Boys basketball: Valparaiso wins defensive battle over Chesterton
By MIKE HUTTON 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org December 21, 2012 11:26PM
Chesterton's Matt Holba tangles with Valparaiso's Justin Osburn and Brandon Nicholas for the rebound in the first quarter at Chesterton High School Friday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 23, 2013 6:13AM
CHESTERTON — For one brief rollicking run, it looked like Joe Otis was coaching LaPorte High School back in about 2000.
Those were the free-wheeling days of yesteryear for the Valparaiso coach, who actually had a bunch of teams that never met a shot they didn’t think they could make when he was the Slicers coach.
He was the offensive guru — the one guy who believed his team could essentially outscore opponents.
Times have changed. The Vikings are defensive oriented, molded from a plan carved out primarily by their assistants.
It works for them.
But the four straight 3-pointers they hit Friday in a third quarter run that essentially helped them to a 55-48 victory over Chesterton was like nostalgia for Otis, who won his 350th game.
“That’s fun, isn’t it?” Otis said.
Sure was for the Vikings faithful.
The rotation went like this. Trailing 26-24 with 4:30 left, John Mosser hit one from the top of the key. He hit another one from just about the same spot 30 seconds later, giving the Vikings a 30-28 lead. Then Brody Wilson stepped in and hit a pair in a 20-second span. The last one gave the Vikings, who gave up a 3-pointer and a couple of layups, a 36-31 lead.
Mosser said the energy he and Wilson have is contagious.
“We just feed off each other,” he said.
The mini burst was an aberration in a game that otherwise was a defensive grind.
After the flash and after Wilson came down and rimmed out two more 3-pointers, it was back to beat-each-other-up on defense.
Chesterton coach Tom Peller said that little third-quarter rally by the Vikings, who had trailed all of the first half, was key.
“We just couldn’t get it back after that,” he said.
They weren’t really undone by the third quarter rally. They were suffocated more with a fourth-quarter defensive stand that held Chesterton scoreless for the first 6:03. The Trojans finally broke the drought when Matt Holba scored inside on a drive that made the score 45-38 in the Vikings’ favor with 1:57 left.
The Vikings rode out the victory in the fourth quarter, hitting 13-of-20 from the free-throw line. Valparaiso got it done despite not having Bret Boetel, who Otis called one of the best point guards in the area in the preseason. Boetel quit last week for personal reasons.
In the first half, Chesterton couldn’t separate itself much from Valparaiso. The Trojans’ largest lead was six points — 12-6 — with 3:25 left in the first quarter. The Vikings cut into the lead before the start of the second quarter, getting a bucket by Mosser on a nice spin move inside as the buzzer sounded.
The Trojans extended their lead to 22-15 in the second quarter when Corey Rusboldt made his only basket of the half with just over three minutes left. The Vikings, helped by two steals, rattled off seven straight, tying the game with 55 seconds left on basket by Zach Meyer. A pair of free throws by Jacob Andert gave Chesterton a 24-22 lead going into halftime.