Boys basketball: West Side’s defense keeps East Chicago guessing
EAST CHICAGO — The discomfort factor was evident from tip-off for East Chicago.
West Side’s switching defenses (mostly zone), the Cougars’ quick hands and their fight for the ball were just too much for the Cardinals to process — at least on this night.
The end result was pretty much a wire-to-wire 53-40 victory for the Cougars on Thursday.
It was a game that West Side coach Murray Richards called one of the best of the year for his team.
Richards, John Boyd’s defensive guru at Michigan City, where he was an assistant for three seasons, was on top of his game, too.
He had his kids playing, at various times, a 3-2 zone, a 1-2-2 zone and, occasionally, man-to-man defense.
The switches never allowed the Cardinals to get comfortable for an extended period of time. They had spurts of good play but nothing beyond that.
“You could see they were taking their time trying to figure it out,” Richards said of the Cardinals.
That’s just the kind of hesitation West Side likes. The Cougars are perfectly capable of trapping in the corners out of the 1-2-2 or swarming to a ball dumped in the middle.
Hyron Edwards, the Cardinals’ do-everything point guard, likes to penetrate to the basket. He tried to several times but never once got inside off the drive. Edwards finished with 11 points. That total included three 3-pointers.
East Chicago coach Abe Brown gave credit to the Cougars defense.
He also felt his team missed a lot of shots.
Twice, in the third quarter, they moved a nine-point lead down to four points only to see it balloon back up.
“Even when we got it to four, we were missing shots we could’ve made,” he said. “It was just one of those nights.”
West Side jumped ahead 16-6 after the first quarter. A basket by Jare Glover with 45.3 seconds left gave them a 10-point lead going into the second quarter.
A 3-pointer by Edwards to start the second quarter cut the Cougars’ lead to seven. Another 3 by Edwards made it a four-point lead for West Side.
The Cardinals, though, couldn’t consistently crack the sticky zone defense that the Cougars used.
They took a 28-19 lead into the half when Curtis Lee made three free throws with four-tenths of a second left. Lee made the shots after he was fouled Martayveus Carter on a 3-point attempt.
That was a costly mistake for them. They never got closer than four.
Arnold Wilson led West Side with 19 points.