By Justin Hunter
NORTH JUDSON — Churubusco boys basketball is in unfamiliar territory. The Eagles got their sectional championship in school history, winning the Woodlan sectional. Now, the squad will play in its first ever regional basketball game this Saturday in North Judson.
“I didn’t know how big of a deal it was,” said head coach Chris Paul. “I just have been humbled by the support of the community at this time, but our goals are a bit higher.”
The Eagles will take on Marquette Catholic (16-9) at North Judson High School at 10 a.m. Central Time, 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The Churubusco Athletic Department sent an email for fans, clarifying that the time in North Judson is one hour behind Whitey County.
The Marquette Catholic Blazers have had recent success, including three appearances at regionals in the past four years. Marquette Catholic was also the Class 1A State Runner-up in 2014, but since then has moved up to Class 2A.
The Blazers average 65 points per game, and focuses on teamwork. Marquette Catholic averages 15 assists a game, far above the national average.
“They shoot really well and they do a good job of distributing the ball around. At times, they really remind me of ourselves. They play fast and play unselfish. If they’re playing like we are, we’re going to have our hands full Saturday morning,” said Paul.
The Blazers are led by sophomore Guard Colin Kenney, who averages 16 points per game and hits 43 percent of 3-pointers. The rest of their starters bring a well-balanced attack.
“He does a job of getting to the paint. He also doesn’t force too many shots. He’s composed out there and really sneaky. It’s a sneaky 16 points that he puts up. It’s not flashy — you look at the postgame numbers and see he’s had a really good game,” said Paul. “We’re going to have to play really good defense. The key is to eliminate their leader, Colin Kenney, as much as we can. Then, put more pressure on the other four than they may be used to.”
Churubusco should be tough to defend as well. Senior Jalen Paul leads with 21 points a game and Senior Dakota Barkley has averaged 19 points per game. The Blazers may also want to pay close attention to Senior Luke Foote and Senior Colin Mullins, who scored their season highs in the sectional championship against the Eastside Blazers last week.
“Luke Foote has been doing this for a little while now. They will have to know where he is. It will add to their scouting report this week. We have many shooters including Colin (Mullins), that if they shoot well beyond the arc, it really opens things up for us, and takes the load off Jalen (Paul) and Dakota (Barkley). We will need our two leading scorers to play well though,” said Paul
Pre-sale tickets are available at Churubusco High School for $10 apiece. The tickets are good all day, for all regional games at North Judson. Tickets are available for purchase at the high school office 7:30-8 a.m. and 3:15-4 p.m. A ride on the fan bus is also available for $5 per person.