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.
Junior Matt Hanlon (CP) looks for space to make pass while guarded by sophomore Derek Hobbs (LC). After Lake Central (St. John) and Crown Point (Crown Point) combined to score 115 in their first matchup, both teams worked much harder on their defenses. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Senior Keon Sellers (LC) slams the ball into the hoop. Sellers created his own opportunity by stripping the ball from junior Elias Gerodemos (CP). The dunk put LC up 9-4 early in the game and fired up the home crowd. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Senior Conner Tomasic (LC) works his way inside the paint against junior Camron Pimentel (CP). Tomasic had 13 points in the regular season matchup, and stayed consistent by delivering 11 points in Wednesday’s sectional game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Keon Sellers (LC)dribbles against sophomore Sam Decker (CP). Lake Central Head Coach Dave Milausnic used nine players in the first quarter, making good use of his bench and showing the Bulldogs multiple looks early on in the game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Senior Justin Graciano (LC) took over the floor on Wednesday night, making key passes, hitting big shots, and providing the Indians with good interior defense. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Conner Tomasic (LC)attempts a 3-point shot with freshman Ty Smith (CP) contesting. Lake Central hit four 3-point shots during the course of the game, while Crown Point was only able to hit one 3-pointer. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Sophomore Nick Anderson (LC) nails a 3-point shot and is immediately fouled after releasing the ball. He converted the free-throw to complete the 4-point play and pushed Lake Central’s lead to 12 just before halftime. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Derek Hobbs leads a fast break for the Indians. He had five total assists and was a key component in Lake Central’s offense despite not scoring in the game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Junior Sam Krutz (CP) drives to the basket and into two Lake Central defenders. The Bulldogs were held to a season-low 29 points. They scored over 35 points in every other game this season, and averaged just over 50 points a game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Lake Central Junior Dominic Ciapponi embraces Justin Graciano after the final whistle sounded in Wednesday’s win. The Indians will face the Munster Mustangs on Friday night for a chance to play in the sectional championship game on Saturday. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Conner Tomasic attempts a 3-point shot early in the game as the Munster basketball team watches from the bleachers behind the basket. The Mustangs arrived early enough to watch most of the game between Lake Central and Crown Point. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Junior Dustin Hudak (Lowell) attacks the rim as junior Jevon Morris (Munster) attempts to block his shot. Lowell Senior High School (Lowell) led Munster High School (Munster) by 10 points at halftime. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Sophomore Josh Davis (Munster) gathers the ball as he looks to set up his team’s offense. Davis was a key part of the Mustangs’ offense, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 13 points in total. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Lake Central Head Coach Dave Milausnic talks with his staff during the Munster-Lowell game. Despite having already coached a game beforehand, Milausnic was out scouting his team’s next opponent. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Dustin Hudak attempts a 3-point shot early in the contest while being closed out by Senior Tommy Maloney (Munster). The Red Devils used 3-point shots to get ahead in the first half of the game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Senior Noah Durr (Lowell) goes under the rim attempting a layup. Durr led his team in scoring with 15 points, but scored just six points in the second half. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Senior Grant Monix (Lowell) goes over Jevon Morris for a 3-point shot. Munster attempted 21 3-pointers in the first half alone before settling into the game and moving the ball inside the arc. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Dustin Hudak drives to the basket for a layup. Hudak had 10 points and 11 rebounds on the night, giving him a double-double. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Junior Ethan Igras (Lowell) makes a key play as he saves the ball from going out of bounds and maintains possession for his team. While the Red Devils would lose, they had several hustle plays that made the game competitive throughout. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Dustin Hudak runs into junior Nick Fies (Munster) while attempting to score. This was a very physical game that saw both teams enter the bonus at seven fouls in the second half. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
Noah Durr attempts a 3-point shot that would have tied the game late in the 4th quarter. It fell short of the basket and was rebounded by Munster, and was ultimately what sealed the victory for the Mustangs. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
The Mustangs celebrate as a team after defeating the Lowell Red Devils 56-49 despite trailing by as many as 12 points during the game. (Erik Alcantar/MEDILL)
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)