Boys basketball: Chesterton outruns Crown Point
By JOHN O’MALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent February 22, 2013 11:14PM
Chesterton's Cole Teal drives around Crown Point's Nick Jeffirs during the second quarter on Friday, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 24, 2013 6:16AM
CROWN POINT — To say there wasn’t a whole lot of defense played between Chesterton and Crown Point is putting it mildly.
The visiting Trojans and the host Bulldogs entered Friday night’s final Duneland Athletic Conference regular-season game allowing only 51 and 57 points, respectively.
By halftime, it looked more like an AAU game or a run-and-gun summer league affair as Chesterton forged a 42-40 lead, before pulling away for an 85-73 win over the Bulldogs (5-15, 2-12).
Sophomore guard Chris Palombizio scored 14 of his team-high 21 points in the second half to lead Chesterton (12-8, 8-6) to its third straight win.
“To score 85 points, we really moved the ball well,’’ Palombizio said. “Cole (Teal) did a nice job and found me real well. We can score. It was a lot of fun. Then again, at the same time we’ve got to play better defense. They shouldn’t score 73 points on us.’’
Donnie Johnson came off the bench to score 17, including 15 in the second half and 10 in the final period.
Cole Teal (13), Tom Holba (12) and Jacob Andert (11) also scored in double figures for the Trojans.
“I thought we played a little bit better defense second half,’’ Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. “It was up and down in the first half -- that’s not to our advantage. That’s not our strength. You can get caught up in it as a coach. There wasn’t a lot of defense going on and we worked on defense all week. That was disappointing. There’s two ways to win a game and tonight we outscored them.’’
Additionally, the Trojans intended to at least slow down the track meet.
“We slowed the tempo down second half more to where we wanted it,’’ Peller said.
Chesterton scored 13 of the game’s first 15 points to take a 13-2 lead, firing-up CP coach Clint Swan in the process.
Swan’s “words’’ of encouragement seemed to shake something loose as the ‘Dogs fought back and made things interesting, before the Trojans pulled away in the latter stages of the third quarter.
When asked about Chesterton’s unusual lackluster defensive play, Palombizio emphasized the importance of making sure that’s better by the time the Michigan City Sectional rolls around next week.
“We’re going to be working hard on the court in practice (today),’’ Palombizio said. “Coach talked about it in the locker room. The way we played defense is unacceptable. We all know that. We need to play much better defense than that if we want to win at sectionals.’’
The way Chesterton started the game -- scoring 27 points and making 11 of 17 field goals the first period -- pointed to an offensive showdown.
“I think the game got that way because they hit so many shots early,’’ Swan said. “I think that kind of put the onus on us to score in order to keep up with them. What you had in that situation was two teams that couldn’t stop one another.
“They (Trojans) are great offensively -- as potent as anyone in our league at the offensive end of the floor. They’re very hard to guard and they have a lot of weapons. They made some really tough shots. They’re really playing well at the right time.’’
Crown Point was led by Tom Bardeson’s 21 points, while Brett Barclay (16), Nick Jeffirs (13) and Josh Berquist (12) also finished in double figures.