CROWN POINT | It doesn't get much closer.
Times No. 1 Crown Point and No. 3 Merrillville tied in points, 29-29. The teams tied in the next five sets of tiebreaking criteria, also.
The sixth tiebreaker is technical falls. The Pirates got one from Bobby Stevenson at 170 and because the Bulldogs had none, Merrillville won the Duneland Athletic Conference match 30-29.
The win over C.P. is the first for the Pirates since the 2008 semistate.
"I worry about getting our kids better. I never worry about that stat stuff," coach Dave Maldonado said. "The state championship isn't scored until February."
Merrillville had a 29-23 lead going into the final match at 126, but decided to forfeit the match between Adam Garcia and Crown Point's Josh Fuqua. A forfeit counts as a pin on the scoreboard, so the move effectively tied the meet.
Garcia was sick this week, Maldonado said.
"If we didn't have to use him, we didn't want to use him," Maldonado said. "He was iffy and we did some juggling around and we thought we could win without him. This time of year it's about keeping our kids healthy."
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 6 in the state by Indianamat.com with Merrillville at No. 10. Between the two teams, there are 12 individual wrestlers ranked in the Panko Strength and Speed polls.
The key match was at 106, where Merrillville's Michael Garza -- ranked No. 7 in Indiana-- was nearly upset. C.P.'s Riley Akers was inches away from pinning Garza early and led 5-0, but the Pirate junior clawed his way back to an 11-7 win.
"I think all of the matches were good matches and were tough matches," Maldonado said. "If (Garza) doesn't do it, or (Stevenson) doesn't get the tech, or (Eric) DeLuna doesn't get that big fall for us at 182, (we don't win)."
At 145, the match between Crown Point's Trevor Burlison and Merrillville's Willie Armstrong came down to the wire. Burlison notched a takedown with 1:11 remaining to take a 7-6 lead, but Armstrong came back with one of his own and held on to win 9-8.
"We didn't win. That's the bottom line," Bulldogs coach Scott Vlink said. "We let a couple matches get away from us and we can't give up bonus points. That's the bottom line."