Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.

ST. JOHN — Lake Central has one of the Region's top student sections. These kids are fun, crazy, loud and supportive.

But on Friday night at home, they held up two Fatheads of the opposing coach, Chesterton's Marc Urban.

There were moments when the fans were pretending to break the Fathead over their knee, while everyone else went crazy. Then in a quiet moment in the Duneland Athletic Conference foray, a voice was heard.

"We love you, Urban."

Such a peace train usually doesn't run on these tracks.

Urban graduated from Lake Central in 2001. He began teaching and coaching the Indians in 2006. He was an assistant for boys hoops coach Dave Milausnic for six years, then was the girls basketball head coach for four years.

His love affair with his alma mater ended, though, when the boys basketball job at Chesterton opened. Friday night was Urban's first trip home for a game.

"I wouldn't have left if I didn't feel I could be successful here," Urban said. "I was around great people here. I'm around great people at Chesterton. I've been blessed to be around great people at both places."

His Trojans won the hard-fought game 60-53. The team he used to cheer for gave 110 percent, like always, but this year Chesterton has more pieces in the pie.

The victorious players looked up at a sign hanging on the north wall of the gym during warmups that more than motivated them.

It read, "URBS, YOU DESERVE BETTER." — LC student section.

After the win, Chesterton's Ky Palombizio, Tyler Nelson and Kolton Cardenas took the signage down. There is a rumor it might hang in Urban's garage moving forward.

"I went and cut it down with my car keys," Palombizio said. "It was awesome. It felt so good. Once we looked up and saw that, it certainly fueled our fire."

Urban coached in the first varsity basketball game in the new gym three years ago, wearing blue at that time. One of his best friends is L.C. assistant Andy Gurnak.

This homecoming was tough and emotional, but Urban was pleased with the way his team competed and impressed by the effort of his old homestead's squad.

"They play hard, together, and that's a credit to (Milausnic) and his staff," Urban said. "They do things the right way here and I was happy to be a part of it."

Urban coached two of Lake Central's all-time greats: Glenn Robinson III and Tyler Wideman. That kind of top-floor talent isn't on the roster this year.

But this Lake Central team plays as hard as anyone around and, if I was a coach in the Region, it's the last team I'd want to draw in the sectional opener.

Palombizio led the Trojans with 18, Austin Peterson had 14, and Jake Wadding added 11. Since getting blown out by Merrillville a few weeks ago, Chesterton is the hottest team in Northwest Indiana.

I know it.

You should know it.

And, by now, the Lake Central student section understands it.

"No, I've never had a Fathead of myself in the other team's student section before," Urban laughed before the long bus ride to his new home.

Where, more than likely, he'll be hanging something in his garage with a smile on his face.

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This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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