CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH – Two of the top teams in Northeast Ohio met at Lutheran East on Wednesday night. Cleveland.com ranks Lutheran West 5th and Lutheran East 6th. The sister schools met last year and saw the Lutheran West Longhorns edging out a 49-45 victory. The Longhorns and the Falcons are budding one of the newest and hard-fought rivalries in the area. The Falcons were planning to right the ship and bounce back from the loss last year.
Opening Quarter Spark
— Brandon Marvel (@bmarvel8) February 9, 2023
The first quarter got off to a back and forth start with both teams knocking down the 3 ball. Lutheran East guard Chauncey Brashers sparked the Lutheran East offense by hitting 2 of his own three-pointers. Senior guard Cody Head chipped in 5 points in the opening frame including a tough and-1 in the paint. Lutheran West struggled to find an offensive groove early. At the end of the first quarter, Lutheran East held an 18-11 lead.
Falcons Fly High in the 2nd
Lutheran East extended its lead past 10 with this Jesse McCulloch slam in the second quarter. pic.twitter.com/yw8NRvJ4Un
— Matt Goul (@mgoul) February 9, 2023
Lutheran East picked up right where they left off at the end of the first quarter. After ending the first on a 6-2 run, the Falcons would quickly go up 30-13. This extended their scoring run to 18-4. Lutheran West would not go away easily though. Junior guard Derek Fairley authored an 8-0 scoring run for the Longhorns to cut the lead to 9. The rest of the half saw the Longhorns and Falcons fighting a physical battle. Cody Head, TJ Crumble, and Jesse McCulloch each had 5 points for the Falcons in the second quarter. They helped Lutheran East hold their lead at half 38-26.
Lutheran East Handles Business in Second Half
The Falcons played came out of the half strong and steady. Junior guard Anthony Bruce put his mark on the game by knocking down 2 of his 3 three-pointers in the third quarter. Jesse McCulloch continued his great game adding 4 more points and grabbing tough rebounds. At the end of the third, Lutheran East led 54-37. Lutheran West’s Jayson Levis, who is averaging just under 20 points per game this season, was finally able to get going in the fourth. He knocked down 2 three-pointers in the final frame that extended his point total to 14 for the game. The combination of size, strength, and skill for the Falcons proved to be too much for the Longhorns. Jesse McCulloch led Lutheran East to a 68-52 victory, totaling 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Remainder of the Season
After suffering just their 2nd loss of the season, Lutheran West will take on Archbishop Hoban and Cuyahoga Heights next weekend. The Longhorns are the #1 seed for their region in D2 for the State Tournament. They will await the winner of Buckeye and Firelands in round 2. With the victory, Lutheran East moved to 15-4 on the season. Next week the Falcons will wrap up their regular season and travel to Akron to take on St. Vincent St. Mary’s in a tough conference battle. For the State Tournament, the Falcons are the #1 seed for the region in D3 and be given a bye for the first round.
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