Boys basketball: Noll holds off Marquette in GSSC contest
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or email@example.com January 4, 2013 11:28PM
Updated: February 6, 2013 6:14AM
HAMMOND — Tyreon Gates had one thought in mind after he rebounded a missed free throw by Larry Crisler with 20.8 seconds left.
Get his defender off his feet and get the shot off.
“I knew he was going to go for it,” he said. “That’s why I went for the pump fake.”
The ploy worked. Desperate for a stop, Gates got Ryan Fazekas to jump. Gates quickly filled his space in the air, right around Fazekas’ shoulder. The whistle blew, Gates threw the ball up. It hit backboard, touched the right side of the rim and curled in.
Big-time play in a big-time game that was full of big-time plays.
The 61-56 victory for the Warriors over Michigan City Marquette on Friday was never easy for the Warriors.
Gates’ free throw made it 59-54, giving the Warriors just enough breathing room to relax.
For the Warriors, who are now 8-0, it was a test they fully expected. Marquette is one of the best Class 1A teams in the state.
Fazekas, a 6-8 sophomore forward with an offer from Valparaiso University, and Jasmin Bieberovic, a hulking 6-8 center, presented a special set of problems for Noll.
That was particularly true of Bieberovic, who finished 11 points. The Warriors couldn’t play in front of him or behind him.
“He’s a big kid,” Noll coach Drew Trost said.
Conversely, both Gates and Larry Crisler, who finished with 13 and 15 points respectively, exploited the Blazers’ defensively, both inside and outside.
The biggest problem for Marquette, though, was a zone defense that allowed Noll to make 4 of 6 from 3-point range in the second quarter.
Matt Sandoval started the barrage with a 3 that made it 18-12. The Blazers, however, didn’t back down. They scored seven straight points, taking a 19-18 lead after Fazekas hit a 10-foot step-back jumper. Another 3-pointer by Sandoval made it 21-19 Noll. The Warriors led 33-30 at halftime after the two teams essentially traded baskets.
Noll expanded its lead to nine in the fourth quarter before the Blazers were able to chip away. They had a chance to tie the game when Bieberovic made one inside and got fouled but he missed the free throw with 3:19 left.
Blazers coach Donovan Garletts said he was proud of the way his team fought.
“That was a heckuva game,” he said. “A great game for fans.”