CALUMET TWP. | Tyreon Gates wasn’t on Bishop Noll’s basketball team his freshman year, so he missed a chance to cut down a piece of the net after Noll won the Greater South Shore Conference that season.
Saturday at Calumet, the Noll senior made sure he tickled the net multiple times before taking his latest souvenir piece down.
Gates broke open a tight game with a pair of late 3-pointers in the final minutes and led Bishop Noll with 19 points as the Warriors captured their fourth consecutive GSSC tournament title with a 64-48 win over Lake Station.
“We got out momentum back and got our groove back,” Gates said. “To be part of another championship is great. Let’s hope they get a five-peat next year. I feel like we’re progressing every day in practice.”
Gates kept Times No. 5 Bishop Noll (11-2) in the game in the first quarter and drained a corner 3 that started Noll on a game-ending barrage after the No. 9 Eagles (9-4) had trimmed the Warriors’ lead to 46-44 with 4:23 to go in the game.
“I broke my foot over the summer, and now I’m just getting my groove back,” Gates said.
After B.J. Neals scored inside for Lake Station to cut the lead to 46-44, Noll got triples from Marquis Tarver (16 points), Roman Penn and then two back breakers from Gates. The first made the score 55-45 with 2:23 to go, and the second got the buses started with 1:18 left and the Warriors up 61-48.
“When we got down the stretch we turned it on,” Bishop Noll coach Joshua Belluomini said. “Unfortunately we always wait to make a run every game.
“Winning this was a really great accomplishment this year. This conference got a lot better this year, so it means a lot more to win it.”
Larry Crisler, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Noll, was the only Warrior in uniform in 2011 when Noll started its current streak of tourney titles.
The first piece of cut net was handed to longtime fan and Class of 1950 BNI grad Ron Partyka, who has missed only a handful of games in the last half century.
Noll senior Mike Jakubielski scored eight consecutive points in the second quarter to turn a game of rotating leads into a 27-14 Noll lead.
Lake Station stayed in the game with the speed and precision of Dwayne Haden, who had 19 points. Neals added 12 for the Eagles, whose zone befuddled Noll at times until the late run from beyond the arc.
“These guys have been looking forward to this for a year since we lost to them in this game last year,” Lake Station coach Bob Burke said. “They’re not scared of anybody, and we were right there with them for 29 minutes before they caught fire and hit those 3s.”