City gets the message
MICHIGAN CITY — “What are we doing?!”
An impatient offense, a wide-open Portage 3 and a quick three-point play off a turnover quickly cut a 12-point Michigan City lead in half and prompted Wolves coach Mike Megyese to not only pose that question to his five on the floor, but call a timeout in the second quarter of Friday’s Duneland Athletic Conference game.
“I wasn’t real happy with our defense in the first half,” Megyese said. “We talked in the scouting report about how they love to drive and kick, and they hit a couple 3s. We took about three outside shots in a row by three people. I said to them, that’s not what we’re all about. If we’re playing a team with three bigs, maybe then, but that wasn’t the case. We knew they didn’t have an answer for any of our bigs.”
City (3-1, 1-0) got Megyese’s message, promptly delivering the ball inside to Hannah Noveroske. The 6-foot-4 senior center scored the next three baskets, pushing the margin back to a dozen at the half and the Wolves poured it on after the break to power to a 69-41 victory.
“We had the advantage,” Noveroske said after posting a 24-point, 12-rebound, four-block, three-assist stat line. “Part of it was (not going inside early). Their press was kind of tough on us. We’re going to have to eliminate those errors and work even harder. Part of it was our defense. It was kind of rough at the beginning. The coaches were calling different defenses, we had to switch it up on the fly, make sure we understood what we were doing and execute it. Once we understood what we had to do, we got back into it and were able to build on (the lead).”
City took the margin up to 21 in the third quarter and led by as many as 31 in the fourth.
“Obviously, they’re going to be able to pound the ball inside better than we can, get easier baskets,” said Portage coach Marc Bruner, who has no player over 5-10 to combat the three Wolves 6-foot or taller. “But there are things we can do better than them and better than a lot of teams we play, and we’re just not doing it. At some point, when we turn them over, we’ve got to be able to put it in the hoop.”
The Wolves committed 22 turnovers, but the Indians (2-4, 0-1) largely negated any opportunities they created with their pressure by turning the ball over, which they did 20 times themselves, or simply not making baskets as it shot 24 percent.
“We are concerned about (the turnovers),” Megyese said. “We threw the ball away too many times. I’d say about five of those came on balls that were just thrown out of bounds. We were just making bonehead plays. It was nothing the opponent did. If we don’t do that, it’s 14, 15, which isn’t terrible. In a perfect world, we’re around 10. We took (their outside shots) away in the third quarter. I was really happy we stayed with the game plan. Portage is a quick team and we didn’t let them get by us. They moved their feet.”
Janicia Anderson backed Noveroske with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Trinity Thompson contributed 11 points, all in the first half. City shot 55 percent with 49 points from its triple towers.
“Once the kids understood what we wanted to accomplish, they did a much better job,” Megyese said. “Trinity did a really nice job getting us started, Janicia played a great game all the way around and Hannah’s just Hannah.”
The game was taken in by several players and coaches from Marquette, which takes on City this afternoon.
“They’re really good,” Megyese said. “We have to play a lot better than we did to beat them.”
Michigan City 69, Portage 41
Hannah Noveroske had 24 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.