Cleveland Heights, OH- Wednesday night, the #6 Lutheran East Falcons (15-4) hosted their crosstown rivals #5 Lutheran West Longhorns (18-2) in a sold out highly anticipated rematch the Falcons had circled on their schedule after a heartbreak 49-45 loss in Rocky River last year. The Falcons were on a six game winning streak with their last lost coming against Combine Academy at the Flying to the Hoop Invitational. The Longhorns last loss came a month before in December to Holy Name. Before the tip-off the Falcons honored seniors Nelson Johnson and Cody Head for their outstanding careers.
FIRST QUARTER The Falcons set the tone from the the tip-off. Head and junior guard Chauncey Brasher scored the teams first three baskets giving the Falcons a 7-3 early lead before Longhorns teams Jayson Levis and Junior Kambomba tied the game up. Head would go on to knock down another three and pick up a three point play off being fouled while making a layup. Lutheran East led West 18-11 after the end of the quarter.
SECOND QUARTER Lutheran East junior guard Anthony Bruce gave the Falcons an early 10 point lead with a triple off the bench. The Longhorns were starting to look outmatched. Junior forward Jesse McCullouch started to use his 6'8 frame dominanting paint showing traits of a younger Anthony Davis with a monster dunk. Longhorn coach Jordan Duke tried to throw just about every available body he had ready with senior big man Boubacar Djigo still unavailable. "We didn't play our best game today. What can I say, it's hard to defend a 6'8 guy when your a bit undersized. Jayson(Levis) didn't have a good game. We just got outmatched" said Duke postgame. Kambomba would hit a triple to cut helping the Longhorns cut into the deficit with a 8-0 run to finish the half. Head and freshman forward TJ Crumble finsihed the half off with back to back threes giving the Falcons a 38-26 first half lead.
THIRD QUARTER The Falcons came out in the second half with the same dominance as they displayed in the first. The referees gave Cody Head a technical foul early in the third quarter for flexing after a made layup that didn't sit well with the Falcons sideline and fans. The Falcons expanded their lead to 17 ending the quarter up 54-37. We know the tournament is coming up soon and we're playing basketball like everyday is a tournament game" said McCullouch postgame when asked about the mindset of the team.
FOURTH QUARTER Lutheran East grew their lead early in the fourth by as much as 21, but the Longhorns would still put up a fight. Levis & Kombomba combined for 7 of the teams 15 quarter points. They outscored the Falcons by 1 in the fourth. The Falcons in the end were just too much as Crumble and McCulloch attacked the point for 8 combined points to secure the victory.
LEADING SCORERS Lutheran East: McCulluch-18 points, Head-14 points, Crumble- 12 points, Bruce- 11 points Lutheran West: Levis- 14 points, Matt Meyer- 9 points, Kambomba- 8 points, Fairley- 6 points, Josh Meyer- 5 points NEXT UP: Next up for the Falcons is a road trip to the LeBron James Arena as the face the St. Vincent- St. Mary Fighting Irish next Tuesday in preparation for the district tournament. The Longhorns, who are the top seed in the North Ridgeville district, will have some time off to prepare for another big test as they also travel to Akron to face the Archbishop Hoban Knights next Friday.
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