Crown Point's P.J. Phelps passes the ball during a game against East Chicago on Saturday, January 19, 2013. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
East Chicago 66, CP 56
EAST CHICAGO (8-5) 29 - 9 - 11 - 17 == 66
CROWN POINT (4-9) 19 - 10 - 9 - 18 == 56
1-19-13 - at Crown Point
EAST CHICAGO (66) Tre Quan Burnett 4-1-19, Hyron Edwards 7-3-20, Jalen Alston 0-0-0, Anfernee Brown 5-3-15, Jeremiah Ochoa 3-6-12, Kenneth Lloyd 1-1-3, Damien Jefferson 2-1-5, Jalen Alston 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23 (13-24) 66.
CROWN POINT (56) Alex Nickla 3-2-9, PJ Phelps 1-1-3, Noah Burkholder 2-1-5, Tom Bardeson 7-7-22, Bert Barclay 1-2-4, Nick Jeffirs 5-3-13, Josh Berquist 0-0-0, Rade Kukobat 0-0-0, Braxton Rice 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19 (16-21) 56.
FREE THROWS: EC (13-25, 54.2%) Lloyd 1-4, Clark 2-3, Ochoa 6-8, Brown 3-6, Alston 0-2, Burnett 1-1; CP (16-21, 76.2%) Nickla 2-2, Phelps 1-2, Burkholder 1-1, Bardeson 7-7, Jeffirs 3-7, Barclay 2-2.
REBOUNDS: EC (27) Alston 8, Ochoa 5, Clark 5, Burnett 4, Brown 3, Lloyd, Jefferson; CP (29) Phelps 7, Jeffirs 6, Nickla 5, Barclay 3, Burkholder 3, Bardeson 3, Kukobat 2.
ASSISTS: EC (13) Brown 3, Edwards 3, Ochoa 3, Alston 2, Burnett 2; CP (9) Bardeson 5, Nickla 2, Phelps, Rice.
FOULED OUT: CP 1) Alex Nickla (4th Q) :45 left.
3-GOALS: EC (7) Hyron Edwards 4, Anfernee Brown 2, Jefferson; CP (2) Alex Nickla, Tommy Bardeson.
Michigan City 43, CP 42
Michigan City (4-7) 15 - 12 - 9 - 7 == 42
CROWN POINT (4-8) 17 - 13 - 8 - 7 == 43
1-18-13 - at Michigan City
MICHIGAN CITY (42) A’Seante Clark 4-1-10, Corey Workman 0-0-0, Lucas Daurer 2-2-6, JaVarrie Oliver 4-0-8, Keenan Simmns 5-8-18, Michael Smallwood 0-0-0.
TOTA:S: 15 (12-15) 43
CROWN POINT (43) Tommy Bardeson 7-5-21, Noah Burkholder 1-2-4, PJ Phelps 1-0-2, Nick Jeffirs 0-3-3, Bret Barclay 2-2-26, Josh Berquist 0-2-2, Alex Nickla 0-0-0, Braxton Rice 0-2-2, Rade Kukobat 0-0-0 TOTALS: 12 (16-20) 42.
FREE THROWS: MC (16-20, 80%) Bardeson 5-7, Burkholder 2-3, Rice 2-2, Jeffirs 3-4, Barclay 2-2, Berquist 2-2; CROWN POINT (12-15 80%) Daurer 2-2, Clark 1-2, Smallwood 0-1, Simmons 8-9.
3-GOALS: MC (1) A’Seante Clark; CROWN POINT (2) Tommy Bardeson 2.
CROWN POINT — It was a tough weekend for Crown Point.
Not only did the Bulldogs have to play at Michigan City Friday night and East Chicago Saturday afternoon, but they played a tight game and lost 43-42 Friday night. And then, just 16 hours later, the Bulldogs played a tight game and lost 66-56 to the streaking Cardinals.
East Chicago (8-5) scored 29 first quarter points and CP never quite caught up in a Saturday special-starting-time game (there was a dance at CPHS Saturday night) in front of a slim crowd.
EC’s 29 points came with the help of six three-point baskets, including three (and 13 first-quarter points) from sophomore high-flier Hyron Edwards, and two (and 10) from coach’s son and senior Anferenee Brown. CP is 2-8 in their last eight games and all six losses are by 11 points or less.
“That about says it,” said coach Clint Swan. “Brown and Edwards were Brown and Edwards. They finally started missing some shots and then they got some second shots. When we got that under control, we started to gain some ground.”
