Tomich's buzzer-beating layup helps Bulldogs to 53-51 DAC win over Valparaiso

A Special Report by Mark Smith

Team /Record 1 2 3 4 Final
VALPARAISO (18-3) 14 15 11 11 51
CROWN POINT (17-3) 21 10 9 13 53

Friday, February 10, 2017 - Duneland Athletic Conference game at CROWN POINT, Ind.

Valpo coach Barak Coolman (left) and CP coach Clint Swan talk about 'coach things' before last week's Valpo-CP game. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Valpo's Charlie Healy (30), right, looks to set up a screen on CP's Sam Krutz (30) to help teammate Brandon Newman (10) in last Friday's CP-Valpo game in Crown Point.
Crown Point's Andrew Kenneally eyes a free throw in the CP-Valpo game. Both teams were 10 of 15 from the foul line.
CP's Dominic Tomich (12) tries to get past Valparaiso's Adrian Casaday (3) in the first half of last Friday's CP-Valpo game. The Bulldogs led 21-14 after one quarter, but the game was tied 40-40 after three periods.
CP's Kenny Decker (35) tries to force his way past Valparaiso's Patrick Kelly (32) in Valpo's game in Crown Point. Valpo held CP to 53 points, their second lowest total of the season.
Crown Point sophomore Sam Snodgrass (24) keeps an eye on Valpo's Adrian Casaday in the Valpo-CP game last week. Snodgrass played nine minutes when CP senior starter Sasha Stefanovic drew two early fouls.
Valpo's Trace Ramsey slips down the baseline for two of his eight points at Crown Point.
CP's Tommy Frame (40) comes away with a steal at the defensive end against Valparaiso.
CP center Andrew Kenneally (44) goes to the hook shot over the Valparaiso defense in the CP-Valpo matchup. Kenneally scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds.
Valparaiso fans young and old made the trio to Crown Pont to watch the Vikings play the Bulldogs last Friday.
Even the highest seats were taken Friday night as Valparaiso went head to head with Crown Point. Over 3,000 fans watched the two teams battle down to the final seconds.
CP's Dominic Tomich (12) found he had a lot of new friends after his basket with one second to play defeated Valparaiso 53-51 last Friday night. (All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright © 2017 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: February 15, 2017 .


VALPARAISO (51) Adrian Casaday 0-2-2, Brandon Newman 7-2-16, Trace Ramsey 4-4-12, Patrick Kelly 4-1-12, Jay Bisacky 3-1-7, Michadel Mann 1-0-2, Connor Wolf 0-0-0, Charlie Healy 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19 (10-15) 51.

Dominic Tomich 6-0-15, Sasha Stefanovic 5-3-16, Kenny Decker 4-0-9, Andrew Kenneally 3-6-12, Sam Snodgrass 0-0-0, Sam Krutz 0-0-0, Matt Hanlon 0-0-0, Vince Lewis 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18 (10-15) 53.

FREE THROWS: VALPO (10-15, 66.6%%) Ramsey 4-4, Newman 2-2, Casaday 2-4, Kelly 1-2, Bisacky 1-3; CROWN POINT (10-15, 66.6%) Stefanovic 3-4, Kenneally 6-9, Krutz 1-2.

REBOUNDS: VALPO (23) Newman 7, Ramsey 5, Bicsaky 4, Kelly 3, Healy 3, Mann; CP (15) Krutz 4, Kenneally 4, Stefanovic 3, Tomich, Decker, Frame, Snodgrass.

ASSISTS: VALPO (5) Bisacky 2, Healy, Kelly, Ramsey; CROWN POINT (5) Snodgrass 2, Krutz 2, Tomich.

3-GOALS: VALPO (3) Patrick Kelly 3; CROWN POINT (7) Sasha Stefanovic 3, Dominic Tomich 3, Kenny Decker.


TECHNICAL FOUL: VALPO (1) coach Barak Coolman; CROWN POINT (1) CP student section.


Download MP3 Audio Archives

CROWN POINT (02-10-2017) You go to 100 games to see one like last Friday night. Most of the 3,000+ fans in the high-rise Crown Point gym, surely talked about this one all into the next week and, to be honest, I still don't exactly know what I saw.

One thing for sure. CP senior Dominic Tomich scored on a break-away layup with one second to play, giving the Bulldogs a 53-51 win over Valparaiso, creating a tie for first place at the top of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC).

But I'm still not sure what happened in the final seconds of a late season Friday feature.

With 10 seconds to go, CP's Kenny Decker hit a 15-foot shot to tie the game 51-51 after the Vikings (18-3, 5-1 DAC) had led most of the fourth quarter.

At that point, Valparaiso did not call time out. With the crowd on its feet, the Vikings went for the winning basket immediately. Trace Ramsey, Valpo's 6-foot-7 senior, cut to the right across the top of the foul circle. Someone, maybe Ken Decker or Sam Krutz, disrupted Ramsey's dribble and CP center Andrew Kenneally grabbed the ball.

