Boys basketball: Valparaiso fights off Portage
By Nick Nochevich Post-Tribune correspondent December 7, 2012 11:34PM
Updated: January 9, 2013 6:12AM
PORTAGE — Though the game ended in defeat for Portage, it appeared evident Friday night that Portage basketball is back. Valparaiso had its hands full throughout the game but managed to pull away late for the 53-43 win.
Valparaiso (3-1, 1-1) saw a much stronger Portage team than in the past few years, prompting its coach to praise the work of the Indians.
“Portage is for real, (coach) Rick (Snodgrass) has done a great job with some young, talented kids that are only going to continue to improve,” said Valparaiso coach Joe Otis.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle with Valparaiso managing offensive spurts at times. But Portage had an answer each time and kept its deficit at 23-21 at the half.
The third quarter was predominantly the same as the first two, with both teams battling. Valparaiso held onto a slim lead until junior Justin Osburn hit a 3-pointer as the clock sounded to make it a 39-34 game.
That shot seemed to be the spark Valparaiso was looking for. The Vikings maintain that lead throughout the fourth quarter, mainly on their free-throw shooting that accounted for 26 of Valparaiso’s 53 points on the night. The Vikings were 26 of 33 from the free-throw line with Boetel leading the way with 16 points.
Portage was led by sophomore Jordan Collazo who matched Boetel with 16 points as well.
Portage (3-1, 1-1) though suffered its first loss of the season, sees a bright future for their basketball program.
“We have improved as a team and our kids are starting to believe that they can play with some of the others in the conference. And though they are disappointed with the loss, we’ll continue to work hard and stay in our one day and one game at a time approach,” Snodgrass said.