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CROWN POINT â€” The Eagles followed up their first ever sectional championship with a regional crown, and they did it with a dramatic flourish.
Senior forward Juwan Brescacinâ€™s tip-in at the buzzer bounced high off the rim before dropping back in to seal Culver Militaryâ€™s 54-52 win over Western in the championship game at the Class 3A Crown Point Regional Saturday.
The Eagles will now travel to Huntington North for their northern semistate against Columbia City â€” which trumped Harding 55-47 to win the Blackford Regional over the weekend â€” Saturday at 3:15 p.m. EST.
"It was meant to be,â€ťsaid Brescacin.
"Either we were going to overtime or we were going to win the game. As soon as I saw it go through the net, my heart stopped to be honest. I couldnâ€™t breathe."
"These kids know how to work hard; they know how to practice hard,â€ťsaid CMA head coach Mark Galloway. "Itâ€™s them coming in every day and working at it. Iâ€™ve got to complement the coaching staff because they did an unbelievable job getting us ready for this weekend, and itâ€™s hard because youâ€™ve got to get ready for three teams... They knew maybe more than the coaches did of their own teams.â€ť
Brescacin scored 18 points with nine rebounds, while junior point guard Jermaine Myers tallied a game-high 19 points with nine assists and two blocked shots, and 7-foot-1 center Chier Ajou scored 10 points with two blocks in the championship win over Western.
CMA trailed 35-32 at the start of the fourth quarter but quickly took the lead on a Brescacin two-handed stuff off a Myers backdoor lob to start the frame and a pair of free throws from Ajou at the 6:51 mark of the quarter.
The two teams swapped leads four more times, and the Eagles led by as much as seven points at 49-42 with just two minutes remaining as Myers rattled off eight points during a 13-5 run spanning 2:27 of the period.
But Western answered back with its own 10-3 run that included a technical on the CMA bench to tie the game up at 52-all with 47.8 seconds to go. Eagles freshman Hayes Barnes missed a 3 from the corner to set the stage for Brescacinâ€™s last-second heroics.
"We wanted to get the last shot,â€ťsaid Galloway. "We felt like they were going to come up on Jermaine (Myers). Hayes Barnes was our leading scorer in the first game today, so he had an open look. We were hoping to have enough time to get the tip-in. Juwan got there, got the rebound and made a great shot, a great play, and itâ€™s history after that."
CMA 61, ANDREAN 55
Culver Military got a big fourth-quarter lift from freshman Hayes Barnes to top Andrean 61-55 in the Eaglesâ€™ regional semifinal Saturday.
Barnes â€” who finished with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting â€” knocked down a trio of triples and a key pair of free throws to help break a 42-42 tie in the final stanza.
Barnes drained two straight corner 3s to give his team an initial 48-44 edge at the 5:30 mark of the frame, then knocked down another from the opposite wing to put CMA up 57-48 at the 2:40 stop. His free throws in the double bonus with 56 seconds to go extended the Eaglesâ€™ lead back to two possessions after a 7-1 Andrean run.
"He was huge. For a freshman on this kind of stage to step up and make some plays,â€ť said CMA head coach Mark Galloway. "Our seniors definitely got us off to a great start and carried us a lot of the way, but for him to come in here and have a game like that, itâ€™s just amazing that heâ€™s only a freshman.â€ť
Jermaine Myers recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists to complement four steals, and Chier Ajou had 11 points for CMA in the semifinal win.
CLASS 3A REGIONAL 5
At Crown Point
CULVER MILITARY 54, WESTERN 52
Score by quarters
CMA: 14 23 32 54
Western: 12 20 35 52
CULVER MILITARY (54): Jermaine Myers 19, Hayes Barnes 4, Eljay Murray 0, Aramonti Phillips 0, Chier Ajou 10, Juwan Brescacin 18, Alex Dodane 3, Willie Strong 0. TOTALS: 17 18-23 54.
WESTERN (52): John Capps 0, Mikey Castillo 0, Ben Constable 0, Zac Crain 0, Quin Fields 5, Brandon Larrick 9, Drew Larrick 4, Andrew Orr 0, Matt Orr 9, Damon Reel 8, Ronnie Smith 0, Evan Warden 17. TOTALS: 18 6-18 52.
3-point goals: CMA 2 (Myers 2), Western 10 (Warden 4, B. Larrick, Fields, Reel 2, M. Orr 2); Total fouls (fouled out): CMA 17 (Strong), Western 17 (none).
CMA 61, ANDREAN 55
Score by quarters
Andrean: 13 27 42 55
CMA: 17 29 42 61
ANDREAN (55): Adam Bosak 12, Nick Davidson 16, Mario Giannini 0, D.J. Gonzalez 0, Matt Harangody 4, Josh James 13, Matt Ruberry 0, Collin Wojcik 10. TOTALS: 22 7-9 55.
CMA (61): Jermaine Myers 18, Hayes Barnes 19, Eljay Murray 0, Chier Ajou 11, Juwan Brescacin 5, Alex Dodane 0, Willie Strong 8. TOTALS: 22 10-20 61.
3-point goals: Andrean 4 (Davidson 2, Wojcik 2), CMA 7 (Myers 2, Barnes 5). Total fouls (fouled out): Andrean 17 (Ruberry), CMA 9 (none). Records: Andrean 15-9 (final), CMA 17-6.