CALUMET TWP. — Failure is often the greatest teacher, right.

Bryson Jenkins transferred from Merrillville to E.C. Central and played his first game for the Cardinals in a 61-58 overtime loss Dec. 5 against Crown Point,

With less than five seconds to go in the game, he missed two free throws that cost his new team the game.

"I've been working on them a lot," Jenkins said on Saturday night.

The forward went 9 of 10 from the charity stripe at Calumet High School's Battle of the Borders Shootout in a game against Chicago Lindblom. He had a career-high 16 points with 11 rebounds in the 52-47 win.

"We need to rebound better and be more aggressive," Jenkins said of his team raising its record to 2-3. "We have to limit our turnovers. We had too many (Saturday)."

Lindblom was an athletic and aggressive team that caused the Cardinals issues handling the ball. But at the free throw line this game was won.

Chasing three with three minutes to go, E.C. kept knocking down free throws while the Eagles were 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter and 6-of-16 for the game.

Cardinals coach Marcus Jefferson said he pulled out the first-edition Dr. Dish machine with dust all over it and the team took passes from the contraption and worked on shots a lot this week.

From the field didn't improve much, but from the line it did.

"The best way to learn how to win is to win," Jefferson said. "We got in the gym and took a lot of shots and I think that helped us."

Juwan Jones scored nine points and Josh Morgan scored eight with 10 rebounds.

The Region went 4-1 against out-of-state teams on the day.

Crown Point played Mt. Carmel in the fourth game of the day at Calumet, the Bulldogs fourth game in four days. Mt. Carmel, however, was playing its sixth game in three days.

And it looked like it in the first quarter as C.P. went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc to take a 26-18 lead. The Caravan then turned up a relentless defensive pressure that resulted in a 63-56 win.

"They did an awesome job getting out on our shooters," C.P. coach Clint Swan said. "They played well in the middle quarters and we didn't have an answer for them."

Crown Point scored 16 points in the second and third quarters. Combined.

Sam Krutz hit three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes and finished with a team-high 17 points. Sam Decker added 10.

"One of the things we have to work on is handling pressure better," Krutz said. "But we keep fighting together. Our motto is to hustle, dive on the floor for lose balls, whatever it takes.

"We're confident. A lot of our losses have been us beating ourselves."

Crown Point (4-5) could not stop Mt. Carmel's Joshua Redic, who hit five 3-pointers and had a game-high 22 points.

In the first game of the day, Jordan Higgins scored 29 points to lead River Forest to a 65-58 win over Tinley Park, the Ingots (8-3) fifth straight win. Alex Mosqueda added 14 points and Daveon Murray had 10.

In Game 2, Bishop Noll (5-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 67-57 win over Milwaukee Madison 67-57. Brandon Scott led the way with 26 points and Morgan Grant had 15.

Host Calumet (4-3) beat DRW Prep 71-51. Charles Payne led the way with 22 and fellow sophomore Davion Davis had 14.

The Warriors held a nine-point lead in the first quarter using pressure defense and getting steals to spark the offense.

"When we play with defensive pressure and get steals we're pretty good," Calumet coach Dominique Nelson said. "Our defensive intensity allowed us to get the win."

This was the second year of the event, but first time it was five Region teams against five out-of-state teams.

"I like what they do at Highland," Nelson said of the holiday hoops fest down Ridge Road. "But I wanted to try something new. Different. We like how this year's matchups were and we're looking forward to something better next year."


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.