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By JOE SPAULDING
MONROE—Eastside and Churubusco won opening round games of sectional 36 in the class 2A tournament held at Adams Central Tuesday night to advance to Friday night semi-final play against Bishop Luers and Adams Central respectively.
The opening contest was a battle down to the wire with Eastside knocking off Bluffton 42-40 while in the nightcap Busco raced out to an early 12-0 lead in the first period before settling for a 42-27 victory over the Starfires.
The South Adams game was a rough and tumble affair with 42 fouls and 50 turnovers being committed.
After streaking to a substantial lead at 27-7 at the half, Churubusco was faced with a different SA team in the final half, a team that coach Ryan Cunningham said "responded better."
The Starfires held Churubusco to 0-11 in shooting from the field while outscoring the Eagles 12-5 in the period. The highlight for the Stars was a 10-1 run over the final four and a half minutes including back-to-back baskets by Kristen Muselman, the final off a Busco turnover and when Allison Amstutz cashed in two charity tosses with five seconds to play, the Starfires found themselves down by just 32-19.
Churubusco and South Adams each had 6-0 runs in the final stanza with the Eagles going first to double the score at 38-19 but the Stars rallied to get back to within 13 after Sharon Balsiger hit two straight from the foul line for a38-25 count.
With more bodies often on the floor than running up and down the floor, the final four minutes of the game found the Eagles outscoring South Adams 4-2 for the final win.
Friday's night action will start at 6 p.m. between Bishop Luers and Eastside while Adams Central and Churubusco will tangle at approximately 7:30 p.m.