Michigan City slow-down play, 3rd Qtr defense upends Bulldogs 56-53 at home

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

Team /Record 1 2 3 4 Final
Michigan City (9-3) 7 9 22 18 56
CROWN POINT (9-2) 13 14 3 23 53

Friday, January 6, 2017 - Duneland Athletic Conference opener at CROWN POINT, Ind.

Sasha Stefanovic (33) dribbles past Michigan City's Donte Combs in DAC action Friday night. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP senior Kenny Decker was 4-of-4 from the foul line scoring a game-high 21 points.
CP guard Dominic Tomich fires a 3-point shot. The Bulldogs led Michigan City 27-16 at the half.
CP center Andrew Kenneally (44) played only briefly and he was missed as Michigan City rallied in the third quarter.
MC coach John Boyd used a pressure defense to limit CP to a season-low 53 points.
MC coach John Boyd watches CP's Sasha Stefanovic (33) look for an open man early in last Friday's DAC game in Crown Point.
CP's Camron Pimentel (25) looks for the open man against the Michigan City defense. CP lost at home for the first time in two seasons.
New Bulldog fans get a front row seat for the Crown Point-Michigan City battle last Friday.
Michigan City senior Jaronde Boyd shakes hands with CP coach Clint Swan before last Friday's game. For seniors, the game could be the final one between MC and CP.
Crown Point cheerleaders check out the halftime show. CP was at home for the just the fourth time all season.
Athletic director Bill Dorulla (left) and Crown Point coach Clint Swan (right) honor Sasha Stefanovic (33) who scored his 1,000th point in December in the Noblesville holiday tournament against Pike. This is the third consecutive season (Nick Jeffirs in 2015 and Grant Gelon in 2016) that a Crown Point senior has scored his 1,000th point.
(All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright © 2017 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: January 26, 2017 .


MICHIGAN CITY (56) Jeronde Boyd 3-4-11, Keishawn Lewis 4-1-9, Troy Lewis 1-10-12, Salih Washington 2-3-7, Mikayah Smallwood 2-0-4, Dante Combs 3-1-7, Matthew Westman 2-2-6, Rayshan Howard 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17 (17-25) 56.

CROWN POINT (53) Dominic Tomich 2-3-7, Sasha Stefanovic 5-5-17, Andrew Kenneally 0-0-0, Kenny Decker 6-4-21, Sammy Krutz 1-0-2, Vince Smith 2-2-6, Matt Hanlon 0-0-0, Tommy Frame 0-0-0, Camron Pimental 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16 (14-18) 53.

FREE THROWS: MC (17-25, 68%) Jones 10-11, Boyd 4-5, Washington 3-4, Smallwood 0-3, Howard 0-2.
CROWN POINT (14-18, 72.2%) Tomich 3-5, Stefanovic 5-7, Decker 4-4, Smith 2-2.

REBOUNDS: MC (21) Boyd 4, Combs 4, Washington 7, Smallwood 2, Westman 2, Jones 2;
CROWN POINT (22) Krutz 9, Stefanovic 6, Decker 5, Smith, Pimentel..

ASSISTS: MC (5) Smallwod 2, Wetrsman, Jones, Combs, CROWN POINT (8) Tomich 4, Krutz 2, Hanlon, Smith.

3-GOALS: MC (5) Matt Westman 2, Keishawn Lewis, Jeronde Boyd, Danet Combs;
CROWN POINT (7) Kenny Decker 5, Sasha Stefanovic 2.



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CROWN POINT (01-06-2017) You never know what to expect when you come off the holiday break.
When the Bulldogs ran out on the floor, everything looked normal, but 6-foot-7 center Andrew Kenneally (14 ppg.) went to the bench after two minutes and he didn't look good. Kenneally didn't play the way he usually does and then he didn't play at all.

Meanwhile Michigan City, slowing the pace down, looked weak, missing shots and searching to defend the perimeter. CP led 27-16 at the half.

Then the Wolves (10-3) played as they usually do against Crown Point, pressing and disrupting. MC scored the first 15 points of the second half and held off a late rally to upset CP 56-53 in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) opener for both teams.

Call it an upset, sure. But Michigan City won the DAC matchup from Crown Point last season and the Wolves have won six of the last eight meetings with CP.

"They came in and they played great," said CP coach Clint Swan of the Wolves' second half rush. "Their length bothered us. Their pressure bothered us. We had trouble getting shots to fall. Stops and scores. They were getting them and we weren't."

Michigan City won with a bold move. In the third quarter, the Wolves began pressing in the backcourt and they double-teamed CP point guard Dominic Tomich to make him give up the ball. Crown Point basically wants the opposition to do that. If Tomich can pass the ball past the double-team, which he usually did, CP gets a 4-on-3 odd man rush to the basket and the defender retreats.

