Senior Brayton Bonar battled to the basket for a big and-one. Jackson Paul pumped both fists after taking a perfectly timed charge. Those were two big moments in the big final two minutes Tuesday night as Churubusco beat South Adams 58-47 in Sectional play.
It made since. One play relied on size, the other on seasoning.
Churubusco moved to 12-11 with the win and guaranteed at least a .500 season. It has been one of big wins and confusing losses, but in the end they relied on both being physical and knowledgeable to beat a South Adams team that had nothing to lose. Winners of just two games, the Starfires threw everything they had at Churubusco but by this point, the Eagles just know better.
Early in the game, it was senior duo Mason Garland and Bonar that took it at South Adams. Throughout the game, the duo pressured South Adams’ defense on the break and got into the paint with ease. Neither of these kids knows how to back down and neither did. They pushed and rallied, often keeping South Adams’ best player Nick Miller out of rhythm and in foul trouble. Keeping Miller from being a big factor after the best week of his career last week was crucial and Bonar and Garland should be given major credit for that.
Add Jake Fulk into the conversation and you have three guys who know how to throw their bodies around effectively.
While South Adams’ young guards tried to find a way to fight back and fight back — several times they did — we got to see what the Paul family experience means. With coach Chris Paul on the sidelines and son Jackson running the point, Busco stayed poised. They didn’t look much like a team who has been up and down all year and was fighting a too close game with a two win team full of freshmen and sophomores. Instead, the Eagles looked like they were just coasting at times because of their take no prisoners, highly confident attitude.
For those wondering, the Paul family did extend down the bench and into the stands with Jackson’s grandfather Bruce Patterson on the bench and brother Jalen, who plays for Michigan-Dearborn, in the crowd.
The younger Paul looked a lot like his older brother during the second half. Part of the criticism for Churubusco in the downs of their season has been their ability to dig deep at the right times. That criticism means nothing to Bounce after Tuesday. They dig deep and there is no reason to think they won’t again on Friday when they face Bluffton. Churubusco has been through the pits and they know how to push through at this point. Bounce really thinks that if or when a team beats Busco to end their season, it will be because they are just better; be it that night or overall.
There is no way that a team around here is going to dig as deep and be as adept at changing the pace as the Eagles are.
Paul scored 17 points, had 11 rebounds and 6 assists in the win. Bonar added 11 points and Garland had 10 points for Churubusco. Drew Stutzman had 16 points for South Adams on 7-of-10 shooting.
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