IMAGE CREDIT: Loyola Athletics Twitter
After a thrilling win against the Fountain Valley Barons in round 1, the Cubs looked to stun the city as they took on the Etiwanda Eagles for a chance to advance to the CIF Quarterfinals.
PG: Matthias Wagner, #12 (6’1”, Sr., PG)
SG: Jonas de Krassel, #20 (6’4”, So., G/F)
SF: Vincent Sampson, #30 (6’1”, Sr., F/C)
PF: Hugh Vandeweghe, #24 (6’7”, So., F/C)
C: Parker Jones, #13 (6’6”, Sr., G/F/C)
The Eagles win the opening tip, but fail to score, and the Cubs do the same on their end. A series of turnovers and missed shots is finally broken with an Eagle three at the 5:56 mark. Vandweghe responds with a triple of his own 34 seconds later, and the game is tied at three. Jones gets a two to fall with 4:41 remaining, and the Eagles soar in with a thunderous slam with 4:37 remaining. The Eagles take a 7-5 lead on a putback layup with 4:07 to go. De Krassel drills a corner three with four minutes left, and the Cubs are back on top. The Eagles bury a three on their end with 3:12 left. Jones drains a triple with under two minutes to go, and Etiwanda comes back yet again with another triple with 1:27 remaining. Following this three-point shootout, the Eagles make a layup with 15 seconds left, and end the quarter up by four.
Score: 15-11 Etiwanda
The Cubs get the ball to start the second quarter, but turn it over 15 seconds in. The Eagles are sent to the line with 6:47 left and make one of two. Sampson gets free throws at the 6:21 mark, and he misses both. The Eagles make a three with 5:40 to go and have their largest lead of the night: eight. The Cubs call a timeout with 4:48 remaining. Cox is fouled with 3:51 to go and makes both free throws. The Eagles are put in the bonus with a foul at the 3:45 mark, but miss their opportunity at the line. Wagner and the Eagles each make a pair of free throws at the 3:05 and three-minute marks, respectively, and it’s a 21-15 Eagle lead. Cox is sent to the line with 1:49 left and makes both. The Eagles get a putback layup to fall, extending their lead to six. Jones gets a block with three seconds left, and Pentz’s half-court heave at the buzzer falls short.
Score: 23-17 Etiwanda
The Eagles have possession to begin the second half. After another scoring drought from both sides, Sampson makes two free throws with 6:52 remaining. Toliver’s triple makes it a one-point Etiwanda lead, 23-22, with 5:32 left. Toliver’s midrange jumper finally puts the Cubs in front, 24-23, with 4:30 left. The Eagles make a layup with 4:02 remaining to end Loyola’s 7-0 run. They make another one with 2:16 to go. De Krassel’s three ties the game at 27 with under two minutes remaining. He buries another one with 1:20 left to give the Cubs a 30-27 lead, helping them go on an 8-0 run as Leavey Gym erupts. Cox’s spin moves sets him up for a great jumper that goes down with under a minute left in the period. Wagner draws a charge with 36.8 seconds left, and the Cubs end the quarter with momentum on their side thanks to stifling defense that forced Eagle turnovers and led to an energized offense.
Score: 32-27 Loyola
The Eagles get the ball to begin the final frame, and are sent to the line with 7:28 left, where they make one of two. Owen Pentz drills a three with 6:50 left. Cox makes a two-pointer with 6:06 remaining, and the Cubs are up 37-28. The Eagles make two free throws with around six minutes left. Cox and the Eagles trade layups at the 5:30 and 5:24 marks, respectively. De Krassel swishes a jumper over two defenders and puts the Cubs up 41-32 with 4:05 left. The Eagles are sent to the line with 4:01 to play and make both free throws. Cox connects with Kelly for the lob-and-layup with 3:11 remaining. De Krassel gets a block with 3:10 left, and the Cubs call a timeout with 3:03 remaining. The Eagles glide to a layup with 2:22 left. Jones is fouled with 2:18 remaining, and makes both free throws as the Cubs lead 45-36. Etiwanda comes right back and swishes a three with two minutes to play. The Eagles get a steal and layup in the final minute to make things interesting. Kelly drives in for the and-one layup with 50 seconds remaining, and he sinks the following free throw. The Eagles make one of two with 44 seconds left. Cox does the same with 28 seconds left. Kelly is fouled with 26.7 seconds remaining, and he makes a free throw. Finally, Toliver puts the game away, splitting free throws with 17 seconds remaining. As the clock winds down, the crowd erupts, Cox soars in for a dunk after the buzzer, and the Cubs have done what many thought was impossible: a 14th seed upsetting the 3rd seed to move onto the CIF Division 1 Quarterfinals.
FINAL: 51-42 Loyola
My postgame interview with head coach Damaine Powell can be found here.
Jalen Cox and Jonas de Krassel had 11 points each. Cox also had nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks, while de Krassel chipped in three triples, five rebounds and two steals. Parker Jones rounded out the top-three scorers with seven points, as well as five blocks, two assists and a steal.
The Next Game
The Cubs play St. John Bosco on Friday, Feb. 18, at a time to be determined.