Crown Point did not lose the ball on turnovers, but they could not score. CP's only basket of the third quarter was a three-point shot by leading scorer Sasha Stefanovic with 1:43 left in the quarter. By that time Michigan City had turned a 27-16 halftime deficit into a 31-27 lead.

"Their defense confused us a little bit in the first half," said Michigan City coach John Boyd who saw his team win for the seventh time in eight games. "Both sides had some of that. But we thought we had an advantage with our quickness. Our agility and our speed. Let's not forget that they (CP) were down a man. Out sick. One of the best players in the area."

"But we stuck to our game plan and our game plan was to continue to pressure them and challenge them physically. We were able to cause some turnovers and capitalize on them."

The Wolves didn't have anyone sink more than four field goals or total more than 12 points, but they double-teamed Stefanovic and challenged others to make plays breaking the press.

The Bulldogs welcome backcourt pressure because they want to play press break, up-tempo basketball. But on this night, they could not break the press and score.

"We've handled that throughout the year," said Swan. "But we didn't handle it in the third quarter. Believe it or not, that's probably where we missed Andrew the most. He is able to come up and relieve the pressure. He's able to catch the second or third (press break) passes and score layups. He's a finisher. He wasn't out there and they took advantage."

The third quarter MC run was led by 6-foot-3 forward Salih Washington, who scored five in the quarter and senior left-handed point guard Jeronde Boyd, who posted seven of his nine points in the third quarter. CP had six turnovers in the quarter but just 13 in the game. The Bulldogs just missed makable shots.

"We were able to knock down a couple of shots and they were taking the ball out of the net in the first half," said Swan. "That let us get back and get set on defense. In the second half, that just turned around. Our shots aren't falling and they're getting out and running. Harder to block them out and do that."

Michigan City was coming off five holiday break games including four at the 16-team 'Big Dipper' tournament at Rich South high school in Richton Park, Illinois. MC was 3-1 at Rich South, losing the title game 78-67 to south suburban Chicago power Thornton.

"People don't understand how important it is to put together that kind of schedule," said Boyd. "To play against that kind of quickness. They have a shot clock (in the tournament). A 35-second shot clock. In the championship game, Thornton had that second and third wind. Our kids saw that. They embraced that. We know we can do that. Get our second and third wind. We still have another gear. Our kids were not breathing heavy. We were confident."

"We love the shot clock. It's something high school basketball needs. We need to prepare kids for the next level."

In the fourth quarter, CP rallied with a combined 17 points from Stefanovic, Tomich and Kenny Decker, who hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to make the final score closer. But the Bulldogs never had a shot to tie the game or go ahead.

"They played well," said Stefanovic of Michigan City. "They were face guarding me. We've got some younger guys and they're getting used to playing through adversity. We'll be fine. We've got to get healthy a little bit."

DOG NOTES: The Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) began the first night of league play with seven teams at 8-3 or better and the games were good on opening night.

Along with MC's win at Crown Point, Merrillville (9-2 ) won 64-61 at Chesterton, coming away with a win in the final 70 seconds. Lake Central upset LaPorte (9-3) at home, 42-33 and Valparaiso (10-2) rolled over last place Portage 63-37.

The DAC will play all seven league games in a seven week span so there are four DAC matchups in each of the next six weekends.

CP's Sasha Stefanovic was spotlighted after scoring his 1,000th career point, which he posted in the Noblesville Holiday tournament championship game against Pike.

CP's all-time leading scorer is Jim Liss, who scored 541 points for CP's third sectional championship team (the Bulldogs have won nine sectionals) in the 1971 season and finished his three-year career with 1,315 career points.
Nick Jeffirs (1,117 points - 2015), Grant Gelon (1,080 points - 2016), Stephan (1,090 points - 2008) and Michael (Spike) Albrecht (1,059 points - 2011) have all reached the 1,000-point total in the last 10 years.

Stefanovic has an outside chance to be CP's all-time leading scorer if the Bulldogs advance deep into the state tournament.


