Diamonds are formed under pressure. That same pressure also can burst pipes.
With the Duneland Athletic Conference game against surging LaPorte hanging
in the balance Friday, Chesterton (8-3, 2-0) turned in a gem of a last two
Up by a point, the Trojans rattled off nine straight points to secure a
"They made a run, we got a little out of synch, but we didn't lose it,"
Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "We maintained our poise. We were patient,
but it was an aggressive patient. We spread them out, got to the free throw
line and made some layups. We've got a lot of seniors, guys who have been
through the wars."
Up 35-25 after a Trent Weller shot early in the third quarter, Chesterton
saw the 10-point advantage disappear by period's end. In the midst of a
one-point game, Peller fanned out the half-court offense and the Trojans
converted three straight layups, two by Jake Wasielewski, in the decisive
"They blew us away off the dribble and came off the baseline for layups,"
LaPorte coach Tom Wells said.
Blanked in the third quarter after a 17-point first half, Chris Palombizio
scored 12 in the last eight minutes to finish with 29.
"I told our coaches, we've got to get him the ball," Peller said.
LaPorte (8-4, 0-2) went to a diamond and one and a box and one following the
break and Palombizio's only shot over the next eight minutes was a 70-foot
heave at the buzzer.
"I thought they would do it from the beginning," Palombizio said. "Teams are
looking at me with Cole (Teal) gone. Through the years, I've realized I have
to let the game come to me, not try to force things. My teammates played so
well, they had to get out of it. I got in the flow of the game. The coaches
told me to be more aggressive, to go to the basket more. Basketball's a game
of runs. We just kept our heads up, kept playing and protecting the ball."
Palombizio came out firing, hitting a 3 to start the scoring and making
seven of nine shots, with three treys in the first half. Chesterton trailed
only once, at 11-10, and led by as many as nine in the second quarter.
"Once the first one went in, I knew I was going to have a good night,"
LaPorte (8-4, 0-2) countered behind Josh Fleming and Tyler Littlejohn in the
third, when the duo combined for three triples and 15 points. Littlejohn's 3
ball sent the Slicers to the fourth up 42-41.
"LaPorte's a good team," Peller said. "They're hard to guard. I thought we
contained them pretty well."
Fleming posted 24 points, but center Gage Ott was held to 10.
"Six of 15 from the free throw line, turning it over 15 times, getting
outrebounded. You're not going to win too many Duneland Conference games,"
Wells said. "You don't have to go any further than that, to talk about
Palombizio getting 29. Chesterton's a lot more physical, tougher than we
are. That's the way a DAC game is going to be. It's no secret. We went to
some junk (defenses) in the third quarter, but you're not going to win games
playing those for long stretches."
Palombizio added nine rebounds to his stash of points.
"Chris was outstanding again," Peller said. "He's shooting well, showing
good leadership. He likes this type of game, the big stage."
No other Trojan reached double figures in scoring, but several contributed
with Wasielewski, Rhyss Lewis and Corey Rusboldt all scoring eight points
and helping Chesterton dominate the glass.
"Rhyss didn't turn it over. He made some shots," Peller said. "I thought it
was real important for us to get on the boards and we did a good job."
Chesterton (8-3, 2-0) has won four in a row without Teal since losing both
games at the Michigan City holiday tournament Dec. 28.
"It's a huge win," said Palombizio, whose future coach, Western Michigan's
Steve Hawkins, was at the game. "We've come together as a unit. Kids have
come off the bench and replaced Cole really well. Coach has been stressing
defense. We've been working on it in practice a lot. We're improving each
game. We're talking more, communicating."
Chesterton 60, LaPorte 53
Miles Crowder 1-4 0-0 3, Gage Ott 4-7 1-6 10, Jacob Jones 3-7 2-2 10, Josh
Fleming 10-15 3-5 24, Blake Arnett 0-1 0-2 0, Brian McGuire 0-0 0-0 0, Logan
Dubbs 0-0 0-0 0, Matt Otwinowski 0-2 0-0 0, Tyler Littlejohn 2-4 0-0 6.
Totals 20-40 6-15 53.
Chris Palombizio 9-14 7-9 29, Jacob Wasielewski 4-7 0-2 8, Andrew Ralph 0-1
0-0 0, Trent Weller 1-3 1-2 4, Corey Rusboldt 4-6 0-0 8, Brandon Roeske 0-1
0-0 0, Niles Dilosa 1-3 1-2 3, Rhyss Lewis 2-2 3-4 8. Totals 21-37 12-19 60.
3-point field goals: LaPorte 7 (Crowder, Ott, Jones 2, Fleming, Littlejohn
2); Chesterton 6 (Palombizio 4, Weller, Lewis). Rebounds: Fleming 3 (L);
Palombizio 9 (C). Assists: Fleming 4 (L); Ralph 2, Rusboldt 2 (C). Steals:
Fleming 3 (L); Weller 3 (C). Records: LaPorte 8-4 (0-2 DAC); Chesterton 8-3