Hanover's Frankie Turturillo and Hannah Blue and East Chicago's Denitra Brown and Shareese Billups scrap for the loose ball in the third quarter at Hanover Central Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
CEDAR LAKE — After constant analyzing, constant tactical changes and constant constructive criticism of his team’s play, East Chicago coach Eric Kundich looked at Thursday night’s 54-49 nail-biter victory over host Hanover Central as a learning lesson.
Closing out games is king at this point in the season.
“Our goal is to learn how to finish games here as we head to the sectional,” the Cardinals coach said after his team broke a four-game losing streak to a group of talented opponents.
This particular lesson wasn’t one that would come easy. Though EC was aggressive and made a number of moves to get to into the post early and often, that push also resulted in a slew of fouls. By the end of first half, leading 28-26, the Cardinals had 11 fouls. By the end of the contest three Cardinals fouled out and the total spiked to 23 fouls.
“If we play a little bit harder, a little bit earlier, and a little bit smarter, earlier, we could’ve won this game going away,” Kundich said.
Instead, things went down to the very last minute of play with the Wildcats passing it around the horn trying to get out of their five-point hole. The Wildcats also got into foul trouble (finishing with 19), but received a solid effort from career leading scorer Blayr Poston, who had 19 points, with three momentous treys, in her second game back from injury.
“It’s kind of hot potato, but nobody wanted it,” Wildcats coach Doug Nelson said of the last play.
Hanover is still working around the loss of two starters.
After the teams deadlocked on their final of many ties, at 47-47 with 2:17 to go, bench players Alicia Jackson (six points) and Laniah Davis (five points) stepped up in the clutch to contribute a field goal each in the last minute. The Cardinals defense took over.
“Coach always talked about knowing your role and tonight I think Alicia knew her role in coming off the bench as a guard,” Davis boasted of her teammate.