After a 16-10 regular season and a 1-5 record in the Mission League, the Cubs qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs. They faced the Windward Wildcats in the first round and looked to avenge last year’s loss to them in the CIF Quarterfinals.
PG: John Belardi, #12 (6’3”, G, Jr.)
SG: Jalen Cox, #3 (6’0”, G, So.)
SF: Jack Kresich, #10 (6’7”, G/F, Jr.)
PF: Remington Rofer, #35 (6’8”, F/C, Jr.)
C: Colby Brooks, #20 (6’7”, C, Sr.)
The Wildcats get the opening tip and immediately scratch first with a layup at the 7:45 mark. Brooks responds with a layup to tie the game at two apiece with 7:28 remaining. Following another Windward layup, Jalen Cox swishes a triple to give the Cubs their first lead of the game, 5-4, with 6:30 left. The Wildcats keep getting to the rim with ease, scoring another layup to regain the lead with 5:48 remaining. Rem’s emphatic swat leads to him getting a layup on the other end and the Cubs taking a 7-6 lead with 5:15 to go. Brooks’ pair of free throws and Rem’s triple give the Cubs a 12-6 lead with four minutes left. The Wildcats stop the Cubs’ momentum with a three at the 3:34 mark. Uri Ferguson checks in for Belardi with 3:22 to go. Cox’s layup gives the Cubs a five-point lead with under three minutes remaining, but Windward strikes back with a layup 30 seconds later. Kresich buries a jumper with 2:15 left and the lead is back up to five. Rem takes a charge on the following possession to give the ball back to the Cubs. It works out in their favor, as Kresich sinks a three to put the Cubs up by eight with 1:45 left. The Wildcats begin a 7-0 run to come within one with 50 seconds remaining. Rem ends the run with a jumper to get the Cubs up by three, but the Wildcats tie it with a shot on the other end to end the quarter.
Score: Tied at 21
The five on the floor for the Cubs is Uri, Trent Turner, Parris, “Crazy” Christian Sucuveanu, and Brooks. The Wildcats receive the first possession but miss a layup. The Cubs are unable to take advantage of the opportunity and fail to score on the other end. With 7:08 to go, Sucuveanu is called for a foul after his blocked shot, and the Wildcats regain the lead with a pair of free throws. Back-to-back Wildcat layups put the Cubs in a six-point hole with 6:15 left. Cox and Kresich come in for Turner and Parris at the 5:13 mark. Sucuveanu is sent to the line with 4:27 left, but misses both free throws. The Wildcats get a three-point play on the other end and lead by nine with under four minutes left. Grant Roquemore checks in for Crazy Chris shortly after. Brooks comes in for Belardi with 3:38 remaining, and the Cubs roll out a 1-5 lineup of Cox, Kresich, Brooks, G-Roq, and Rem. The Wildcats score on another layup and their lead becomes 11 with 2:55 left in the half. On the other end, Rem makes a free throw with 2:46 to go. The Wildcats again find an easy look at the basket, making another layup to lead by 10 with 2:24 remaining. After Rem misses two free throws, a lane-violation by the Wildcats gives him another opportunity. He drills his third free throw. Another trip to the line for Rem ends with him making both free throws and bringing the deficit down to seven, 34-27, with 1:47 left. The Wildcats continue to put points on the board, draining a triple to go up by double-digits with 1:32 remaining. Kresich scores on a layup with 55 seconds to go. Kresich’s steal leads to Brooks free throws with 39 seconds to play in the half. He misses both, but a G-Roq offensive rebound gives them another chance. Brooks makes a layup with 30 seconds left to get the Cubs within six going into the break.
Score: 37-31 Wildcats
The Wildcats gain possession to start the second half, and again score on a layup but miss the following free throw. Rem’s three gets the Cubs within five with 7:25 remaining, but the Wildcats respond with a three of their own with 7:10 to go. The lead suddenly balloons to 11 after a 6-0 Wildcats run. The Cubs are unable to get a bucket on their end, missing three consecutive shots despite getting two offensive rebounds. Kresich gets a tip-in and a foul, but misses the free throw with 2:33 remaining. A Cox steal and dish to Kresich gets two more points on the board for the Cubs with 2:05 left. Uri checks in for Belardi with 1:56 remaining. Another three-point play by Windward gives them a 51-41 lead with 28 seconds left. The Wildcats get a steal and are fouled with two seconds to go. They sink both and lead by a dozen to end the quarter.
Score: 53-41 Wildcats
Once again, the Wildcats have the first possession. The first score of the final frame comes from a Kresich three at the 6:57 mark. Following another scoring drought, the Wildcats bury a three with 4:05 remaining. The Wildcats continue to feast inside the paint, garnering another three-point play to take a 15-point lead, 59-44, with 3:12 left. After a Belardi three and a Wildcats layup, the score is 61-47 in favor of Windward with 2:47 remaining. Rem is sent to the line with 2:37 remaining. He makes one of two, and Brooks gets the offensive rebound and earns himself a trip to the stripe with 2:34 left. He also makes one of two free throws to bring the lead to 12. The Wildcats’ paint dominance continues, as they make another layup with 2:16 remaining. Belardi gets a steal and glides his way to a layup with 1:30 to play. The Wildcats still lead 63-51. They make a pair of free throws with 1:12 left. Cox is sent to the line with 1:07 to go, and he makes one of two. Following a series of turnovers from both teams, the Wildcats splash a three with 20 seconds remaining. They’re sent to the line with nine seconds to play and make both free throws. Senior guard Wyatt Freeark comes in for Cox shortly after. The Cubs’ final bucket of the season is a G-Roq layup at the buzzer.
FINAL: 70-54 Wildcats
Cubs of the Game
The Cubs of the Game were Remington Rofer and Jack Kresich. Rem led the Cubs in scoring with 17 points, and Kresich was their second-leading scorer with 15 points.