Robinson doesn’t crack under pressure from Munster
February 28, 2012 11:58PM
]Lake Central junior Mike Miklusak puts up a shot in traffic against Munster during their opening round sectional game at West Side High School Tuesday, February 28, 2012, in Gary, Ind. Lake Central defeated Munster 65-55. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2012 8:17AM
GARY — The tomahawk two-handed dunk with 10 seconds left came with a gotcha smile and a little extra hang on the rim for Glenn Robinson III. Just a smidgen longer.
Robinson had earned that extra millisecond of rest above the rim.
Make no mistake about Lake Central’s 66-56 victory over Munster Tuesday in the opening round of the West Side Sectional.
This game was all about Robinson. Oh sure, the box score says Tye Wilburn and Mike Miklusak each led the Indians with 16 points.
But it was Robinson who refused to be frustrated by the Mustangs’ smothering box-and-two defense that was designed to turn him and Tyler Wideman into mush.
The big dog let everyone else eat. He didn’t worry about himself. He couldn’t. He had no choice. The set-up was on for him the second he got off the bus.
Robinson was cool. The big dog played the role of a smooth decoy, dishing up tasty passes.
“I’m not a selfish guy,” he said. “Those guys can score.”
Said Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic, who has sat and watched gimmick defenses and double teams on Robinson all season: “That was as exaggerated as we’ve seen all season.”
The worst thing Robinson could’ve done was to crack — even once — and give the Mustangs, a smart, opportunistic bunch, an opening. When Munster smells blood, the Mustangs will not let go.
Their game plan was built off the residue of last year when Robinson scored 31 of the Indians’ 53 points in a one-point overtime loss to Munster on the same floor in the same sectional. It was the one point he didn’t score that ate away at Robinson. He missed a free throw in the final seconds that would’ve kept the game alive.
Robinson never did crack. He just waited. And waited, knowing with full confidence that his teammates would find a way to score.
LC seized the momentum in the second half when Taylor Lehnert and Mike Miklusak each hit 3-pointers out of the locker room, tying the game at 32.
The Indians had looked confused and unsure of themselves operating mostly without Robinson involved in offense in the first half.
Those two quick buckets — the moment that the team seemed to be waiting for — turned the faucet on for the other options.
Wilburn, who had missed badly on a couple of 3-pointers in the first half and who couldn’t squeeze through an opening in the lane on his drives, suddenly found his range and his confidence. Wilburn made two big 3-pointers and he started to break down the Mustangs defense with his penetration. Taylor Lenhart scored nine of his 13 in the second half.
For the most part, Robinson just watched on offense, with the long sticky arms of the Mustangs’ defense blanketing him like a swarm of locusts.
It was all he could do. It was the best thing he could do for his teammates. For some great players, ceding total control is impossible.
For Robinson, it was the only way his team was going to get to Friday and a date with East Chicago.
The dunk with 10 seconds left — his seventh and eighth points — allowed him to vent privately.
“Payback,” he said referring to the loss last year.
It was a sweet evening for Robinson, who helped Milausnic celebrate his 100th win as a coach. It was mostly a Lake Central crowd. Plenty of eyes in the crowd from Gary were rooting for Robinson, who was born here and who knows well the legacy of his father, Glenn Jr.
Robinson III has big shoulders. He’d like to see how far he can carry this team on them.