CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s boys basketball team secured its spot as the top in Whitley County, defeating Whitko 59-40 on Saturday.
Earlier in the season, the Eagles defeated Columbia City 77-49.
Churubusco ran up a 9-0 advantage to start the game, with the first seven of those points coming from 6-foot-9 Landen Jordan.
Whitko didn’t get on the board until the 2:40 mark of the first quarter with a basket by Sickafoose, who followed the field goal with a 3-pointer to make the score 9-5.
However, Churubusco finished off the period with three quick buckets, by Jordan, Gavin Huelsenbeck and Luke McClure to make the score 15-5 going into the second.
The Eagles carried that momentum into the second quarter, scoring eight unanswered points to lead 23-5.
That momentum was quickly lost when senior Jackson Paul was benched with his third foul with about five minutes to go in the half.
The Eagles’ offense struggled to find itself without the team’s leading scorer, only scoring one more point for the rest of the quarter. Meanwhile, Sickafoose let loose.
In the ensuing play after Paul’s departure, Sickafoose scored a 3-pointer and drew a foul, completing the four-point play. He followed that with another 3-pointer, narrowing Churubusco’s lead to 23-12 with 2:44 on the clock. He scored one more before the end of the half to make the score 24-15 going into the locker room.
Churubusco opened the half with a 6-3 run, and handed Whitko its biggest blow when Jordan drew Sickafoose’s fourth foul with 4:28 left in the third, now sending the Wildcats’ star shooter to the bench. Two minutes later, fellow Whitko stand-out Drake Lewis found his seat on the bench after picking up his fourth foul.
With things looking bleak for the Wildcats, several teammates stepped up for Whitko’s offense.
Dale Reiff got a hot hand in the final two minutes of the third quarter, scoring seven points, and Whitko got 3-pointers from Aiden Hoffman and Collin Ziebarth, putting up a 13-8 run in the last 2:30 of the third to make the score 47-31 going into the fourth.
Ziebarth opened the fourth with another 3-pointer, another shot in the arm for Whitko, but the Wildcats took one step forward and three steps back, as Sickafoose fouled out just seconds later.
Whitko’s Reiff and Hoffman kept the game competitive through the final minutes, including cutting the lead to 12 with 2:30 left, but Churubusco slowed out the game with a 7-0 run to make the final score 59-40.
Paul led Churubusco with 21 points, followed by Jordan with 18 and McClure with 13.
After scoring 15 points in the first half, Sickafoose was held scoreless in the second, but still led Whitko with 15 points. Reiff tallied 12 points for Whitko.
With the win, Churubusco improves to 16-3 and Whitko falls to 12-7.
The Eagles blew out Fairfield on Friday, 81-40.
Paul put up an impressive 32 points, followed by McClure with 25 and Jordan with 14. McClure raced to 17 of those points in the first quarter, where the Eagles led 20-5.
Paul scored eight points in the second to help Churubusco to a 44-15 advantage at halftime. He scored another 12 in the third to boost Churubusco to a 62-31 lead going into the fourth, where the Eagles scored another 19 points.
Churubusco has a newcomer on its roster, Evan Love, a former Columbia City student. Head coach Chris Paul said Love is still learning Churubusco’s program, but the junior saw some varsity playing time against Whitko on Saturday.