A similar refrain
La PORTE — As of late, quick beginnings have been La Porte girls basketball team’s trademark.
On Friday night, it was no different.
Behind a stalwart start, the Slicers, who only trailed briefly in the second period, knocked off visiting Chesterton 68-54 in the opener of a girls/boys varsity twin bill on Senior Night.
“Our effort and intensity was crucial,” La Porte senior point guard Riley Ott said. “We came out strong in the first quarter and we kept that momentum going the entire game. That’s really what led us to win by 14.”
The Slicers (14-5, 4-2 Duneland Athletic Conference) controlled the early part of the game, sprinting out to a 7-0 lead not quite two minutes in.
The Trojans (10-9, 2-4 DAC) tied it 9-9, but La Porte regained the momentum and took an 18-13 advantage after the opening quarter.
Early in the second, the Trojans hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut it to 20-19. They then took their first lead of the night, 21-20, following Marney Sisson’s basket with 6:17 left in the second period. Chesterton went ahead as many as three, but the Slicers closed the first half on a 15-5 run. That allowed it to go ahead 35-28 at the break. The Slicers led by as much as seven in the opening stanza.
“Getting out to a fast start again was key,” La Porte coach Rob Walker said. “It’s been true of every game lately. We talked about that in the locker room.”
In the third, the Slicers really seized command, building upon a seven-point half margin. In total, they outscored Chesterton 20-10 in the period to go ahead 17 entering the fourth. And La Porte wasn’t threatened in the final quarter.
Ryin Ott, Riley’s younger sister, paced the Slicers with 21 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, while Riley Ott was right behind with 17 points, five boards, five steals and three assists. Keatyn Boren had 10 points, and Nyla Asad recorded eight points. Kayla Jones notched five points, seven assists and five steals.
When asked how potent his squad can be with Riley Ott and Ryin Ott playing this effectively, Walker didn’t hesitate.
“It’s been apparent the last three games, against very good teams, Lake Central, Plymouth and Chesterton,” he said. “If I had to circle five of the top teams on our whole schedule, those year in and year out are going to be the teams who are in the top five. Right now, things are clicking. We really built momentum in that Plymouth game.”
At the same time, Walker added balanced scoring was pivotal for his squad.
“We had a lot of people in the scoring column, we had a lot of people contributing,” Walker said. “Keatyn Boren is a matchup problem down low. When she’s fresh and she’s down low, she’s tough to stop. Alanti Biggers is playing well. Nyla (Asad)’s playing well. Kayla Jones is playing well.”
Ashley Craycraft led the Trojans with 19 points, going 4-of-5 downtown, and Sisson added 14 points.
La Porte’s defense was also stingy on the night, forcing 16 turnovers, translating some of those into easy baskets.
“We know what we should be doing at the end of the game,” Walker said. “And we’re just doing it. Things are clicking, and against good teams.”
The Slicers have now won six of their last seven games overall and have captured their last four DAC contests after starting 0-2 in the conference. La Porte sits third place in the DAC with a 4-2 conference mark.
Crown Point leads the DAC at 5-0 and travels to Merrillville on Saturday night. Michigan City sits in second with a 5-1 record. The Slicers close the conference schedule by traveling to City (14-4) next Friday night in the opener of another girls/boys varsity doubleheader.
“We started 0-2 and we’re on a roll now,” Riley Ott said. “Hopefully, we can keep that up against Michigan City next week.”
La Porte 68, Chesterton 54
Ryin Ott paced the Slicers with 21 points and 15 rebounds.