Senior Deven Cobb buries a three. (Inji Kang’19/Media editor)
Following victories over Wellington and Watkins Memorial, the CA boys basketball team cemented itself in program history, running Whitehall off the floor to clinch the league title outright for only the second time since 1989. The Vikings will blaze into sectionals with a 7-game winning streak in tow.
Academy hosted Wellington on Monday, February 11, and took care of business, 62-50. The Vikes were in control from the jump, converting their suffocating defense into fast breaks. Senior Hayden Compton scored 7 points in the opening period, and CA raced out to an 18-3 lead.
The Jaguars began to wake up offensively, but continued to struggle with stopping the Vikings on the other end. Junior Carter Warstler tallied 9 of his game-high 17 points in the second quarter, and Academy owned a 32-16 advantage at the break.
Warstler picked up right where he had left off to begin the third period, until Compton and fellow senior Dorrian Moultrie took the reins of the Vikes’ attack. Compton had 14 points on the night, and Moultrie finished with 11. The Jaguars could only watch as CA extended its cushion to 21.
Though Wellington rallied in the fourth quarter, it was too late, and the Vikings secured the win.
Academy then traveled to Watkins Memorial on Tuesday, February 12, and pulled away from the Warriors, 65-44. Moultrie scored the first 5 points for the Vikes, and CA held a 17-11 lead after one.
Watkins Memorial swung back. A pair of long-distance bombs from senior Chris Boyle helped the Vikings stay in front heading into the locker rooms, but the advantage had been chopped down to 3.
Academy gave itself some breathing room in the third quarter, but the Warriors wouldn’t go away. The Vikes took a 47-39 lead into the final period.
CA dominated the last 8 minutes, as the Vikings put the clamps on Watkins Memorial. Boyle’s fifth deep ball and three straight free throws from Moultrie put the game out of reach, as Academy sealed another victory. Boyle finished with 18 points, and Moultrie added 14.
The Vikes returned home on Friday, February 15, for a battle with Whitehall. Senior Night festivities preceded the contest, as Chris Boyle, Deven Cobb, Hayden Compton, Dalyn DeCree, Malcolm Klingbeil, Dorrian Moultrie, and Evan Scott were honored for their contributions to the program.
CA hadn’t been alone at the top of the MSL food chain since 2008, but the Vikings wouldn’t be denied on this night, as they pummeled the Rams, 67-50.
Behind a blistering start from Cobb, Academy grabbed the momentum early. Cobb scored 8 of his career-high 11 points in the opening minutes, and the Vikes held a 20-13 advantage after the first quarter.
With Whitehall on the ropes in the second period, CA delivered more blows. DeCree scored 6 straight points for the Vikings, and Academy’s lead ballooned to 18 at the half. DeCree finished with 11.
The Rams tried to claw their way back, but the Vikes wouldn’t have it. Warstler knocked down a floater and a corner three on consecutive possessions, as CA took a 51-30 advantage into the fourth quarter. Warstler had 10 points on the night.
With the game in hand, the Vikings coasted to the finish line and celebrated their outright league title.
Academy posted an impressive 17-4 regular season record, and the Vikes have won 14 of their last 15 games. As the #4 seed, CA will host #21 seed Elgin in the sectional semifinals on Monday, February 25.