Lake Central and Munster victorious in first round and face off Friday night

Erik Alcantar
Medill Reports

Lake Central High School (St. John) defeated Crown Point High School (Crown Point) 42-29 in the first sectional game Wednesday night, while Munster High School (Munster) erased a 12 point deficit to defeat Lowell Senior High School (Lowell) 56-49.

Day two of the Lake Central Sectional reduced the field down from six basketball teams to four.  Now both semi-final games Friday will be rematches of regular season matchups.

The Wednesday night doubleheader featured loud, enthusiastic fans and passionate players.

The Indians and the Bulldogs met in the regular season in a game that Crown Point won 60-55. Wednesday’s game was a very different contest. The Bulldogs weren’t able to execute their offense and it showed as they trailed by 12 heading into halftime.

Crown Point Head Coach Clint Swan told reporters after the game that Lake Central’s pace was the reason his team couldn’t get going on offense.

Lake Central’s players agreed, with seniors Keon Sellers and Justin Graciano both using the word “energy” when asked for the keys to the victory.

The Indians are hosting the school’s first sectional tournament, and they made the most of the historic occasion by putting on a great performance.

Not even five minutes after the buzzer sounded, fans of Munster and Lowell entered the stands and the players of both schools made their way out of the locker rooms and onto the court.

In the first meeting between the Lowell Red Devils and Munster Mustangs, Munster was able to get the win 60-47. Just like the night’s first game, the rematch was a dramatically different affair.

In January, Munster had a 19 point lead that they never surrendered. On Wednesday night, the roles were reversed as the Mustangs trailed by as much as 12.

When the draw was announced, Lowell Head Coach Joe Delgado spoke about what his team would have to do better in order to defeat Munster.

“I think that not getting down at the start is really important.,” Delgado said. “We are also better defensively at defending the dribble penetration, which will be crucial.”

He was absolutely correct, as his team was able to take the game to Munster and build a double digit lead. But unfortunately for him, the adjustment he was looking to make didn’t yield the result he had hoped for.

The Mustangs shot 21 3-pointers in the first half, and had gone completely cold heading into halftime. So Head Coach Mike Hackett told his players to stop settling for outside shots and start attacking the basket.

It worked to perfection as Munster flipped the game in their favor and went on to win it. That rally allows them to advance to Friday night’s semi-final against Lake Central.

Munster defeated Lake Central 58-54 in December. That game was at home for the Mustangs. If they want to play for a sectional championship on Saturday night, they will have to defeat Lake Central again, this time on the opponent’s home court.

The other semi-final will be contested by Oliver P. Morton High School and East Chicago Central High School. The two schools met in early January with Morton taking the victory 91-85 in a high-scoring affair.

Photo at top: Senior Conner Tomasic (Lake Central) shouts out the play for his team’s next possession. Lake Central and Munster were victorious on Wednesday night and will face-off Friday night for the chance to play the winner of Hammond Morton-East Chicago in the sectional championship game.(Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)