Reality check for La Porte
CROWN POINT — Having won seven of its last eight games and boasting a perfect 3-0 record in the Duneland Athletic Conference, the La Porte boys basketball team was riding a wave of confidence heading into Friday’s DAC contest against Crown Point.
But after the Slicers suffered their toughest setback of the season to the Bulldogs, a stinging 67-48 defeat, La Porte coach Kyle Benge summarized that his team might have had a little too much confidence.
“To be honest, we had one of our worst weeks of practices that we’ve had in months,” Benge admitted, as his team fell behind 18-6 after the first quarter and 36-11 at half. “I think the guys were a little too overconfident – and that is on myself and the coaching staff.
“It really wasn’t a shocker to our coaching staff given the practices we had, and we need to a better job at coaching up these guys. We’re at the point of the season that we need to lock in and have good practice after good practice.”
Garrott Ott-Large scored 12 points, and Drake Gunn added 10 points to lead the Slicers (9-6, 3-1), whose previous worse defeat was a 53-45 loss to Elkhart Memorial on Dec. 7. La Porte shot just 18-for-44 from the floor and 5-for-17 from the 3-point line.
“You have to give Crown Point a lot of credit,” Benge said. “(Crown Point) Coach (Clint) Swan is a great coach, and they took us out of everything we wanted to do offensively. We didn’t execute the way that we needed to. It’s one of those days that they were better than us. We tip our hat to them.”
Crown Point (8-6, 3-1) was led by the inside tandem of Elias Gerodemos (20 points) and Sam Decker (16 points) as well as guard Sam Snodgrass (10 points), while employing an aggressive defense which frustrated the efforts of La Porte’s usually devastating 3-point attack.
“Early on, we did a really good job defensively getting in the face of (La Porte’s) shooters and making it tough for them to see,” Swan said. “We took away a lot their shooting space, which makes a big difference in the outside shooters ability to get a shot off.
“We were able to get an early lead and extend it, and we did a good job of crashing the boards which is something we haven’t done as well. We got nine offensive rebounds in the first half, and that was huge for us.”
Benge admitted that it was just one of those nights that happens in a season, but he was also disappointed in the team’s energy level from the beginning.
“We always want to be a team that plays extremely hard regardless whether the shots are falling,” he said. “We didn’t do that for a while in the game, and that was the most disappointing. We didn’t have a whole lot of fight. Crown Point kind of hit us in the mouth in the beginning of the game.
“We usually hit back and kind of grind it out and get back into the game. For some reason, we just didn’t have it in us. Tonight is one of those games where you show up and you don’t have any energy and shots don’t go in. It’s one of those games.”
Ahead for La Porte is a 6:45 home game against Concord – a chance for the Slicers to immediately play -- which Benge is looking forward to seeing -- which will gauge the team’s pulse.
“I am glad we play (tonight), where we can see how we can bounce back and see character of this team,” he said. “When things are going well, you can be a good teammate, but when things are not going well is when you see the character of a person in a team.
(Concord’s) head coach, Derrick DeShone, was at New Prairie for a couple of years, and they run a little bit of the same system that we run. They are very well-coached and are going to play extremely hard. We need to show up.”
Crown Point 67, La Porte 48
Garrott Ott-Large’s 12 points led the Slicers.