After their first loss of the season against Mira Costa, the Cubs had chips on their shoulders as they faced the Cypress High School Centurions in the Edison Thanksgiving Showcase.
PG: Jalen Cox, #3 (6’3”, Sr., G)
SG: Jonas de Krassel, #20 (6’4”, So., G)
SF: Luca Labuschagne, #22 (6’4”, Jr., F)
PF: Vincent Sampson, #30 (6’3”, Sr., F/C)
C: Parker Jones, #13 (6’6”, Sr., F/C)
Jones wins the opening tip for the Cubs. He puts them on the board with a two-pointer at the 7:36 mark. A Centurion layup ties the game with 6:54 remaining. De Krassel answers with a layup of his own on the next possession. The Centurions get a steal, but a Cox block leads to free throws for Sampson with 4:39 left in the period. He drills both to give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. Cypress quickly responds with a three at the 4:24 mark to make it a one point game. After both teams fail to score, the Cubs call a timeout with 3:42 remaining. Wagner breaks up a Centurion lob attempt but commits a foul in the process, leading to free throws for Cypress with 3:29 left. The Centurions make one of two to tie the game at 6. Wagner gets a layup with 3:10 to play, and his streak continues with a bank shot at the 2:48 mark, which gives the Cubs a 10-6 lead. A Cox steal leads to a putback layup by Jones with 1:30 remaining. De Krassel gets a steal but misses a three. Ferguson grabs the offensive rebound and is fouled with 1:09 left. He nails both and the Cubs lead 14-6. The Centurions are sent to the line with 25 seconds left, and make one of two. Cox is fouled with four seconds left, makes both free throws, and a Ferguson steal ends the quarter.
Score: 16-7 Loyola
The Centurions come out slinging, burying a three with 7:38 to go. Hugh Vandeweghe drains a three of his own at the seven-minute mark, and it’s a 19-10 Cubs lead. The Centurions are sent to the line on the next possession and make one of two. Another Cox steal leads to a layup by de Krassel, and the Cubs have a ten point lead, 21-11, with 6:40 to go. The Centurions get a steal and layup to go with 5:53 remaining in the half. Cox gets another block, but the Cubs turn it over with 5:03 to play. Cypress is fouled at the 4:44 mark and makes both free throws to cut the lead down to six. The Centurions are sent to the line again with 4:03 left and make one of two. Cox is fouled with 3:54 left in the half, and he also makes one of two. The 6’3” senior is fouled once more with 3:25 remaining, but this time, he sinks both free throws. The Cubs lead 24-16. The Centurions swish a three with 3:14 to go. Vince gets a putback layup to fall with 2:52 remaining. The Centurions are still hot from beyond the arc, draining another three with 2:34 left. It’s now a four-point game, 26-22. The Centurions continue their run with one of two made free throws at the 2:17 mark. Cox extinguishes the flames with a two-pointer at the 1:53 mark. Peyton Lodge buries a triple with less than one minute to go, and de Krassel does the same with 36 seconds remaining. The Centurions make yet another three--their fourth of the quarter--with six seconds left. The three-point barrage from both sides ends as Cox misses a running half-court three to wrap up the first half.
Score: 34-26 Cubs
The starters return for the second half, and the Cubs have the ball. Cox drills a three with 7:49 remaining. The Centurions turn it over with 7:30 left, and Sampson gets a layup at the 7:05 mark. Cox eurosteps his way to the rim with 6:45 left, and the Cubs have a 15-point lead, 41-26. De Krassel drains a two with 6:13 remaining. The Centurions get a layup off a fast break opportunity with 5:30 left, and they score another one with 4:55 to go. Following missed shots from both teams, the Cubs call timeout with 4:40 left. Cypress is fouled with 3:55 remaining and makes both free throws. They get another layup to go with 2:36 to go, making it a 43-34 ball game. Wagner gets a block but the Centurions retain possession with 2:17 left. However, the ball doesn’t find the bottom of the net that time. Wagner drains a two-pointer with 1:53 remaining. He is fouled thirty seconds later, but he misses both free throws. Vandeweghe is called for a charging foul with 36 seconds remaining, but the Centurions miss a three to end the quarter.
