Eagles fall to No. 1 Lakers in OT

Ethan Brittain-Watts drives during action against LaLamiere
Ron Haramia
Sports Writer

You’ve got to give the Culver Academy boys basketball program credit. With the goal of getting better each game and being prepared for the state tournament, the Eagles fill their schedule with high-quality competition. They’ll play anyone, anywhere.
Last year the Academy added national power LaLumiere to that slate and even though they lost to the Lakers, that contest may have been the springboard that ultimately ended with a state championship in Class 3A.
The Eagles will have to hope for that again, as LaLu, currently the No. 1 ranked team in the country, defeated the Academy, 46-45, in overtime before a standing-room only crowd at Fleet Gymnasium Friday night.
After erasing an 11-point first quarter deficit, the third-ranked Academy (15-3) pushed the Lakers (29-0) to the brink before going cold in the extra session. Culver missed its first six shots in OT before Johnny Cohen’s steal and layup tied the game for the last time (45-all) with 1:03 remaining. LaLu was just 1-for-3 from the field in overtime, missed 3-of-4 free throws and had a charging violation, but Isaiah Stewart’s put-back on a missed foul shot early and Keion Brooks’ free throw with :00.8 on the clock were enough for the Lakers to sneak out with the win.
The Eagles held the 6-foot-9 Stewart, a University of Washington recruit, to only two points in the first half and he was the only LaLu player who finished in double digits (12). Brooks, who has Indiana University as one of his final college choices, was held to nine.
Culver’s Ethan Brittain-Watts, a Boston University commit, was the game’s high scorer with 16. Junior Trey Galloway had a tough shooting night from the field and foul line, but still finished with 12 points before fouling out. The Eagles were without the services of 6-8 junior Nick Hittle, who may be out the rest of the season with a foot injury.
Giving up at least four inches and multiple pounds, Deontae Craig did a commendable job on Stewart and scored all eight of his points in the second quarter when the Eagles got back into contention with a 10-2 run just before the half. The capper was a desperation, fadeaway 3 from about 25 feet by Brittain-Watts at the buzzer to close to 29-27 at the break.
Culver grabbed its first lead since 2-0 on a Cohen 3 midway through the third quarter, before the Lakers closed with the final four points for a 37-34 lead heading into the fourth period. The score was tied at 41, then again at 43 with 1:19 in regulation. LaLu was content to hold the ball for a final shot, but Cohen took a charge with 8.9 seconds left. Galloway was fouled on a drive with :04.1 remaining, but neither foul shot would drop and the game went to the extra session.
The Eagles will need to regroup quickly as they host Maconaquah tonight.
At Culver
LALUMIERE (46): Gerald Drumgoole 1 0-0 3, Desmond Polk 2 1-2 7, Denham Wojcik 1 0-0 3, Wendell Green Jr. 3 0-2 7, Keion Brooks Jr. 4 1-4 9, Paxson Wojcik 2 1-1 5, Isaiah Stewart 5 2-2 12, Jakov Kukic 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 5-11 46.
CULVER ACADEMY (45): Jordon Freeman 2 0-0 4, Ethan Brittain-Watts 7 0-0 16, John Cohen 2 0-1 5, Anthony Goeb 0 0- 0 0, Deontae Craig 4 0-0 8, Trey Galloway 2 7-13 12. TOTALS: 17 7-14 45.
Score by quarters
LaLumiere 15 29 37 43 46
Cul. Acad. 9 27 34 43 45
3-pointers: Culver Academy 4 (Brittain-Watts 2, Cohen, Galloway), LaLumiere 5 (Polk 2, Drumgoole, Wojcik, Green). Fouls (fouled out): Culver Academy 10 (Galloway), LaLumiere 18 (none).
Records: Culver Academy 15-3, LaLumiere 29-0