Coach: Clint Swan, 145-96 in 11th year at school, 283-168 in 20th year overall
Nov. 23 at Bowman Academy {2A}  W   73-  69  
Dec. 3 at Penn {4A} ot W   57-  51  
Dec. 6 East Chicago Central {4A}  W   85-  72  
Dec. 10 Pike {4A}  W   72-  59  
Dec. 16 at Munster {4A}  W   59-  32  
Dec. 22 at Boone Grove {2A}  W   75-  23  
Dec. 27 †Columbus East {4A}  W   72-  61  tournament
Dec. 28 at Noblesville {4A}  W   62-  59  tournament
Dec. 28 †Pike {4A} ot  L   62-  67  tournament
Dec. 31 at South Bend Washington {4A}  W   64-  52  
Jan. 6 Michigan City {4A}‡   L   53-  56  
Jan. 13 at Merrillville {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 14 Griffith {3A} 7:00 pm  
Jan. 20 at Chesterton {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 21 Warsaw {4A} 7:00 pm  
Jan. 27 LaPorte {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 28 at Warren Central {4A} 7:00 pm  
Feb. 2 at Portage {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 7 at Andrean {3A} 7:00 pm  
Feb. 10 Valparaiso {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 17 at Lake Central {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 21 Hammond Morton {4A} 7:00 pm  
Feb. 24 Lowell {4A} 7:00 pm  

Coach: John Boyd, 95-75 in 8th year at school, 242-144 in 17th year overall
Nov. 26 Concord {4A}  W   66-  26  
Nov. 29 at South Bend Riley {4A}   L   62-  66  
Dec. 2 Gary West {4A}  W   70-  41  
Dec. 3 LaPorte LaLumiere   L   60-  89  
Dec. 15 East Chicago Central {4A}  W   64-  63  
Dec. 21 at Penn {4A}  W   63-  43  
Dec. 26 †Rich Central (Ill.)  W   69-  39  tournament
Dec. 27 †Chicago Marshall (Ill.)  W   58-  54  tournament
Dec. 28 †Chicago Hope (Ill.)  W   63-  56  tournament
Dec. 29 †Thornton (Ill.)   L   67-  78  tournament
Dec. 30 †Detroit Pershing (Mich.)  W   49-  48  
Jan. 6 at Crown Point {4A}‡  W   56-  53  
Jan. 7 Chicago Uplift (Ill.)  W   67-  65  
Jan. 13 Valparaiso {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 16 †Chicago Corliss (Ill.) 3:30 pm  Chicago
Jan. 17 Munster {4A} 7:00 pm  
Jan. 20 LaPorte {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 21 South Bend Clay {4A} 7:00 pm  
Jan. 27 at Portage {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Jan. 28 TBA TBA  Michigan City
Feb. 2 Chesterton {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 4 at South Bend Adams {4A} 1:30 pm  
Feb. 10 Lake Central {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 17 at Merrillville {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Valparaiso 1-  0 10-  2 64.6 47.0 17.6 Lost 1
Michigan City 1-  0 10-  3 62.6 55.5 7.2 Won 3
Merrillville 1-  0 9-  3 71.7 59.3 12.3 Won 1
Lake Central 1-  0 8-  5 55.5 51.9 3.6 Won 3
Crown Point 0-  1 9-  2 66.7 54.6 12.1 Lost 1
LaPorte 0-  1 9-  3 57.3 48.3 9.0 Won 1
Chesterton 0-  1 9-  4 69.3 60.5 8.8 Won 1
Portage 0-  1 3-  9 58.1 62.9 -4.8 Lost 2
Friday, Jan. 6
Lake Central 42, LaPorte 33‡
Merrillville 64, Chesterton 61‡
Michigan City 56, Crown Point 53‡
Valparaiso 64, Portage 37‡
Saturday, Jan. 7
LaPorte 57, Goshen 40
Michigan City 67, Chicago Uplift (Ill.) 65
Penn 51, Valparaiso 48
Tuesday, Jan. 10
Chesterton 62, Hobart 43
Hammond 63, Portage 59
Lake Central 59, Highland 44
Friday, Jan. 13
Chesterton at LaPorte‡, 7 pm
Crown Point at Merrillville‡, 7 pm
Portage at Lake Central‡, 7 pm
Valparaiso at Michigan City‡, 7 pm
Saturday, Jan. 14
Boone Grove at Portage, 7 pm
Griffith at Crown Point, 7 pm
LaPorte at Plymouth, 7 pm
Merrillville at Munster, 7 pm
New Prairie at Valparaiso, 6:30 pm
Monday, Jan. 16
Michigan City vs. Chicago Corliss (Ill.), 3:30 pm, Chicago
Tuesday, Jan. 17
Lowell at Lake Central, 7 pm
Munster at Michigan City, 7 pm
Portage at Whiting, 7 pm
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Andrean at Chesterton, 7 pm
Friday, Jan. 20
Crown Point at Chesterton‡, 7 pm
Lake Central at Valparaiso‡, 7 pm
LaPorte at Michigan City‡, 7 pm
Merrillville at Portage‡, 7 pm
Saturday, Jan. 21
Carroll (Fort Wayne) at Merrillville, 5:30 pm
South Bend Clay at Michigan City, 7 pm
Valparaiso at South Bend Washington, 5:30 pm
Warsaw at Crown Point, 7 pm
‡Conference game