St. Paul tops C.S. Lewis Academy to keep its playoff hopes alive, then the Watchmen lose at home to Crosshill Christian

February hasn’t exactly gone according to plan for C.S. Lewis Academy.

The Watchmen had won seven of their last nine games entering its Feb. 4 contest versus St. Paul and a critical rematch versus Crosshill Christian, with whom they shared second place in the Casco League, was looming six days later.

Despite being routed by the Watchmen in their first meeting, the Bucks have been a different team over the second half of the league schedule and proved that again, upsetting C.S. Lewis SETH GORDON - Skying - Joseph Brooks floats a shot over a defender for two of his team-high 14 points during C.S. Lewis Academy's 65-50 loss to Crosshill Christian Monday night. The loss eliminated the Watchmen from contention for the No. 2 seed at the Casco League district tournament next week.

The Watchmen still had a chance to reclaim second place if they could avenge their loss to the Eagles, but struggled offensively against Crosshill’s zone defense and fell 65-50 at home Monday night.

“We had the right defensive game plan, but no game plan is going to help you too much if you only put 50 on the board,” head coach Vince Swagerty said. “So we’ve got to work hard and continue to attack.”

In both games, C.S. Lewis’ opponents jumped out to early leads, with St. Paul building a 15-8 advantage after one quarter, but the Watchmen pulled to within 21-18 by halftime.

A major factor in the game was the Bucks’ ability to withstand full-court pressure, which was something they couldn’t manage in the first matchup.

The game continued to be a one-possession affair midway into the fourth quarter, but CSLA encountered a setback when Matt Martin left the game after tweaking his knee while attempting to block a shot.

St. Paul proceeded to pump up its lead, forcing the Watchmen to foul. The Bucks slammed the door on the game by going 18-for-21 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Ryan Soumokil led all scorers with 21 points.

The Bucks (8-10, 5-6 Casco) needed a win over a team above them in the standings to stay in the race for the final playoff spot, so the victory was sweet, especially after St. Paul dug itself such a big hole by starting off 2-6 in the league.

SPHS coach Vince Drago’s team played at Crosshill Tuesday (results unavailable), will host Willamette Valley Christian Wednesday and then close the season in a potential showdown Friday at fourth-place Jewell.

“The kids were pretty excited,” Drago said. “We still have a ways to go. This week, however it unfolds, is probably going to be chaos at best.”

With the loss to St. Paul, CSLA needed to beat Crosshill to have any chance of finishing in second place, but it wasn’t to be.

The Eagles (13-5, 9-3) jumped out to an 8-0 lead and hit six three-pointers en route to posting 21 points in the opening quarter, but the game slowed down in the second quarter.

The Watchmen were energized in the third, finishing the quarter on an 11-4 run to make it 44-40, but Crosshill answered with seven straight points to open the fourth.

C.S. Lewis still didn’t yield, fighting to within five points at 51-46 with 4:25 to play, but a triple by Felton Talmage two minutes later pushed the lead back to 11 and all but sealed the victory for the visitors.

Joseph Brooks finished with 14 points, while Evan Hager and Martin scored 13 apiece. Defensively, the Watchmen could not stop Ryan DeJaeger, who scored 27 points.

“We’ll play them again in the playoffs and I think we have a good chance of beating them if we get our defense settled,” Hager said.

C.S. Lewis (13-9, 7-5) can secure a rematch in the district playoffs by winning its last two games, including Wednesday’s tilt at Perrydale and at Falls City Thursday.

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