as effecient as it was on Friday.
Fremont still managed to lead 34-23 through the first half, but Chururubsco wouldn’t make things too easy.
“We were ahead of them 12-3 in the first part of the first quarter last time, so it was far from over,” Ritter said.
Paul pulled up for a big three-pointer to close the gap, making it a 38-31 ballgame in the third. Another long ball hit, this time by Barkley, followed by a fastbreak layup from Dean Stanley tightened things up even more at 40-36 as Fremont burned a timeout.
Fremont would snap to get six more points, but Chururubsco brought the lead within four just one more time.
A long pass from Nate Midtgard was intercepted by Paul, who found Barkley for a long assist for a fastbreak to bring the game within five, 50-45.
Fremont used Pentecost’s hot scoring and ball movement to its advantage, going on a 22-7 run after the lead was cut to five.
Paul wasn’t shooting the long ball like he was in the previous matchup, as he ened up going 1-for-7 from behind the arc, but still made nice moves to get to the basket and finish with a game-best 21 points. Barkley finished with 17 points followed by Luke Foote (7), Brayton Bonar (3), Stanley (2) and Garrett Horn (2).
Churubusco’s boys host Angola on Friday in a doubleheader with the girls.
Angola’s boys won the NECC tournament in a double-overtime thriller with Westview Saturday.