Garfield, Heights Ohio— Friday night in the co main event of the NEO Christmas Classic Lutheran East (6-0) took on Cleveland Heights (2-3). The Lutheran East Falcons remained undefeated winning the matchup 67-47.
In the first quarter both teams looked to find their rhythm from three. Chris Hill made some plays early for Lutheran East. He scored the first bucket of the game. He knocked down a three around three minutes left. The shot put Lutheran East up 8-4.
Trevor McPherson was a bright spot for Heights. He knocked down his first three and hit another with about one minute to go.
Lutheran East went into the second quarter up 19-13.
Chauncey Brashers got things started in the half for Lutheran East. Jesse McCulloch started to make his mark near the end of the period.
Brashers assisted on a Ronald Taylor basket and scored two driving layups of his own. Lutheran East led 25-15 with five minutes to go.
After a few slow minutes for both teams Jesse McCulloch put his imprint on the game.
He scored multiple put backs including an and one and an alley oop finish. He closed the quarter blocking three shot attempts in one possession. Lutheran East led 35-18 at the half.
Ronald Taylor got going in the second half for Lutheran East. He knocked down a three and a mid range jumper about halfway into the quarter. Lutheran East led 40-24.
Braylyn Irby checked in and tried to ignite the Tigers with a three point make. Alan Mallory responded with a putback layup. After free throws from Anthony Bruce and Jesse McCulloch Lutheran East went into the fourth up 48-33.
Lutheran East came out in the fourth and put the game away. Bruce and Taylor knocked down back to back threes, Lutheran East led 54-35 with five minutes to go.
Heights continued to fight back with a 8-0 run. Trevor McPherson and Mike Lewandowski hit threes and Iyan Bremer scored a layup.
Lutheran East responded with a 7-0 run. Bruce hit a three and got the assist on a Chris Hill and one layup during the run. The Falcons led 63-43 with two minutes to go.
Lutheran East ended on top winning 67-47.
I got the chance to speak with Lutheran East Head Coach Sam Liggins about the win.
“Cleveland Heights has been a good program over the years," said Liggins. "Our school had never beaten them before. We came into the year with a list of things we wanted to achieve, beating Cleveland Heights was one of them.”
Lutheran East will be back in action December 27th 7:30 PM taking on Hiland.