Following two blowout wins against Castaic and Providence, the Cubs entered the semifinal game of the Paul Sutton Tip Off Classic, facing the Oak Park Eagles with a chance to move onto the Final.
PG: Jalen Cox, #3 (6’3”, Sr., G)
SG: Jonas de Krassel, #20 (6’4”,So., G/F)
SF: Vincent Sampson, #30 (6’3”, Sr., F/C)
PF: Hugh Vandeweghe, #24 (6’6”, So., F/C)
C: Parker Jones, #13 (6’6”, Sr., F/C)
The Eagles control the tip, and strike first with a jump shot at the 7:42 mark. Cox counters it with a jumper of his own to get the Cubs on the board with 7:26 remaining. Cox comes through again with a tough bank layup with 6:20 left, giving the Cubs a 4-2 lead. Jones buries a long two-pointer at the 5:35 mark, but Oak Park is quick to respond, hitting two layups to eventually tie the game at 6 with 4:07 remaining. Cox strikes yet again, using an Iverson crossover to get to his spot and bury a jumper with 3:47 left. The 6’3” senior continues to masterfully control the offense, finding Vandewedghe for a layup at the 3:23 mark and putting the Cubs up 10-6. The Eagles get sent to the line on the next possession and make one of two free throws. Sampson gets a layup to go with 2:53 remaining in the period, but the Eagles call bank on a three and the lead is down to two, 12-10, with 2:13 left. The Cubs respond with fire. Cox gets sent to the line on the following possession, and makes one of two. Wagner gets a steal and a rim-grazing dunk with 1:36 to play. Loyola’s impeccable defense leads to a steal followed by a Josh Ferguson layup. This 5-0 run is snapped by an Oak Park triple with 25 seconds left. Ferguson misses a layup, and the quarter ends.
Score: 17-13 Cubs
The Eagles get the ball to begin the quarter, and make a two-pointer with 7:41 left. A scoring drought by both teams is broken with two made Jones free throws at the six-minute mark. The Eagles proceed to get back-to-back layups, tying the game at 19 with around five minutes left in the half. At the five-minute mark, Jonas de Krassel is fouled on a three, and makes all free throws to give the Cubs a 22-19 lead. The Eagles respond with a putback layup, and the lead is down to one with 4:15 left. The Cubs and Eagles commit turnovers, and Sampson’s layup brings the lead back up to three, 24-21, with 3:30 remaining. Jones gets a layup to fall with 2:55 left, and Cox finds De Krassel for an easy two with 2:24 remaining in the half. The score is now 28-21 in favor of the Cubs. The Eagles are sent to the line again at the 2:08 mark, where they make one of two. Despite his great defense, Pentz commits his third foul and puts the Eagles in the bonus. Again, Oak Park makes one of two free throws with 1:44 left. The Cubs get in the bonus at the 57-second mark, and Cox nails both free throws. The Eagles miss a three but get a putback layup to drop, and the lead is down to five with about 30 seconds left. Ferguson gets a layup to fall with 25 seconds to go, and Sampson swats a corner three attempt by the Eagles to end the half.
Score: 32-25 Cubs
The second half highlights begin with a Cox steal and layup at the 7:20 mark. Jones adds to the Loyola lead with a two-pointer with 6:47 left. The Eagles get a two with 6:15 to go, but Cox comes right back and buries a triple on the next possession. The Eagles respond with a three of their own but whiff the four-point-play opportunity. The Cubs lead 39-30 with 5:52 left. The three-point barrage continues with a Vandeweghe triple, and the Cubs lead by 12 with 5:38 to go. Once again, the Eagles respond with a three of their own on the next possession. The Eagles make another layup with 4:18 left in the quarter, but Cox gets fouled shortly after and makes both free throws. A Jones block is not enough to stop the Eagles, as they get the rebound and swish a jumper at the 3:36 mark, making it a 44-37 ball game. Jones and the Eagles trade swats with 2:56 left, appropriate for the defensive clinic put on between the two teams. Cox gets another steal and layup with 2:07 to go, leading to an Oak Park timeout. Following another scoring drought, Cox is sent to the line once more with 57 seconds left. He makes one of two to give the Cubs a ten point lead heading into the fourth.
Score: 47-37 Cubs
The Cubs get the ball to begin the fourth quarter, but are unable to seize the opportunity. The Eagles get a layup to fall with 7:40 left in the game. Wagner is sent to the line with 7:25 to go, making both free throws and bolstering the lead back up to 10. The Eagles drain a jumper and Sampson gets a putback layup on the other end with 6:42 left. The Cubs lead 51-41. Oak Park is fouled at the 6:23 mark and makes one of two free throws. The Eagles get possession off of a Cubs turnover, and make a layup to make it a 51-44 Cubs lead with six minutes left in the game. Sampson’s three-point-play puts the Cubs back up ten with 5:47 left. The Eagles make one of two free throws ten seconds later. Cox somehow gets a crazy layup to fall with 5:12 remaining, and the score is 56-45. Oak Hill counters with a three six seconds later. Ferguson gets a steal, offensive rebound, and free throws with 4:34 left. He nails one of two, and the Cubs lead 57-48. Another Ferguson steal gives the Cubs another possession, and Wagner gets a layup with 3:48 to go. The Cub defense continues, as Pentz’s steal leads to a jump ball for the Cubs, but they can’t take advantage of the opportunity. The last 3:30 of the game becomes a free throw shooting contest, with the Cubs making four free throws to the Eagles’ two. The Cubs come away with another win under their belt, and look onto the tournament’s championship game tomorrow night.
FINAL: 63-50 Cubs
Cub of the Game: Jalen Cox ‘22
The Cub of the Game was senior Jalen Cox, who carried the team with 23 points. In his postgame interview, he cited the team’s defensive intensity, communication, and trust with each other as main factors in tonight’s win. With regards to the offensive impact, he said, “I just saw a lot more dudes who can create their shots. That’s what we’re trying to find out right now, who can get their shots in clutch time...We had people like Matthias, Owen come up clutch, Jonas. And then we had people like Vince and Josh help us too.”
The Next Game
The Cubs face Santa Clarita Christian School in the championship game of the Paul Sutton Tip Off Classic tomorrow night at 7:30 PM.