Chesterton Tribune


CHS Boys fall in DAC opener at Merrillville

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They're coming.

They're not there yet, but make no mistake, it's going to happen, and sooner rather than later.

If indeed statements can be made in defeats, Chesterton issued one in Saturday's 69-62 Duneland Athletic Conference loss to Merrillville.

The defending sectional champion Pirates start five seniors and are as athletic as all get out, yet there were the Trojans, with two sophomores and two juniors in their starting lineup, trading swings with Merrillville for 32 minutes, ready and willing to get involved in a track meet.

Ready and willing, but not totally able.

The frenetic pace also exacted somewhat of a toll on Chesterton (1-1, 0-1), which committed 15 turnovers against the Pirates' defensive pressure, lost trips down court that turned into pivotal baskets at the other end.

"The turnover situation was the difference in the game," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "We panicked on some of our passes. You can't give a team like Merrillville extra possessions. We can't simulate that (pressure) in practice. If we have an advantage, we want to take it. We just have to learn to stay a little more poised. There's a fine line there."

The Trojans trailed most of the way, but they never let Merrillville (3-0, 1-0) relax. On the brink of getting knocked out more than once, Chesterton kept coming back, buoyed in the second half by the play of sophomores Chris Palombizio (16 points) and Matt Holba (14 points, 14 rebounds). The tireless Holba, who had a spectacular one-handed putback dunk wiped out by a foul call in the first half, threw one down on a drive and converted a pair of putbacks to keep the Trojans within 40-35 in the third quarter.

"Matt's got such great poise for a young kid," Peller said. "He understands what needs to be done. His motor just keeps running. Chris didn't shoot the ball well from the perimeter, but to his credit, he started taking it inside."

Chesterton also got 11 points from Cole Teal and 10 from Corey Rusboldt. Peller, who used 11 players, noted the effort of Jacob Andert (five points, three rebounds, two steals) off the bench.

"We battled," Peller said. "We hung in there with them. It could've been over, but we fought back. We're close. I can see it. We're getting better. I think we're going to be in the upper tier of (DAC) teams this year. We're going to be competitive each game. We've just got to win a couple of these on the road and keep our home court."

Merrillville put four players in double figures, led by Jelani Pruitt (16). He was backed by Zoran Talley (14), Jake Raspopovich (12 points, nine assists) and B.J. Jenkins (12 points).

"I thought Chesterton did a good job handling our pressure. They got a lot of easy baskets," Pirates coach T.J. Lux said. "Chesterton's a good team. They've got some really good, highly-skilled players. Holba's so active, so big. He's multi-talented. Palombizio's really improved his ball handling so much, he's a more versatile threat, and Teal might be their best player. We know Chesterton's going to be right there at the end."

Merrillville 69, Chesterton 62


Chesterton (10-21-14-17)

Matt Holba 7-15 0-0 14, Chris Palombizio 6-13 4-7 16, Cole Teal 4-10 1-2 11, Corey Rusboldt 5-7 0-0 10, Donnie Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Jake Wasielewski 1-1 0-0 2, Avery Beeks 1-2 0-0 2, Jacob Andert 2-6 0-0 5, Andrew Ralph 0-0 0-0 0, Tevin Dilosa 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Roeske 0-0 0-0 0. 27-57 5-9 62.

Merrillville (18-18-19-14)

Jake Raspopovich 3-6 5-6 12, B.J. Jenkins 4-13 2-2 12, Zoran Talley 6-12 0-2 14, Isaiah Wilson 1-3 3-4 5, Jelani Pruitt 6-15 4-7 16, Breon Hill 1-1 0-0 2, Darion Williams 0-1 0-0 0, K.V. Myricks 0-0 0-0 0 Jalen Wilbert 2-3 2-2 6, Jamard Owens 1-2 0-0 2. Totals -- 24-56 16-23 69.

3-point field goals: Chesterton 3 (Teal 2, Andert 1); Merrillville 5 (Jenkins 2, Talley 2, Raspopovich 1). Leaders -- Rebounds: Holba (Ch) 14; Pruitt 8 (M). Assists: Raspopovich 9 (M). Steals: Andert (Ch) 2; Talley (M) 3. Team fouls: Chesterton 11; Merrillville 8. Fouled out: None. Records: Chesterton 1-1 (0-1 DAC); Merrillville 3-0 (1-0).

Junior Varsity

Merrillville 41, Chesterton 23

The Chesterton junior varsity basketball team fell to 1-1 on the year with a 41-23 loss at Merrillville.

Niles Dilosa led the Trojans with seven points and nine rebounds. Rhyss Lewis added six points, while Jimmy McGowan tallied five points.


Posted 12/3/2102