Boys Basketball: Pirates lock up DAC title
By DAVE MELTON Post-Tribune correspondent February 22, 2013 10:14PM
Updated: March 24, 2013 6:16AM
MERRILLVILLE — For one quarter, Portage matched nearly every basket put up by Merrillville.
But a lopsided second quarter quickly turned the scoreboard in the home team’s favor — and the Pirates never looked back.
Merrillville outscored its conference rivals by 11 in the second period, sparking the Pirates to a 74-44 win and clinching the Duneland Conference championship.
“It was another good rebound game,” said Merrillville (17-3, 12-1 DAC) coach TJ Lux, whose Pirates also won 81-49 over Hobart on Tuesday after losing to Valparaiso last Friday. “The guys played have played very well in the last two games — especially defensively.”
With Luke Kizer and Peter Psomadelis out with the flu, and Gage Pearman done for the year with a knee injury, two of Portage’s (10-12, 3-11 DAC) others helped fill the void in the first. Six points from Jordan Simpson and five more from Jordan Collazo had Portage trailing 17-15 after one period.
“Our kids just believed in themselves,” Portage coach Rick Snodgrass said. “We only had five varsity players tonight, so we had to have some of our JV kids step up and help off the bench.”
Merrillville scored the final four points of the first quarter and then took the game over by scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter. Altogether, it was a 15-0 run that put Merrillville ahead 28-15. That lead reached to 53-32 by the end of the third.
“We locked down a lot better and we tracked their shooters,” Lux said. “Our shot selection was pretty good and we just had it going offensively and defensively.”
Lux was especially proud of the 22 assists his team racked up on the 26 field goals they convereted.
“The way we shared the basketball; that was the story for us.,” he said. “When we pass the ball, we have good potential.”
In their final home game, three Pirates reached double figures: Jelani Pruitt (game-high 18 points), BJ Jenkins (15) and Zoran Talley (12).