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Gross hits buzzer-beater to top ’Cats

February 18, 2013

Whitko’s Trey Weber drives against Blake Gross, who hit the game-winning shot Saturday. Post & Mail photo / Mark Parker

CHURUBUSCO — Saturday night’s basketball game was most definitely a game of very contrasting halves.

The visiting Whitko Wildcats used stellar shooting from the field to win the first half, but the host Churubusco Eagles used a furious fourth quarter and an off-balance shot in the final seconds to win the second half, and the game, by a 42-40 score.

Fans in the stands watching the first half of the game probably believed that there was a runaway in progress. The visiting Wildcats went 5-for-5 from the field in the first quarter and hit a scorching 12-of-15 from the field in the first half.

They outscored the Eagles 16-11 in the second quarter to take a 27-17 lead at halftime.

With a 33-24 advantage going into the final quarter, the Wildcats extended the lead on two inside baskets by Bennett to push their advantage to 13 points at 37-24.

The Wildcats only managed a free throw and a basket for the rest of the game while the Eagles put on a furious rally.

Fueled by defensive pressure that caused seven Whitko turnovers in the final half of the quarter, the Eagles gradually whittled down the Wildcat lead.

Sarrazin’s second basket of the quarter brought Churubusco to within two at 40-38. A ’Busco steal and a basket by Simmons knotted the score at 40 with 1:22 left on the clock.

The Eagles got the ball following a defensive stop, and worked the clock before a Whitko foul sent Beau Barkley to the line. Barkley missed the front end of the one-and-one with the rebound going into the corner.

Stoddard grabbed the ball for the Wildcats, but was pressured into a turnover, giving the ball back to the Eagles with barely 10 seconds left on the clock.

The Eagles worked the ball to Gross, who was forced to take an awkward left-handed hook from the top of the key that banked in with two seconds left on the clock.

A final heave by Cumberland sailed wide and the Eagles took the win, 42-40.

Simmons led Busco with 11 points with Gross adding nine and Sarrazin seven for the Eagles. Cumberland, Stoddard and Weber each notched eight for the Wildcats.

For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Feb. 18 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.

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