The disappointment of finishing second in The Times Region Roundball Rumble Shootout the last two years was fresh in the mind of Crown Point's Abby Kvachkoff when she walked into the Hammond Civic Center on Wednesday.
With that weight on her shoulders, Kvachkoff trotted onto the court the same way she does during games for the Bulldogs – fully confident in her ability to hit the 3-pointer.
Kvachkoff's confidence was easily recognizable, as she led all scorers with 20 points after the first two qualifying rounds before earning the championship.
“It feels great to finally win first,” Kvachkoff said. “It's kind of disappointing two years in a row to get second. As a senior, it would have been really disappointing since it's my last year, but I felt like I could win first this year. It was really exciting to actually win this year.”
The win didn't come easy for Kvachkoff, as she and Hobart's Marissa Chabes both scored 10 in the final round, forcing a tie-breaking shootout with Kvachkoff scoring nine points in that round to Chabes' seven. Kvachkoff made her last five shots to force the tie.
“I had great competition,” said Kvachkoff, who is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range this season. “They're all really nice girls who have really nice shots. I knew I had to get all the balls in the last rack, so I took my time to get all of them. It was very nerve-racking, but very exciting at the same time.”
Matt Meneghetti admits all he can really do as a basketball player is shoot 3-pointers. The Lake Central senior certainly showed that ability in scoring 14 points in the championship round of the boys shootout to walk away with first place.
Meneghetti had a combined score of 14 points in the first two rounds.
“The first two rounds, I was shaky. I was a little nervous,” said Meneghetti, who was the last shooter in the first round.
As the first shooter in the final round of five, Meneghetti knew he had to have a strong performance to set the table for the competition. It worked, as no other competitor made more than seven points in the final round.
Meneghetti set a Lake Central school record last season, making 47 percent of his 3-pointers. His success from beyond the arc has developed immensely over the last few seasons.
“Just watching great shooters like J.J. Redick, Jimmer (Fredette) and Ray Allen,” Meneghetti said of his shot development. “Just watching it on T.V. and adding my own flair to it.”