By TR HARLAN
He’s been doing this a long time, but Saturday night even Jack Campbell’s
emotions got the best of him.
“Write what you want,” Campbell said as the emotion clearly showed on his
face. “They are all special.”
The Chesterton girls basketball team completed an unlikely trek through the
IHSAA Portage Sectional and picked up the school’s first Sectional title
since 2006 with a 41-36 win over Portage Saturday night.
“What other Sectional in the State of Indiana had seven great ballgames,”
Campbell said. “Look at the crowd we had tonight. This is just fantastic
especially to have two teams that weren’t supposed to be here.”
The Indians got an early 3-pointer from Carly Bermes for a 3-0 lead, but
Alyssa White tied the game with a triple of her own. The Trojans eventually
took an 11-9 lead after back-to-back baskets from Claire Holba and White and
never relinquished the lead again.
“We’ve got seven seniors and it’s not just this game,” Campbell said. “It’s
practice and it’s commitment in the summer time. Just shows what you can do
if you put the time in.”
Another 6-0 run for the Trojans that included four points from Brooke
Gardner gave them a 19-15 lead at halftime.
Holba and Gardner each scored 15 points to lead Chesterton, while Holba also
grabbed 14 rebounds.
“I’ve said it all week,” Campbell reiterated. “We have two kids that score a
lot of the points, but you can’t win a tournament with the teams we had to
play without everybody contributing.”
And the Trojans probably won this one with their defense.
“We tried to box and one (Nicki) Monahan,” Campbell said. “She and Tori
Bliss are just great basketball players. Every time Monahan shoots the ball,
I think it’s going in. Alyssa (White) most of the night, and Ryan (Bozak)
for a while, did a great job of chasing her all over the place.”
The Trojans got a big third quarter from Holba, to the tune of 10 points,
but led just 31-29 after three quarters.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Campbell said. “You measure your
character in game’s like this when you struggle. You can say ‘I don’t have
it tonight,’ or you buckle down and do what Claire did tonight.”
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans relied on an old friend -- the free throw
Chesterton started the quarter with four free throws from Gardner before
Bermes hit her second trey of the night. Two more free throws from Gardner
were followed by a Bliss basket.
Holba hit one free throw for a 38-34 lead just ahead of Bliss making two
charity tosses of her own.
After the Trojans missed a pair of free throws, the Indians tried to enter
the ball into Bliss for a potential game-tying basket that was stolen by
Gardner hit one free throw with 37.6 seconds left and Bliss missed two
3-point attempts before White ice the game with two free throws at the 8.1
“We made foul shots at the end that were big,” Campbell said. “Free throws
have been up and down this year for us. Give the kids credit for making them
when we had too.”
The Trojans will face off against Lake Central in the second game of the
IHSAA Valparaiso Regional on Saturday morning. Game one is scheduled for a
9:30 a.m. start and features Elkhart Memorial against Penn.
Brooke Gardner 3-12 9-10 15, Alyssa White 2-3 2-2 7, Lindsay Gorman 1-1 2-2
4, Claire Holba 6-20 3-7 15, Riley Taubert 0-2 0-2 0, Ryan Bozak 0-0 0-0 0,
Reva Key 0-0 0-0 0, Annette Frank 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-38 16-23 41.
Hannah Glos 0-3 0-0 0, Nicki Monahan 2-12 0-0 5, Carly Bermes 2-8 2-2 8,
Alyssa Tampier 1-3 0-0 3, Tori Bliss 7-18 3-3 17, Ashley Smith 0-0 0-0 0,
Angela Buchanan 1-6 1-2 3, Heather Zengler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-49 6-7 36.
3-point field goals: Chesterton 1-5 (Gardner 0-1, White 1-2, Holba 0-1,
Taubert 0-1); Portage 4-24 (Monahan 1-9, Bermes 2-7, Tampier 1-2, Bliss 0-4,
Buchanan 0-2). Rebounds: Chesterton 40 (Holba 14); Portage 27 (Bliss 11).
Assists: Chesterton 5 (Taubert 2); Portage 6 (Monahan 3). Steals: Chesterton
6 (Holba 3); Portage 1 (Tampier 1).