Posted On: 03/18/18 12:33 PM
Culver came into this game following a 9-game winning streak after a late season loss to La Lumiere. This streak had them playing their best basketball of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time. New Castle was unstoppable all season long and consistently found themselves as the #1 3A team in the state. This game had all the makings to be an outstanding Semi-State matchup and it didn’t disappoint. Both teams traveled very well with a great fan base that had the place rocking from tip to final buzzer.
Ethan Brittain-Watts was locked in for Culver Academy from the tip. He wasn’t ready to let the season get away from the Eagles as Bumbalough and Gillis came out with fire for the Trojans. Ethan was outstanding on defense as well as pouring in six of Culver’s eight points in the first quarter. New Castle was following suit with their junior duo leading the way. New Castle lead 11-8 after this first quarter and didn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
The second quarter was a little different, Culver stepped it up on defense and won the second quarter 18-9. Ethan continued to dominate the game on both ends of the floor while Galloway and Craig stepped up and started making plays as well. Gillis and Bumbalough paced the Trojans but started to face more pressure from Culver’s defense as they locked in and tried to make others step up and beat them. Culver took a 26-20 lead into the break and had swung the momentum completely in their favor.
In the third quarter, Culver came out trying to deliver the knock-out punch. They stretched the lead to nine points early in the third quarter before New Castle called a timeout to re-group. After the timeout, Mason Gillis came alive. He started attacking off the bounce on offense and creating around the basket before he stepped out and knocked down a three to cut the lead to two before the quarter ended. His impact was also felt on the defensive end as he started to defend the basket with a pair of blocks on what would have been easy layups for Culver Academy. New Castle’s fans were back into the game and the atmosphere quickly turned into one that would be expected at a State Championship game. New Castle cut the lead to two heading into the fourth quarter but still trailed 37-35.
The fourth quarter had the same script as the third quarter. This time, New Castle made a run to start the quarter and put Culver on their heels. Luke Bumbalough was creating offense off the bounce for himself and his teammates. It wasn’t until Trey Galloway started to get it going on the offensive end that Culver started to pull away. The top-ranked sophomore had been quiet in the first three quarters of action in the scoring column but came alive after a step-back three found the bottom of the basket. New Castle had to switch to a trapping zone in hopes of speeding up the Eagle offense and forcing turnovers but that wasn’t the case. Culver handled the zone and got layups off long possessions. They were able to handle the press late in the game and step up to the line and make free-throws to extend their lead and solidify the win.
The Culver Military Academy Eagles are 3A Semi-State Champions and will face Evansville Bosse in the IHSAA 3A State Championship next weekend at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Ethan Brittain-Watts (2019) – 28 points (7-10 2FG, 3-7 3FG, and 5-8 FT), 5 rebounds (4 defensive and 1 offensive), 3 steals, and 3 assists
Ethan Brittain-Watts was in complete control offensively yesterday. Without his early offense, New Castle may have run away with this one. He stepped up into big situations and made plays when the Eagles needed it most. One of the most complete games that we’ve seen throughout the season in clutch time. His defense had New Castle’s guards off balance and got them out of sync on offense. He was the best on-ball defender on the afternoon.
Trey Galloway (2020) – 16 points (2-4 2FG, 1-3 3FG, 9-14 FT), 10 rebounds (8 defensive and 2 offensive), and 5 assists
Trey Galloway struggled early on to get into the scoring column. He got to the free-throw line early and often but didn’t start to get it going until the second half. He rebounded the ball at an elite level on the defensive backboard. Galloway was a key player in keeping the Trojans to one shot on offense. Trey also showed off his court vision as a 6’6” guard. He can see over the defense and made some great passes to open teammates for easy baskets. All-around it was a solid performance from the sophomore.
Deontae Craig (2020) – 15 points (4-8 2FG and 7-8 FT), 8 rebounds (5 offensive and 3 defensive), 2 assists, and 1 steal
Deontae Craig has always been a consistent player on the interior for the Eagles and he continued the play yesterday. He is a ball hawk on the offensive glass and creates space well with his movement off the ball. Craig is active fifteen feet and in. He finishes well around the basket with both hands while using his body to shield off size and length from the defenders.
Johnny Cohen (2019) – 1 point (0-1 2FG and 1-4 FT), 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 defensive rebound
Johnny Cohen isn’t someone who is going to put up big numbers but he does all of the little things that Culver needs him to do in order for them to be successful as a team. He handles the ball extremely well in pressure situations and gets low to the ground when attacking the defender’s hips. Cohen was crucial in the latter part of the game as they put him in the middle of the New Castle zone as an outlet from the trapping defense. He made good decisions all game.
Luke Bumbalough (2019) – 29 points (1-5 2FG, 7-12 3FG, and 6-6 FT), 6 assists, and 5 defensive rebounds
Luke Bumbalough was outstanding yesterday. His ability to create his own offense off the dribble kept the Trojans in the game when it looked like Culver was starting to pull away. Just when the game started to swing in momentum, Luke knocked down a few tough three-pointers after freezing his defender with a hesitation dribble. His quickness of the dribble has to be respected by the defense so he is able to elevate and get his shot off whenever he wants. Great performance from deep yesterday and was a key reason that New Castle was able to keep the game within reach.
Mason Gillis (2019) – 23 points (8-13 2FG, 1-2 3FG, and 4-5 FT), 9 rebounds (5 defensive and 4 offensive), 2 blocks, and 1 steal
Mason Gillis and Luke Bumbalough accounted for 88% of the New Castle offense yesterday. That was a trend that remained consistent throughout the season. Gillis came out in the second half and was outstanding on offense. He scored from all three levels, back to the basket, and off the bounce. It was a great performance from him after a quiet second quarter. He has the skills to take over and dominate games on both ends of the floor as a 6’7” wing/forward. His strength around the basket helps him create space and rebound at an elite level.