By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — Head coach Chris Paul says Churubusco’s boys basketball team played its best three games of the season in the past week setting the boys up for a state tournament run.
The Eagles drew South Adams in the sectional opener at Woodlan Tuesday — a team that beat them by six points in February.
Follow Editor Nicole Minier on Twitter @NicoleMKPC for updates on Churubusco’s tournament run.
The Eagles ended the regular season on a high note, winning six of their last seven games — including taking away the outright NECC title from Eastside Friday on Senior Night.
The Blazers only had a lead once in the game — midway through the first quarter.
The game opened with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers — two by Eagle Jalen Paul and another from Eastside’s’ Cade Willard.
Paul’s intensity was contagious, as the Eagles held off the top team in the conference.
“The team is showing more passion and more energy,” said Churubusco coach Chris Paul. “They’re jumping up and down after a good play and cheering each other on.”
Paul finished the game with six 3-pointers, many from far behind the arc, to lead all scorers with 29 points. Fellow seniors Luke Foote and Dakota Barkley scored 16 and 10 points, respectively.
“Their quickness and ability to cover ground kind of took us by surprise a little bit,” Eastside coach Ryan Abbott said.
The Eagles led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter and led by as much as 10 in the second, but Eastside went on a 6-0 run to end the half, 28-24.
Paul knocked down two more 3-pointers in the third quarter to extened ’Busco’s lead back to 10, 43-33, going into the final stanza.
Churubusco was 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the fourth to hold off Eastside’s attempt at a comeback, winning 63-52.
The Eagles shot 78 percent from the charity stripe for the game, with Foote and Barkley not missing a free throw.
Barkley led the team in rebounds with six and steals with three, and Paul paced the Eagles with five assists.