Tomich immediately broke towards the other end of the floor and Kenneally fired the ball down court to him for an easy layup. The home clock ran out and most of the Crown Point student section raced onto the floor to celebrate. Valpo coach Barak Coolman met the referees at midcourt saying that he had called time out after Tomich's basket and that there was time left on the clock when he called time out.

Coolman convinced the three game referees that 1.) There was time left in the game when the go-ahead basket was scored and 2.) He had called time out before the clock keeper let the final second run out so 3.) Since there was time left in the game, the CP kids running onto the floor created a danger to his players and the home team should be assessed a technical foul.

It's fair to doubt if Coolman makes the same 'danger' argument had the Vikings scored and the Valpo cheering section run onto the floor. This is Indiana basketball. But it was a persuasive argument. If '1' and '2' are true, then '3' must be true as well.

The referees debated about five minuets and then ruled that Coolman was right. But since he had run onto the floor to confront the referees, that he, too, would be assessed a technical foul. In a decision that I have never before seen, the refs ruled that the technical fouls on both sides offset each other and that Valpo would be given the ball with less than a second to play, trailing 53-51.

The Vikings threw the ball more than half the length of the floor, but Tomich intercepted, the final second ticked off and CP won. Why neither side shot any free throws on the technical fouls is a question that drifted off into the chilly February night.

"They called offsetting technical fouls," said Coolman, who second guessed himself on the final moments.

"Maybe I should have called time out," he admitted. "Hindsight is always 20-20. But we had plenty of time left to set up. We just didn't run it well. That one play didn't beat us."

Coaches always say that one play didn't beat them. But without Decker's basket, CP loses. And the odd thing is: Kenny Decker is a 56% shooter from the field and he was 3-of-8 before the game-tying shot.

"I've talked a lot about him," said CP coach Clint Swan. "He's been unbelievable. He's here shooting every morning. He's made that shot you just saw 500 times. I had no doubt he'd make it."

Dom Tomich said the final play was a result of teamwork that goes back many years.

"When he (Andrew Kenneally) got the ball, I knew he'd get it to me," said Tomich. "I looked up and I saw 4.5 seconds left and I know he saw it too. I just had to make sure I made the layup. We (Kenneally, Tomich, Stefanovic and Decker) have played together so long. We just know what each other is going to do."

You go to 100 games to see one like this. Despite foul trouble that sat leading scorer Sasha Stefanovic (19.3 per game) half the first half, CP jumped ahead 18-10 early as Dom Tomich sank two first quarter three-pointers. Valpo rallied in the second period as shooting star Patrick Kelly sank two three-pointers.

The Vikings (18-3, 5-1 DAC) pulled ahead in the third quarter as Ramsey stole the ball a couple of times and Valpo shut out the Bulldogs' three double figure scorers (Kenneally, Decker and Stefanovic) from the field.

Valpo's 6-foot-3 sophomore prospect Brandon Newman scored eight in the fourth quarter and his two foul shots made it 51-48 with a minute to go. Kenneally split two foul shots with 44 second to go and the Vikings were called for traveling with 28 seconds left.

Coolman was visibly disappointed, but he saw the bigger picture.

"Every regular season game is a practice," he said. "These were two great teams. A sectional atmosphere. Great experience for us. A lot of our guys haven't been in that before."

Swan agreed.

"This is what I told our guys," he said. "With all the time and work you've put in, our guys deserve to play in front of a crowd like this."

Tomich called the standing room only crowd 'Tremendous.'

"It reminded me of last year against Merrillville when they were undefeated. The sectional against Valpo last year. This was right there with that. Our fans were really great."

DOG NOTES: I don't have any idea why Valparaiso and Crown Point didn't shoot free throws after the two technical fouls (on Valpo coach Barak Coolman and the CP student section) in the final seconds.

Unless the rules have changed recently, technical fouls cannot 'offset' each other like offsetting penalties in football. Neither coach complained about the ruling, which seemed like a creation of game referees to be fair to both sides in a moment where neither side was truly at fault.

For the fourth time this season, CP did not get a single point from anyone other than their starting five. Not to say that they didn't get contributions off the bench. Sophomore forward Sam Snodgrass filled in for Sasha Stefanovic, who hit the bench with foul trouble and played well defensively. But the Bulldogs clearly will need some scoring off the bench in the post-season.

The CP gymnasium has a listed capacity of 3,800 even though it looks larger than that. The total attendance isn't 3,800 because the CP band gets in for free and takes up a small section in the southeast corner of the gym. At the Valparaiso game Friday, fans were standing on the balcony at the west end of the gym and seats in every corner seemed to be filled. The Valpo student section had at least 250 kids behind the Viking bench.

CP's Sasha Stefanovic scored 24 points in CP's 73-61 win at Andrean on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Andrew Kenneally added 22. The Bulldogs were 22 of 30 from the foul line.

Stefanovic has a total of 389 points through 20 games. Sasha scored 431 points last season, while posting 344 as a sophomore and 54 as a freshman. That total of 1,218 points is 97 short of 1971 graduate Jim Liss' listed CPHS school record of 1,315.