The Bulldogs’ changing defenses got them back in the game. Down 36-22 and 45-30 in the third quarter, CP crawled back within 49-42 with seven minutes to play and 62-56 with 1:06 left.
But CP, which got 22 from 6-foot-5 senior guard Tommy Bardeson, including 10 in the fourth quarter, didn’t really have another offensive option and could not score in the final minute.
“Sometimes they fake a man-to-man and it’s like a 2-3,” said Edwards, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half of EC’s fifth consecutive victory. “But you just have to keep doing what you’re doing.”
EC coach Abe Brown liked the start, especially on the road.
“It’s about time,” he said. “We have always done that. Hopefully it’s a sign we’re going in the right direction.
“They’re a good team. No. 21 Bardeson is a great player. That’s not the type of team that’s going to roll over and die. Coach Swan is not that kind of coach.
“They made adjustments and we made them as well. They went to a 1-3-1 and a 1-2-2. Thank God we worked on them end eventually we were able to adjust.”
Edwards, a sophomore lead guard, is reportedly already being heavily recruited by Divison I colleges, and it’s easy to see why. He has outstanding speed and balance with a seemingly complete offensive game.
The only obvious knock on him may be temporary. He’s barely 6-feet tall. But he has the skills to be a lead guard, a position where it doesn’t always matter as much how tall you are.
While Edwards may have been tired after he scored 21 in EC’s 93-56 win over Gary Roosevelt Friday night, Crown Point’s Alex Nickla, who also played Friday night, did as good a defensive job on the top scorer as could be expected.
Nickla and CP’s changing defenses limited the EC speedster to just seven points after the first quarter. The Bulldogs may have found a defensive stopper.
“Alex did a very good job,” said Swan. “His defense the last three quarters was absolutely fantastic. He didn’t stop him but he coralled him and he gave us a chance to help.
“We just did something to try to break up their rhythym. East Chicago is a very good team but they haven’t shot like that in the games we scouted.”
So Crown Point is 4-9 with four road games ahead after next Friday’s home matchup with Valparaiso (11-2). The Bulldogs outrebound most opponents and they allow just 56 points a game.
But CP is struggling on offense with 215 turnovers and just 127 assists in the first 13 games, a ratio you cannot win with.
“It’s tough, Swan admits. “We have some guys who aren’t playing with much confidence. We have some guys who will come around. They just haven’t yet. It’s not like we’re playing as well as we’re possibly playing and losing. There’s a lot of room for improvement.
“It’s one of the few times I’m glad we have a double round-robin (14-game Duneland Athletic Conereence league) schedule. We get to go play everyone again and use these games as a measuring stick.
“I still like our team. I still think we have tools. There’s a lot to work with. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle and hopefully we can start to turn this thing around.”
DOG NOTES: CP’s Tommy Bardeson (16.5 per game) scored 22 with five assists and four steals and, even in losing, coach Clint Swan wanted to commend him.
“What was nice about Tommy today was his floor game,” Swan said. “He did a good job. Got everybody involved. Had his head up. He is the focus of everybody’s defense but he only had three turnovers. That’s a pretty good day.”
Crown Point got 22 points from Bardeson but the Bulldogs lost 43-42 Friday night at Michigan City. The Bulldogs lost at home 46-45 to Michigan City on Dec. 14.
Swan praised junior PJ Phelps, who is getting more playing time as the season progresses.
“PJ’s turning into a good little ballplayer for us,” said Swan. “Hopefully he’ll continue to get better because we need him,”
Junior Bulldog forward Bret Barclay didn’t play much in the second half against East Chicago but he was not injured.
“They were very quick, the way they handle the ball,” said Swan. “We had to go to a smaller lineup to match up. That showed up more tonight than it was almost any other time this season. So we had to cycle the ‘bigs’ (taller forwards) in and out to match up.”
The Bullodgs face another double-header weekend this Friday and Saturday when they host Valparaiso and travel to Boone Grove.
CP also has a Portage-Lowell weekend on Feb. 15-16. The back-to-back games simulate the sectional where you would play the semifinals on Friday and the finals on Saturday.
Michigan City has a dream schedule. It plays 12 of 20 games at home and hosts the 4A sectional.
If Michigan City reaches the semistate, it will have played 17 of 25 games on its home floor, the 7,300-seat Michigan City gym.