By Andrew Maciejewski
for KPC News Service
WOODBURN — Churubusco’s bench players leapt from their chairs as their team’s shots began to fall after only making two of its first 17 field goals.
Active hands and full court defensive pressure allowed Eagle basketball players to cut Woodlan’s 12-point lead to one before halftime, Wednesday night. Once the Eagles took the lead off a steal and bucket by freshman guard Jackson Paul, they maintained the lead and won 73-64.
“We’ve got athletic guards that can get to the rim and cause some problems. Once we started to score inside, they had a tough time,” Churubusco boys basketball head coach Chris Paul said. “They had to figure out what they were going to take away.”
Before the second half, Woodlan controlled the pace and made 70 percent of its shots in the first quarter. Once Paul switched to full court pressure, Woodlan lost its tempo and started committing turnovers. When Churubusco’s defensive energy intensified, Woodlan started settling for contested three-pointers.
“It really changed the last two minutes of the second quarter. They got into us a little bit. They pressured us. They trapped us, and it looked like we hadn’t practiced all week,” Woodlan head coach David Randall said.
Before the tide began to turn, Paul called a timeout and told his team, “Stay locked in.” The Eagles went from stagnant offense to transition basketball.
“We are better when we play loose,” Paul said. “We’re really young, but we’re pretty athletic. When we play loose, we’re a handful.”
Junior forward Brayton Bonar had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Jackson Paul had 16 points and made 8 of 10 from the free-throw line.
“Their kids played harder. They outworked us on the boards. We’re not the story tonight, they are.” Randall said.
The Eagles led by as much as 15, and even though Woodlan’s Aaron Hahn made some quick shots in the closing minutes to cut the lead to single digits, the Warriors couldn’t regain the momentum they had in the first half.
“Hats off to Chris. He is a very good basketball coach. We’ve got some things to figure out. I’m very disappointed,” Randall said.
Churubusco 70, Fremont 68
FREMONT — The Eagles continued their winning ways last Friday, beating Northeast Corner Conference foe Fremont, 70-68.
The Eagles had four players who scored in double digits — Luke McClure with 16 points, Brayton Bonar with 15, Gage Kelly with 12 and Jackson Paul with 10 points.
McClure was 5 for 5 in field goals. Bonar led the team in rebounds with eight, followed by Paul with seven.