Chesterton up next for City
PORTAGE — The upset bug was buzzing in the first half of the first game Tuesday in the Class 4A Portage Sectional, where favored Chesterton trailed the host Indians 23-17 at the break.
“We weren’t getting loose balls, offensive rebounds,” Trojans forward Jake Wadding said. “We turned it over a lot.”
Wadding starred in the role of fly swatter in the second half, smacking away any notions of a surprise outcome with a dozen points in the third quarter, when the Trojans flipped the script with an 18-4 run that carried them to a closer-than-it-looked 62-39 win.
“They’re high school kids. You get in a sectional, you just hope they play basketball,” Chesterton coach Marc Urban said. “We had too many turnovers in the first half. We really have not seen them play much zone. We felt like we got really good looks, we just didn’t hit ’em. Jake’s motor got going, and it really jump started us.”
Wadding, who reached the 1,000-point mark for his career on the game’s first basket, scored nine points in the first 2:09 of the second half, his steal and breakaway dunk capping a 9-0 run.
“We tried to bring more energy, play harder than we did the first half,” Wadding said. “We started making shots, I started driving in the paint. (Tyler Nelson) stepped up and made big plays, big shots, played good defense.”
Wadding finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds and four assists. Nelson, playing for the first time in a month due to a sprained ankle, added 18 points with all three Trojans’ 3-pointers on a night when its other perimeter threats were off.
“He played great,” Urban said of Nelson. “It’s great to have him back. We’ve got a lot of guys that can knock ‘em in, they just weren’t hittin’ ‘em. We’re gonna keep shootin’ ’em. The second half, the ones we missed, we were able to get back. That really got the energy and once we got up, we had some guys knock some down.”
Portage couldn’t match Chesterton inside or outside in the second half, managing just one third-quarter basket, and didn’t get much help for leading scorer Maurion Martin (13 points).
“We missed a lot of shots,” Indians coach Rick Snodgrass said. “We knew they were going to come at us hard in the second half and we just couldn’t match up with them physically.”
Chesterton (17-6) will face Michigan City (10-13) in Friday’s first semifinal.
“They’re very dangerous in the fact they’ve got a lot of guys who can fill it up,” Urban said. “They’re physical. We have to be tough mentally and physically. (Ray) Howard’s good. We’ve got to guard, take care of the basketball, make sure we rebound.”
City was held to a season-low total in the 51-40 loss on Feb. 5.
“They’re more athletic,” Wadding said of the Wolves. “We have to play hard, box out.”
Hobart plays Kankakee Valley and Merrillville takes on Valpo in tonight’s games.