By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s boys basketball team capped a four-game week with a win over county rival Whitko to be named the county champions for 2017.
The Eagles beat Columbia City earlier this season, and topped Whitko, 69-62, Saturday after a long week. Churubusco was on the road for three games that week, traveling to Garrett, South Adams and Fairfield. “I’m proud of them,” said Churubusco coach Chris Paul. “We had to figure out how to fight through things and play hard.”
The Eagles took a 15-8 lead over the Wildcats after keeping Whitko star Nate Walpole off the scoreboard in the first quarter. However, Walpole caught fire in the second quarter, scoring four 3-pointers and two field goals to help the Wildcats outscore Churubusco 21-16, making the halftime score 31-29 in favor of the Eagles. Churubusco’s Dakota Barkley got hot in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his 25 points. The Eagles had a 54-49 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Whitko played an even, 15-15, game with ’Busco in the final quarter, making the final score 69-62. Churubusco had four players score in double digits: Barkley with 25, Jalen Paul with 15 points, Luke Foote with 12 points and Brayton Bonar with 10. Paul tallied 12 assists in the Whitko game, and Barkley led the Eagles with 10 rebounds. The boys beat Fairfield on Friday, 64-61, in overtime — on the Falcons’ senior night. “The atmosphere at Fairfield was great,” Paul said. “We grew up a little bit in that game. Fairfield is really good.”
The Eagles were led in scoring by Barkley with 28 points, Paul with 11 and Foote with eight points. Dean Stanley led Churubusco with seven rebounds against Fairfield. Paul had 11 assists and three steals.
The Eagles lost at South Adams in a close game, 65-59. Paul scored 22 points, Barkley had 19 and Foote tallied 13 points. Barkley had 10 rebounds and Paul recorded 10 assists. The Eagles beat Garrett 64-54 last Tuesday. Barkley led the team with 22 points followed by Paul with 21 and Bonar with 12 points. Stanley led with five rebounds and Paul tallied 10 assists. After losing two starters to injuries, coach Paul said having four games in one week was helpful to help the boys flow as a team. “Things are going better with the new lineup,” Paul said. “It was rough when we played Central Noble and Lakeland. You can see things flow now and they haven’t had a lot of bad offensive possessions. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that we don’t lose anyone else.”