STROMSBURG – The Cross County boys’ basketball team has faced a significant learning curve this season, and at times even a painful one.
On Friday night with time winding down in their battle with Fullerton, their first ‘W” of the season was in sight.
Cross County got that first win of the year as freshman Caleb Riley and senior Caleb Tweeten combined to hit seven second half treys en route to a 53-47 win in boys non-conference action.
With 39 seconds to play the Cross County team got two free throws from Riley to extend its lead to 51-42, but the Warriors got a conventional 2-point basket from Seth Bridger and a 3-pointer following a steal to trim the margin to 51-47 with eight seconds to play.
In the fourth quarter the Cougars did exactly what they needed to do to keep Fullerton from making a run as they were 11-12 from the free throw line and 5-9 from the field, including two 3-point goals from Tweeten and another from Riley. The freshman was money at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter hitting all four of his attempts, while leading scorer senior Ross Eller was 6-6 and led the team in scoring with 21 points. Riley and Tweeten finished with 13 each.
In the early going it didn’t look good for the Cougars as head coach Dan Riley had to use his first timeout 30 seconds into the game and his second at the 4:39 mark as his team trailed 12-2.
Cross County got back within 12-8, but the Warriors closed on a 7-0 run to lead 19-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cougars got seven points from Eller in the second quarter and pulled to within 23-20 at the end of the third.
With 5:44 to play in the third quarter, Tweeten’s 3-point bomb put the Cougars on top for the first time at 36-34.
Fullerton would draw even at 36-36 and 38-38, but Riley’s trey made it 41-38 with 3:49 to play in the game. His second in the period gave the hosts a 44-40 lead.
Fullerton was led in scoring by Bridger with 18, while Cynan Wetovick added 15.
Cross County (1-9) will look for its second win of the season tonight at Heartland.
Fullerton (5-5) ......................19 4 11 13- 47
Cross County (1-9) ....................8 12 11 20- 53