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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 03, 2017 6:09 pm

Churubusco wins, then worries about another injury

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

WOODBURN — The Churubusco boys basketball team celebrated Friday night, but with an element of concern for Dakota Barkley.

After beating Woodlan 75-60 to advance to tonight's championship game of the Class 2A Woodlan Sectional, the Eagles turned their attention to the 6-foot-3 senior forward, who injured his left ankle late in the game and needed crutches afterward.

"Keep our fingers crossed," Churubusco coach Chris Paul said. "It would be our third starter (lost to injury). Somebody that is getting over 20 a game and a leader. It would be very, very difficult."

The Eagles (16-8) have won five straight games and eight of their last nine, just finally adjusting to other health problems.

"Not to make any excuses, but we lost some earlier in the year because we lost Garrett Horn and Brayden Simmons," Paul said. "Then all of a sudden all our rotations changed. You know, Brayton Bonar was playing JV, and now he plays almost the whole game. It took time; that's why hopefully we don't lose a third starter."

Barkley contributed 11 points Friday, but support was plentiful. Jalen Paul and Luke Foote scored 21 points apiece, and Bonar, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, added 14 as Churubusco controlled the game start to finish.

"We blocked out and rebounded all first half, and it gave us some room to make mistakes in the second half," Jalen Paul said. "We really want to do something special. All the naysayers early in the year, everybody was telling us we couldn't do it, and these guys work too hard. I am personally not ready for it to end."

The Eagles led 21-8 after the first quarter, 41-24 at halftime and 49-36 entering the fourth quarter, where Woodlan made a push here and there and extended the game by fouling intentionally but could never climb within single digits late.

Senior Austin Fancher had 17 points for the Warriors, who finished the season 12-11.

"We have three goals every year: to win our conference tournament, to win our conference and to win the sectional," Woodlan coach Dave Randall said. "Well, we got two out of three, and somebody said two out of three ain't bad, so I'll go with that."