Prep uses all its options to fend off Career

|

Center Paschal Chukwu shoots the ball during a 71-65 win over Career on Thursday. (Photo by Christian Abraham)

Center Paschal Chukwu shoots the ball during a 71-65 win over Career on Thursday. (Photo by Christian Abraham)

Fairfield Prep received its greatest challenge yet, falling behind Career Magnet, 61-58, midway through the fourth quarter on Thursday. But the state’s top-ranked team and lone unbeaten had all the answers.
Center Paschal Chukwu notched 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks despite sitting out nearly five minutes in the second half in foul trouble. After staying in after picking up his third foul with Prep up 42-34 with 5:08 left in the third, the 7-footer was charged with his fourth four minutes later.
Chukwu pleaded with coach Leo Redgate to remain in the game, but his wish wasn’t granted. Clinging to a 46-44 lead, the Jesuits went to a small lineup.
“I told my coach, ‘Please get me in. I’ll slow down with my defense, play light defense,’” Chukwu said.
Redgate didn’t hesitant to keep him on the bench either, after Career took its first lead since the opening quarter.
“Even if they were up by six, Paschal is not the most important thing around our team. He’s a big part of it,” Redgate said.
The senior returned with 5:11 remaining and scored two quick points to knot it 58-58. Career’s Tyreek Perkins responded with a trey to give the Panthers a 61-58 edge, but Prep answered with an 11-3 spurt.
“I thought that was good for him mentally,” the coach said of Chukwu’s bucket off the bench.
Point guard Keith Pettway, who went 15-for-17 from the free-throw line, led all scorers with 25 points. Dave Zielinski contributed nine points, while Thomas Nolan and Ray Featherston each scored eight.
That depth proved pivotal as the Jesuits were once again without star sophomore Ryan Murphy. The swingman’s been out since early January with an ankle injury and may not return anytime soon, according to Redgate.
“Right now I would say it’s 85 percent, 80 percent, that’s he’s not coming back for the rest of the year,” Redgate said. “It was probably 50-50 about a week or two ago.”
The coach added: “It was a really bad injury. To his credit, he was just really focused on trying to get back as soon as possible.”

Leave a Reply