Chesterton Tribune


Merrillville hot first half burns Trojans

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Merrillville hit the floor running Thursday and by the time Chesterton got its legs, the race was all but lost.

The Trojans made a strong second-half run to wipe out most of a 22-point deficit, but the comeback fell short as the Pirates prevailed, 64-56.

"It's disappointing the way we came out in a big game. I thought it was a bigger game for us than it was for them," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "I just thought they were tougher and more determined in the first half."

Tyler Rusboldt hit a 3 to start the scoring, but the Pirates (14-2, 12-0) quickly claimed the lead on a pair of Jelani Pruitt drives and they never trailed again. Pruitt blocked four shots and Chesterton committed 12 turnovers in the first half against the ferocious Merrrillville pressure, sparking the Pirates' transition attack. The Trojans managed just one basket in an eight-point second quarter, when it coughed up the ball 10 times.

"They took us out of what we wanted to do," Peller said. "They were speeding the game up and we were trying to slow it down. Their athleticism was impressive. They're real quick and it really got to us. We kind of had that wide-eyed, deer in the headlights look. We haven't done that since the first or second game."

Merrillville's lead ballooned to 41-18 on a B.J. Jenkins 3 early in the third quarter before Chesterton put together consecutive baskets for the first time. It was 45-23 when the Trojans fashioned their first run, scoring 10 straight to get within 12 on a Cole Teal steal and breakaway early in the fourth quarter.

"Where's the pride?" Peller said of his halftime talk. "They're scoring at will. We haven't even stopped them. We fought back. We settled down, got our composure back and played good basketball at the end of the game. I'm proud of that. We just didn't start off."

Chesterton (9-8, 6-6) continued to chip away at the deficit in the fourth quarter. Jacob Andert hit three 3s in the late going as the Trojans got as close as 61-56 with 19.7 seconds left.

"Thank God for Jacob Andert," Peller said. "He really came through. Matt (Holba) was a warrior. We were able to force some turnovers at the end."

Holba scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Palombizio and Andert each scored 12, all of Andert's coming from beyond the arc.

The loss was Chesterton's third in a row. Coming off a loss to Munster, Merrillville (14-2, 12-0) regrouped to clinch a share of the Duneland Athletic Conference title with the victory.

"We were a little frustrated at how we finished the game last Saturday," Pirates coach T.J. Lux said. "We had to get back to some basics, to what our identity is, being relentless, and I thought for the first 20, 21 minutes, we did. Everybody was into the game, focused on what we were trying to do. Fortunately, we were able to build a lead because they did a great job coming back."

Merrillville 64, Chesterton 56


Merrillville (17-19-9-19)

Zoran Talley 3-7 2-2 8, Jelani Pruitt 7-14 0-0 14, Darion Williams 7-8 0-0 14, B.J. Jenkins 3-8 5-6 13, Jake Raspopovich 0-3 4-4 4, Isaiah Wilson 1-3 0-0 2, Donte Lockwood 1-2 0-0 3, Jalen Wilbert 0-1 0-0 0, Bryon Hill 1-2 0-0 2, K.V. Myricks 1-2 1-2 4, James Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Totals -- 24-50 12-14 64.

Chesterton (10-8-15-23)

Cole Teal 3-11 0-0 6, Corey Rusboldt 1-5 4-4 7, Chris Palombizio 3-10 6-6 12, Matt Holba 5-9 3-4 13, Jacob Andert 4-7 0-0 12, Donnie Johnson 1-5 0-1 2, Brandon Roeske 2-5 0-0 4, Mike Thanos 0-0 0-0 0, Tevin Dilosa 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Ralph 0-1 0-0 0. Totals -- 19-53 13-15 56.

3-point field goals: Merrillville 4 (Jenkins 2, Lockwood, Myricks); Chesterton 5 (Andert 4, Rusboldt). Leaders -- Rebounds: Raspopovich 5 (M); Palombizio 8 (C). Assists: Jenkins 5 (M). Steals: Jenkins 3 (M); Rusboldt 2 (C). Blocks: Pruitt 4 (M). Team fouls: Merrillville 14; Chesterton 17. Fouled out: None. Records: Merrillville 15-2 (12-0 DAC); Chesterton 9-8 (6-6).

Junior Varsity

Chesterton 40, Merrillville 32

The Chesterton junior varsity team put three players in double figures and picked up a 40-32 victory over Merrillville Thursday night.

Jordan Dilosa (8 rebounds) led the way offensively with 12 points, while Steffan Dines and Patrick Tilden each tallied 11 points.

Niles Dilosa contributed six points, five rebounds and two assists in the victory.



Posted 2/8/2013