Score: 45-34 Cubs
Cypress gets the ball to start the final frame and drains a two with 7:44 to play. Vandeweghe answers with a two of his own at the 7:21 mark. Cox gets another steal and gets fouled with 6:33 remaining. He makes one of two. The Centurions score a layup on the other end, and it’s a ten-point game once more. Cox buries a jumper with six minutes remaining to give the Cubs a 50-38 lead. The Centurions cannot quit, however, splashing another three with 5:34 to play. Jones makes two free throws with 5:38 remaining, and the Cubs call timeout afterwards. Jones finds Wagner for a layup with 4:38 to play. De Krassel buries another three with 4:18 to play. Cypress responds with another three on the other end. The Cubs still lead 57-44. Wagner gets an and-one layup to fall with under four minutes left but misses the following free throw. The Centurions enter the bonus as they are fouled with 3:55 to play and make both freebies. Wagner gets a putback layup with 3:30 to play. Cypress drills another three with 3:22 remaining, and Cox gets a layup off a fastbreak seven seconds later. The Cubs lead 63-49, but it doesn’t last long. After picking up his fifth and final foul, Sampson is in disbelief and exclaims to the ref “Wow”, which results in a technical foul for him and two free throws for Cypress. The Centurions proceed to go on an 8-0 run for the next couple minutes, which includes four made free throws (one from the technical, and three from other fouls). The Cubs call a timeout with 1:51 remaining, leading 63-57. The Centurions continue their hot streak with a three-point-play at the 1:28 mark. This 11-0 run by Cypress is finally put to a halt thanks to a clutch putback layup by de Krassel with 20 seconds remaining. Wagner is fouled with 16 seconds to play and has the ice in his veins to knock down two clutch free throws for a seven-point lead. The Centurions immediately call timeout. The Cubs continue to hang on, as Jones gets a huge block with eight seconds left, and de Krassel is fouled with only 0.4 to go. He makes both free throws, and the Cubs leave victorious, notching their fifth win of the season.
FINAL: 69-60 Loyola
After the game, the coaches lauded the team effort put forth this afternoon but recognized that there’s still a lot to be done. With the upcoming El Rancho Tournament happening next week, coach Powell set out a bold goal for his group: go undefeated in the tournament and finish the following week 9-1 in their first ten games.
Powell said, “I liked the focus and energy we had. The guys played hard, and that’s the foundation for success. We still got a few things we gotta figure out, but we’re 5-1.” He continued, “We’re still building. We’re not where we want to be yet, but I like where we’re going.”
After the loss to Mira Costa, head JV basketball coach Alex Ettinger challenged the guys to have chips on their shoulders. When asked about that after this win, Powell stated, “Usually, our team plays better when we’re the hunter. Now that we kind of have a name for ourselves with what we’ve done in the Fall, people are seeing us as a big game, and we can’t take people for granted. We play better when we have a chip on our shoulders. We’re fighting as the hunter, and we have something to prove.”
Jalen Cox led the way with 17 points, but Matthias Wagner was named the player of the game with 16 points. De Krassel also had 16.
Cub of the Game: Matthias Wagner (Game MVP)
The Cub of the Game was Matthias Wagner. In his postgame interview, Wagner said, “We were getting to the cup. We were getting in the paint. That was a big thing from us. There’s stuff we gotta work on from that fluke loss against Mira Costa, and I think we really got it started from touching the paint and trying to get there every possession.” Regarding the “chip on your shoulder” mentality, he said other teams can expect a dogfight. “We can be feisty,” he stated. “We didn’t really show it that much this game, but we are feisty. That’s kind of our identity...We’re a tough team, gritty, feisty.”
The Next Game
The Cubs face Wilson High School in the first game of the El Rancho Tournament on Monday, November 29, at 7:00 PM.