Answering the challenge

December 29, 2018

RICHTON PARK, Ill. — After Michigan City committed far too many turnovers in Thursday’s loss to Chicago Marshall at the Rich South Big Dipper Tournament, Wolves coach John Boyd wanted to see his team return to the basics that had helped City win five of its first eight basketball games.

Not only did City keep its turnover total in the single-digit category in Friday’s consolation game against Chicago Bowen, all 10 Wolves’ players who suited up found the scorebook, and all played a part in the team’s 73-32 win over the Boilermakers.

Freshman Omarian Hatch led a balanced City attack with 11 points, while sophomore Evan Bush, junior Dez’Mand Hawkins and senior Rayshon Howard all scored nine points apiece for the Wolves (6-4). Michigan City jumped out of the gate with a 17-4 first quarter and never looked back.

“I thought we had a better effort today,” Boyd said. “We had less turnovers, but we still have a long way to go. We’re such a young team, and we tend to get down on ourselves. We have to get that confidence, but it was good to get a victory in a tournament like this.

“We were playing another team that is again relentless. These teams from the Chicagoland area are never going to quit, but we were able to get some good looks, move the ball around and play a lot of kids, which wore them out. We need to work on our rebounding, but I thought the guys played well today.”

A total of eight Wolves players scored in the pivotal first quarter and nine in a 24-6 third quarter that saw the team extend a 32-14 half lead to a 56-20 stranglehold with eight minutes left. In all, City shot almost 50 percent from the floor, shooting 26-for-56 on the day.

“We were able to get our young kids in the game and get them the varsity experience that is so important, because it’s going to be a long ride,” Boyd said. “We still have 14 to 15 games left in the regular season, so we definitely need to get the guys more experience out there.

“Hatch definitely came on strong in the fourth quarter and Bullock really cleaned the glass real well today, as well as getting his first high school dunk.”

In the midst of the six budding underclassmen, Howard remains one of the anchors of City’s success. The four-year varsity starter just missed a double-double on Friday with 11 rebounds to go with his nine points, and remains a steady inside-out force for the Wolves.

“Rayshon always works hard and doesn’t give you any problems,” Boyd said. “He’s a really skilled player; he crashes the boards for us and does a lot of little things. He’s a smart player with a very high IQ. We continue to lean on his shoulders.”

City will look to close out the tournament with a 2-2 record when it faces Butler on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the fifth-place consolation contest.

“We want to walk out of here with that fifth-place trophy,” Boyd said.

Michigan City 73, Chicago Bowen 32

Omarian Hatch paced the balanced Wolves with 11 points.

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