Image via Brody Hannon Photography // Flickr
Having just come off winning the Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic, the Cubs hoped to continue their momentum facing the Mira Costa Mustangs in their home opener at Leavey Gymnasium. They came in shorthanded, with forwards Owen Pentz and Hugh Vandeweghe being inactive for the contest.
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. Costa gets a steal but can’t score. A Cox jumper gets the Cubs on the board first at the 7:16 mark. The Mustangs lay it up and in to tie the game with 6:30 remaining. Labuschagne gets a steal and Sampson is sent to the line at the 6:11 mark. He misses both attempts. A corner three from de Krassel gives the Cubs a 5-2 lead with 5:35 left in the period. The Mustangs get a steal and layup with 4:38 left. They get another steal and layup to take a 6-5 lead with 4:27 remaining, which leads to a Cubs timeout. Cox is fouled at the 4:17 mark, and drills both free throws to give the Cubs a 7-6 lead. The Mustangs make a hook shot to regain the lead nearly 30 seconds later. Cox finds Labuschagne for an easy layup with three minutes to play, and the back-and-forth between both teams continues with a layup from Costa on the other end. Labuschagne returns the favor, finding Cox for an easy and-one layup. The senior’s three-point-play puts the Cubs in front 12-10 with 1:53 to play in the quarter. A Jones steal leads to a Wagner layup that increases their lead to four with 1:30 remaining. Ferguson is sent to the line at the 1:06 mark, but misses both free throws. The Mustangs score a layup with 38 seconds to go. A Cubs turnover leads to free throws by Costa, and the Mustangs make both with 28 seconds remaining. Cox misses a three at the buzzer and the game is tied at the end of one.
Score: Tied at 14
The Cubs get the ball to begin the game, and Joshua Ferguson gets called for a travel at the 7:48 mark. Cox gets a putback layup with 7:05 remaining to give the Cubs the lead back. De Krassel drains another corner three to increase the lead to five with 6:10 to go. Costa makes another layup with 5:20 left, and Wagner counters with a layup of his own eight seconds later. The score is now 21-16 Cubs. A de Krassel block leads to a Cox layup with 4:20 left in the half. Costa counters on the other end, and it’s a 23-18 ball game. Another scoring drought from both teams is broken by a Costa triple at the 1:24 mark to make it a two-point game. The Mustangs drain a three at the buzzer to take the lead going into halftime.
Score: 24-23 Mira Costa
The Mustangs get a putback two at the 7:23 mark to begin the second half. Sampson gets a layup on the other end for the Cubs ten seconds later. The Mustangs make a two-point jumper with 7:02 to go. De Krassel keeps the Cubs in striking distance, burying a wide-open triple with 6:10 remaining and cutting the Costa lead down to two. Jones, who had been relatively quiet on the offensive end, was making his presence known defensively, recording his fourth block of the night at the 5:28 mark. Wagner pump-faked two defenders before swishing a fadeaway that tied the game at 30 with five minutes left in the period. Jones was fouled with four minutes to go, and he made both free throws as the Cubs regained the lead. After both teams couldn’t crack the lids on the rims, Costa called a timeout with 2:49 remaining, and promptly scored a layup 17 seconds later that tied the game at 32. A Ferguson jumper allows the Cubs to take the lead again with 1:50 to go, but two made Costa free throws tie it up yet again with 1:17 remaining. Both teams fail to score, and the quarter ends.
Score: Tied at 34
The final frame opens with solid defense from both teams, until the Cubs give up a wide-open Costa three that gives the Mustangs the lead with 7:07 remaining. The Cubs call a timeout shortly after. The Mustangs extend their lead with two made free throws at the 6:03 mark. De Krassel is sent to the line with 5:49 to go, and makes one of two. Costa makes another layup with 5:33 to play, and the score is 41-35 Mustangs. Cox finds de Krassel for a light layup with five minutes to play, and Ferguson drills one of two free throws to bring the Cubs within three at the 4:54 mark. The Mustangs respond with another made layup with 4:40 to go. Jones is fouled at the 3:51 mark, and misses the following free throw. At this point, both teams are in the bonus. Costa continues to ride the wave, draining another three to take an eight point lead with 3:30 remaining in the game. The Cubs call timeout shortly after, trailing 46-38. Mira Costa is called for traveling with under three minutes to play. Sampson tips it up and in with 2:37 to play. The Mustangs are sent to the line with 2:10 to play, and make two more free throws to make it a 48-40 ball game. They get a steal at the 1:39 mark and immediately call timeout. Coming out of the timeout, they fail to score. Cox is fouled with 1:03 to play, and makes both free throws to give the Cubs a mere chance and cut the lead to six. The Mustangs and Jones trade layups, and the Cubs take a timeout with 43 seconds to play. Great defense by the Cubs leaves Mira Costa flustered and forces them to take another timeout with 34 seconds to play. The Mustangs are fouled with 22 seconds remaining, and make one of two. After an offensive rebound by the Mustangs, they are sent to the line with 20 seconds remaining, where they drill one of two yet again. This puts them in the double bonus. Costa is fouled once more with eight seconds to play, and makes one of two free throws. De Krassel’s top-of-the-key triple is blocked, and the Cubs suffer their first loss of the season, while Mira Costa stands undefeated at 6-0.
FINAL: 53-45 Mira Costa
Following a far-from-perfect performance by the Cubs, Cox stated that leadership would be key to getting the team back on track. “It starts with me, Parker, Vince, us bringing the team together," he said. "Telling them it’s okay. One loss isn’t the end of the world for us.” Still, when healthy and at their peak, Cox believes the team can be very dangerous, particularly with their increased depth and threats.
The Next Game
The Cubs face Cypress High School in Cypress on Saturday, November 28, at 3:00 PM.
For more pictures of tonight's game, click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brodyhannon/albums/72157720173139228