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Lake Central tops CP again

Crown Point's BraxtRice works under basket guarded by Lake Central's Tye Wilburn during first quarter Friday Crown Point. | Scott

Crown Point's Braxton Rice works under the basket guarded by Lake Central's Tye Wilburn during the first quarter on Friday, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

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Lake Central 60, Crown PoinT 52

LAKE CENTRAL (7-4, 6-2) 12 - 13 - 22 - 13 == 60

CROWN POINT (4-7, 2-6) 4 - 20 - 15 - 13 = 52

1-11-13 DAC in Crown Point

LAKE CENTRAL (60) Tye Wilburn 2-2-7, Mike Miklusak 2-2-7, Joe Bannister 3-0-7, Robert Ryan 1-1-3, Tyler Ross 4-3-11, Tyler Wideman 11-1-25, Cory Dickelman 0-0-0, Chris Tuskan 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23 (11-13) 60.

CROWN POINT (52) Braxton Rice 4-0-8, Bret Barclay 4-0-9, Nick Jeffirs 4-3-11, Tommy Bardeson 4-7-17, Noah Burkholder 2-0-5, Josh Berquist 0-2-2, PJ Phelps 0-0-0, Alex Nickla 0-0-0, Rade Kukobat 0-0-0. 18 (12-19) 52.

FREE THROWS: LC (11-15, 73.3%) Wideman 2-4, Wilburn 3-4, Miklusak 2-2 Ryan 1-2, Ross 3-3; CROWN POINT (12-19, 63.2%) Bardeson 7-8, Jeffirs 2-5, Berquist 2-4, Kukobat 1-2.

REBOUNDS: LC (25) Ross 6, Wideman 6, Miklusak 4, Wilburn 3, Bannister 2, Dickelman, Burvan, Ryan, Tuskan; CP (22) Jeffirs 7, Rice 4, Barclay 4, Bardeson 3, Berquist 2, Kukobat 2, Phelps.

ASSISTS: LC (16) Miklusak 5, Wilburn 4, Bannister 3, Ross 2, Ryan, Dickelman; CP (10) Bardeson 5, Burkholder 3, Nickla, Berquist.

FOULED OUT: CP (1) Josh Berquist (4th Q) :31 left.

3-GOALS: LC (3) Tyler Wideman, Mike Miklusak, Joe Bannister; CP (4) Tommy Bardeson 2, Bret Barclay, Noah Burkholder.

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CROWN POINT — For more than three quarters Friday night, you got the feeling that favored Lake Central was allowing sub.-500 Crown Point to stay close in this Duneland Athletic Conference rematch.

LC led 7-0 and 12-4 but the Bulldogs (4-7) came back. The Indians helped force 10 first-half Bulldog turnovers. But CP came back to 25-24 at halftime.

LC center Tyler Wideman scored an eye-opening 16 points in the third period, but again Crown Point came back, trailing just 51-48 and 54-51 with 2:31 to play.

But the better team won. Lake Central scored six in as row in the final three minutes to top the Bulldogs for the second time this season, this one a 60-51 decision in front of a small but lively Friday night crowd.

CP, as it has many times this season, put up a good fight, especially at the defensive end. But the Bulldogs have lost three home games by fewer than 10 points and it’s hard to find any consolation.

“They made plays when they needed to,” said CP coach Clint Swan. “Wideman’s a great, great player. The biggest thing we tried to do was pressure the guards so they couldn’t get the ball to him. You’ve got to take away his possessions. Once he gets his hands on the ball he’s awfully efficient. Once he turns that strong shoulder, he’s awfully tough.”

Wideman’s 16 third quarter points cracked a CP defense that had allowed only 5 first half points. But it was LC’s play on the perimeter that decided the game.

Junior forward Tyler Ross had 11 points, three steals and two assists, both to Wideman. He sparked the third quarter scoring just as much as the big center did.

In the final two minutes, Tye Wilburn, who’d been quiet all night, controlled the ball and sank 4-for-4 from the line. Wilburn, Joe Bannister and Robert Ryan, all 5-foot-10 guards, were too quicker for CP’s bigger players.

“In the third quarter, our guys did a good job of finding (Wideman),” said LC coach Dave Milausnic, who didn’t go in at halftime and demand that his guard start feeding the ball to his 6-foot-7, 245-pound center.

“It’s always tough saying he ball HAS to go inside. Turnovers tend to happen. I think you just have to be conscious of squaring up to the basket and not just dribbling. When we struggled in the first half, we were just catching and dribbling. I think we had some of our better possessions of the season in the third quarter.”

LC’s Ross, a 6-foot-4 junior in his rookie season on the varsity, is no stranger to feeding the post despite his size.

“He’s used to playing facing the basket,” said Milausnic. “He’s a late bloomer (growth wise) and he’s doing what we need him to do for the team.”

Wideman, who may have had his best all-around game of the season, agreed.

“Ross and the other guys did a good job of getting the ball inside,” the LC junior said after the game. “Made it easy for me. I don’t know what happened at halftime but I just came out with a lot of energy.

Wideman blocked five shots as CP continually took the ball inside aggressively.

“I just had good timing tonight,” Tyler said. “It’s good to get two wins over somebody in the DAC. Everybody knows everybody. A lot of the guys on the Crown Point team know guys on our team. That’s how a lot of us are in the DAC, period.”

Crown Point is still a little unbalanced at the offensive end. Most plays end up with the ball in the hands of Bardeson because the 6-foot-5 guard is the only player they have who is strong and confident enough to create scoring chances against good defense.

The Bulldogs still have time to create a better offensive flow and they do have a lot of 6-foot-5 players.

They don’t have the lead guard who can get everyone the ball where they want and need it. Not yet.

CP’s switching defenses keep them in the game right now.

“I thought we had a great defensive half,” said Swan. “We gave up too many drives in the second half. But the defense we played in the first half gave us a chance to win in the second half.”

DOG NOTES: Crown Point did rally to top Portage 57-53 earlier last week. Trailing 56-50 at halftime, the Bulldogs rallied behind Tommy Bardeson’s 20 points and 17 from Nick Jeffirs.

Portage (7-7, 2-6) got 22 from sophomore Jordan Simpson, who posted 20 of his 22 points in the first half.

Bardeson, a 6-foot-5 senior, guarded Simpson in the second half and kept him under control while CP came from behind.

Bret Barclay added 10 points for the Bulldogs, who were 19 of 26 from the foul line.

It hasn’t been the season CP has wanted so far but free-throw shooting is not the problem. CP was 12 of 19 against Lake Central, putting them at 141 of 189 from the line for the year, a top caliber 74.6 percent.

Crown Point’s Zach Plesac is no longer with the team.

Plesac, a 6-foot-2 guard who started last season, came out for the team late this year and averaged 8.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in seven games.

CP’s search for a true lead guard will center around sophomore Josh Berquist, who started at the point when the season began.

“We all know Josh is a very good player,” said Swan. “The coaches know it. His teammates know it. But sometimes Josh doesn’t totally believe it. We just need him to keep getting better and believing in himself.”



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