CP has three regular season games remaining, including home games with Morton on Feb. 21 and Lowell on Feb. 24. Obviously they are guaranteed at least one sectional game at Michigan City in March. Jim Liss' totals must be considered with the fact that there was no 3-point field goal in the 1960s and 70s. Stefanovic's total must be taken in perspective with the competition the Bulldogs have played including Pike, Warren Central, Warsaw, Penn and other downstate teams.

In the 60s and 70s, except for two holiday tournament games, CP didn't play anyone outside Northwest Indiana. Jim Liss scored a CPHS-record 544 points in 24 games (22.6 per game) in the 1970-71 season.


Coach: Clint Swan, 153-97 in 11th year at school, 291-169 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}‡  W   69-  62  
Jan. 14 Griffith {3A} W   68-  56  
Jan. 20 at Chesterton {4A}‡ W   59-  40  
Jan. 21 Warsaw {4A} ot W   50-  46  
Jan. 27 LaPorte {4A}‡ W   56-  44  
Jan. 28 at Warren Central {4A} L   50-  62  
Feb. 2 at Portage {4A}‡ W  48-  38  
Feb. 7 at Andrean {3A} W  73-  61  
Feb. 10 Valparaiso {4A}‡ W  53-  51  
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: Barak Coolman, 38-10 in 2nd year at school, 140-72 in 9th year overall
Nov. 23 Boone Grove {2A}  W   77-  17  
Nov. 26 at Hobart {4A}  W   57-  30  
Dec. 3 at Mishawaka {4A}  W   79-  47  
Dec. 6 Lowell {4A}  W   65-  56  
Dec. 10 East Chicago Central {4A}  W   67-  62  
Dec. 17 at Elkhart Memorial {4A}  W   72-  54  
Dec. 29 †Horizon Christian (Fort Wayne) {}  W   86-  68  tournament
Dec. 29 at Columbia City {3A}  W   54-  44  tournament
Dec. 30 †Merrillville {4A}   L   60-  62  tournament
Dec. 30 at Huntington North {4A}  W   46-  36  tournament
Jan. 6 Portage {4A}‡  W   64-  37  
Jan. 7 at Penn {4A}   L   48-  51  
Jan. 13 at Michigan City {4A}‡  W   72-  69  
Jan. 14 New Prairie {3A}  W   54-  40  
Jan. 20 Lake Central {4A}‡  W   50-  28  
Jan. 21 at South Bend Washington {4A}  W   58-  44  
Jan. 27 Merrillville {4A}‡  W   63-  56  
Jan. 28 at Munster {4A}  W   66-  55  
Feb. 2 at LaPorte {4A}‡  W   45-  42  
Feb. 4 at Hammond Noll {2A}  W   52-  45  
Feb. 10 at Crown Point {4A}‡   L   51-  53  
Feb. 17 Chesterton {4A}‡ 7:00 pm  
Feb. 18 Concord {4A} 6:45 pm  
Feb. 24 South Bend Clay {4A} 7:00 pm  
Valparaiso 5-  1 18-  3 61.2 47.4 13.8 Lost 1
Crown Point 5-  1 17-  3 63.0 53.1 10.0 Won 3
Michigan City 3-  3 17-  6 60.5 52.9 7.6 Won 2
Merrillville 3-  3 15-  6 66.6 57.2 9.3 Won 2
Chesterton 3-  3 14-  7 65.0 59.2 5.8 Won 5
Lake Central 3-  3 12-  9 54.7 53.0 1.6 Lost 1
LaPorte 2-  4 16-  6 60.0 52.1 8.0 Won 2
Portage 0-  6 6-14 56.6 59.3 -2.7 Lost 2
Tuesday, Feb. 7
Crown Point 73, Andrean 61
Lake Central 66, East Chicago Central 60
Friday, Feb. 10
Chesterton 66, Portage 61‡
Crown Point 53, Valparaiso 51‡
Merrillville 66, LaPorte 55‡
Michigan City 41, Lake Central 37‡
Saturday, Feb. 11
Chesterton 60, Munster 54
LaPorte 81, South Bend Clay 58
Merrillville 53, Warsaw 48
Tuesday, Feb. 14
Chesterton 72, Hammond 60
LaPorte 95, South Bend Riley 851OT
Friday, Feb. 17
Chesterton at Valparaiso‡, 7 pm
Crown Point at Lake Central‡, 7 pm
Michigan City at Merrillville‡, 7 pm
Portage at LaPorte‡, 7 pm
Saturday, Feb. 18
Concord at Valparaiso, 6:45 pm
Hobart at Merrillville, 7 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 21
Hammond Morton at Crown Point, 7 pm
Lake Station at Portage, 7 pm
Marquette Catholic at Lake Central, 7 pm
Friday, Feb. 24
Chesterton at Boone Grove, 7 pm
Lowell at Crown Point, 7 pm
McCutcheon at Lake Central, 6:30 pm
Munster at LaPorte, 7 pm
Penn at Merrillville, 7 pm
Portage at Hammond Morton, 7 pm
South Bend Clay at Valparaiso, 7 pm
‡Conference game