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Boys basketball: Merrillville nets dramatic win over Lake Central

Updated: February 21, 2013 6:57AM



ST. JOHN — The game was tied after three quarters. In the end, Merrillville topped Lake Central 60-57. The drama that unfolded in the final period? Enough for an entire game.

Lake Central (8-5, 6-3 DAC) jumped out to a 54-47 by the middle of the quarter, as the Pirates missed six straight free throws.

“We thrive on adversity,” Merrillville (11-1, 9-0 DAC) coach TJ Lux said. “The drama that we create … we have guys who love it. It allows us to focus more on what we need to do.”

Two minutes later, with LC ahead 54-51, Jalen Wilbert picked off an Indians pass and raced the other way. He was fouled by Indians guard Robert Ryan, and — after a brief officials’ discussion — it was ruled an intentional foul, which LC head coach Dave Milausnic called “baffling.”

“I really haven’t seen one where the guy is in front of the ball,” he said. “That was a big game-changer.”

Four straight Merrillville free throws put the Pirates ahead 55-54 with 1:15 remaining.

As the clock wound down to 30 seconds, LC guard Tye Wilburn flew through the Pirates’ defense for what turned out to be a three-point play.

On the other end of the court, BJ Jenkins stepped past an Isaiah Wilson screen, caught a Jake Rasopovich pass, and drilled a 3 for the game-winning points — but the drama wasn’t done yet.

A Lake Central turnover and a free throw by Pruitt — who had a game-high 22 points — put the Pirates up 59-57 with 7.4 seconds remaining.

Inbounding from under his own basket, LC’s Mike Miklusak fired a court-long pass into the hands of 6-foot-7 Tyler Wideman. But before his shot had a chance to fall, Wideman was whistled for traveling, and soon after, Milausnic was whistled for a technical foul.

Raspopovich then hit one final free throw for the last point of the game.



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