Chesterton Tribune



Trojan Boys beat Merrillville in Duneland Conference opener

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At the end of the night, that’s what was important, but it felt much bigger.

The Chesterton boys basketball team avenged two blowout losses last year and started Duneland Athletic Conference play with a 64-54 victory over Merrillville on Saturday night.

“This was a big win, no doubt,” Chesterton coach Marc Urban said. “It was a big win for these guys. But it was a big win for this season and to get to 1-0 in the DAC.”

The Trojans knocked down a pair of triples from Tyler Nelson and Jack Eaton for an early 6-5 lead and used an 8-2 run midway through the opening quarter for a 16-11 advantage. Jake Wadding scored six points in the run.

“We had a good mix of hitting some 3’s early and getting the ball to Jake inside,” Urban said. “I thought Travis (Grayson) controlled the tempo early on. He made some really good basketball plays and handled the ball well.”

A triple from Kolton Cardenas to start the second quarter led to a 29-24 halftime break.

“Merrillville is well-coached and they took it to us twice last year,” Urban said. “We had to sit with that all year and try to come up with something. To our kids credit, they got it done tonight.”

Chesterton turned in one of its best quarters of basketball this season after halftime as they held the Pirates to seven points and pushed the lead to 44-31. The highlight came in a 25-footer from Cardenas to end the frame.

“The DAC is going to be really good,” Urban said. “Anybody can beat anybody on a given night. Every night is going to be a battle. You have to be able to take care of games at home.”

The Pirates mounted a charge behind Keon Thompson’s game-high 33 points.

“Keon has improved so much from last year,” Urban said. “You’re never comfortable when the ball is in his hands. He’s really good.”

Wadding (13 rebounds) offset Thompson in the fourth with 12 points of his own on his way to a team-high 28 points.

“Jake is such a dynamic scorer and can score in so many ways,” Urban said. “We tried to play high-low and some four out as well that gives us chances to make plays.”

The Trojans hit on 24-of-43 shots (56 percent) from the field and turned the ball over just 12 times on the night.

“We have some good guards that can all handle the ball when teams start to charge at you in the fourth quarter,” Urban said. “All four of those guys (Eaton, Cardenas, Nelson and Grayson) made plays for us and that’s what we expect them to do.”

Eaton and Nelson each scored nine points in the victory, while Cardenas added eight and Grayson had six. Nick Mullen and Jake Warren both scored two points.

The Trojans return to the court on Tuesday night when they travel to Hobart for a 7 p.m. varsity start.

Chesterton 64, Merrillville 54


Merrillville (15-9-7-23)

Darryon Bandy 1-9 1-2 3, Keon Thompson 13-19 7-7 33, Will Fulton 1-6 0-0 3, Anthony Swims 0-0 0-0 0, Rishard Balkcom 3-8 0-0 6, Kolby Ford 0-0 0-0 0, Dorian Harris 1-3 2-2 5, Aahric Whitehead 0-1 0-0 0, Lavari Ruffin 0-0 0-1 0, Jeremiah Howard 2-4 0-0 4, Xavier Alston 0-0 0-0 0, Juwan Bandy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-50 10-12 54.

Chesterton (16-13-15-20)

Kolton Cardenas 2-5 2-2 8, Tyler Nelson 3-7 2-2 9, Jack Eaton 2-4 4-6 9, Nick Mullen 1-2 0-0 2, Jake Wadding 12-17 4-10 28, Travis Grayson 3-7 0-0 6, Alex Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Warren 1-1 0-0 2, Drew Vanderwoude 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-43 12-20 64.

3-point field goals: Merrillville 2-17 (D. Bandy 0-7, Thompson 0-1, Fulton 1-5, Balkcom 0-2, Harris 1-2); Chesterton 4-9 (Cardenas 2-4, Nelson 1-1, Eaton 1-3, Mullen 0-1). Rebounds: Merrillville 28 (Thompson 7); Chesterton 29 (Wadding 13). Assists: Merrillville 6 (Thompson 2); Chesterton 13 (Cardenas 4, Grayson 4). Steals: Merrillville 2 (Thompson 1, Alston 1); Chesterton 2 (Eaton 1, Vanderwoude 1).


Posted 1/7/2019




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