Players love offense. Coaches love defense. Both love wininng.
Chesterton coach Tom Peller and his team met somewhere in the middle Friday
as the Trojans raced to an fast-paced 85-73 win over Crown Point in the
regular-season and Duneland Athletic Conference finale.
"A win's a win, but as a coach, you really want to focus on defense," Peller
said. "That was disappointing. We worked on defense all week and there
wasn't a lot of defense going on out there. There are two ways to win a game
and we won (this game) because we outscored them."
Chesterton (12-8, 8-6) hit the floor running and the pace never slowed. All
five starters scored within the first three minutes as the Trojans jumped to
a 13-2 lead. On the brink of an early blowout, Crown Point (5-15, 2-12)
found its legs and got back into the game with nine straight points. Through
eight minutes, the teams combined for 48 points with Chesterton on top
"It was really up and down the first half and that not to our advantage.
That's not our strength," Peller said. "You get caught up in it as a coach.
I should have called a t.o. We have to slow the tempo and play better
defense to be successful. It was a nice game to watch, for you guys."
The Bulldogs pulled even at 29 on back-to-back 3s, two of the six treys they
hit in the first half, and were down just two at 42-40 at the half.
"They've got shooters," Peller said. "We've got to get a hand in their
Chris Palombizio keyed a third-quarter surge, scoring 10 of the Trojans'
first 12 points coming out of the break as Chesterton regained control.
"You want to let the game come to you," Palombizio said. "Cole (Teal) found
me real well. We moved the ball real well. We can score."
The Trojans pushed the margin back to double figures on a Jacob Andert 3 and
this time they didn't lay off the gas pedal.
"We played a little better defense the second half," Peller said. "We had
more intensity. Chris struggled a little the first half, but he stuck with
his game and picked it up in the second half."
Donnie Johnson caught fire for 15 points after the half, highlighted by a
one-handed breakaway dunk, as Chesterton extended the spread to 21 at 85-64.
C.P. scored the last nine points after both teams cleared their benches to
make the final margin closer.
"It was a lot of fun," Palombizio said. "Then again, we've got to play
defense. We can't let them score that much. Coach got us on at halftime and
we picked it up a little. We needed this win. People can say it wasn't a big
game but it was big to us. It brings a lot of momentum and keeps our
Palombizio's 21 points topped five Trojans in double figures. They were one
Corey Rusboldt point from having six. In addition to Johnson's 17, Teal
(eight rebounds) tallied 13, Matt Holba a dozen and Andert 11.
"Obviously, we had good balance," Peller said. "We shared the ball real
Chesterton shot 61 percent (31-51) from the field and 84 percent (16-19)
from the line in posting its highest point total for a regulation game in
nearly five years.
"They've got a lot of weapons," C.P. coach Clint Swan said. "They're very
hard to guard. That's the third time in a row we've had a hard time
containing them. They're very potent offensively. They made some easy shots
and they made some really tough shots, too. We tried to mix it up on them a
little bit, playing some different defenses, but it was hard to take them
out of their rhythm. The tempo had a lot to do with it. Both teams were on
The Trojans, who finished the regular season with three straight victories,
open the Class 4A Michigan City Sectional on Tuesday against LaPorte (5-15).
Valparaiso (16-4) and Portage (10-12) play in the opener.
Crown Point 73
AT CROWN POINT
Chris Palombizio 6-12 8-9 21, Corey Rusboldt 4-6 0-0 9, Jacob Andert 4-10
1-2 11, Matt Holba 3-5 6-7 12, Cole Teal 6-8 0-0 13, Donnie Johnson 7-10 1-1
17, Brandon Roeske 1-1 0-0 2, Mike Thanos 0-0 0-0 0, Tevin Dilosa 0-1 0-0 0,
Andrew Ralph 0-0 0-0 0, Avery Beeks 0-0 0-0 0, Steffan Dines 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals -- 31-51 16-19 85.
Crown Point (21-19-13-20)
Noah Burkholder 2-3 0-0 5, Bret Barclay 6-7 1-2 16, Nick Jeffirs 4-4 5-7 13,
Alex Nickla 0-5 0-0 0, Tommy Bardeson 8-23 3-3 21, Braxton Rice 0-1 0-0 0,
Rade Kukobat 1-1 0-0 2, PJ Phelps 2-2 0-0 4, Josh Berquist 3-3 5-7 12, Nick
Hanlon 0-0 0-0 0, Zack Lambert 0-0 0-0 0, Blake Bonin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals --
26-49 14-19 73.
3-point field goals: Chesterton 7-20 (Palombizio 1-6, Rusboldt 1-1, Andert
2-5, Holba 0-1, Teal 1-2, Johnson 2-5); Crown Point 7-17 (Burkholder 1-1,
Barclay 3-4, Nickla 0-3, Bardeson 2-7, Rice 0-1, Berquist 1-1). Leaders --
Rebounds: Teal 8 (C); Burkholder 5 (CP). Assists: Andert, Holba, Teal (C) 3.
Steals: Palombizio (C) 3. Team fouls: Chesterton 12; Crown Point 14. Fouled
out: None. Records: Chesterton 12-8 (8-6 DAC); Crown Point 5-15 (2-12).