Fred Mitchell has
coached a lot of basketball games.
But, he had little
trouble remembering 1987 when the Chesterton boys basketball team beat
Valparaiso and Portage on back-to-back nights for a Sectional title.
“We had a good
team,” Mitchell recalled. “It was my 10th year. Probably had three chances
where I thought we might be the best team in the Sectional and didn’t get it
done. We had beat Valpo and Portage earlier in the year.
“I knew we had a
chance, but so did Valpo and Portage.”
The Trojans cruised
to a 70-24 opening round victory over Washington Twp. before beating the
Vikings on their home floor 55-52 in triple overtime. A 40-38 win over
Portage allowed them to cut down the nets.
“We won 17 games
that year,” Mitchell said. “The championship game against Portage was very
similar to Saturday night’s game this year. Low scoring, but never more than
3-4 points difference.”
recognizable name from that Trojan team was Matt Nover who would go on to
play on three Big 10 Championship teams and in a Final Four at IU.
“Matt was in foul
trouble in the championship and sat a lot of the first half,” Mitchell said.
“Matt was a really good post player, like Jake (Wadding) is on this team. He
was a great athlete. He still holds the high jump record at 7-1.”
combination of Nover and Marc Massa were the highlights of the Trojan
offense. Both averaged about 16-17 points per game.
“Massa was a
terrific shooter,” Mitchell said. “We could put them on the same side of the
floor and you couldn’t double on Matt.”
The Trojans also
had the guard combination of Brad Campbell and Matt Killosky, along with the
inside presence of Danny Dickey.
“We played almost
entirely a match-up zone because of our depth,” Mitchell said. “Danny played
in the middle at about 6-4 and had really good instincts. He got his hands
on a lot of passes.”
The lone Trojan to
see significant time that weekend 32 years ago was Mike Bowgren.
“Mike could play
any position,” Mitchell said. “He was a really smart player. We only played
about six guys. That’s a difference with this year’s team. Coach Urban can
play 8-10 kids a night if he wants to. And they are so much more athletic
than we were.”
Mitchell was no
newcomer to winning in ’87. He was a freshman at CHS in 1955 when his older
brother Ron won the school’s first Sectional title. And then was around in
1968 when brother Larry won