MERRILLVILLE | It's been an up-and-down season for Chesterton's Corey Rusboldt.
Expected to be a scoring complement to Chris Palombizio and Cole Teal, the Trojans senior guard has struggled on the offensive end.
That all changed in a hurry Wednesday at Andrean. Rusboldt lit it up for 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers, to stake the Trojans to a lead that they held for much of the opening 16 minutes of play.
Rusboldt's teammates Jake Wasielewski and Palombizio took it from there, fueling a dominant 25-7 third quarter that carried the Trojans (9-3) to an easy 69-46 victory.
"Corey really gave us a great start," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "He's been playing better, more consistent. If he can keep playing like that, wow ..."
Peller wasn't happy with much else from the first 16 minutes, but that didn't last long. Chesterton quickly pushed the margin to 10 in the first 1:37 of the third on a pair of Wasielewski layups and a twisting drive by Palombizio.
"I wasn't happy," Peller said of the first half. "We dialed it up. We came out and had great effort. We were more patient. We got inside shots. Bam, bam, bam, it went from four to 10. We set a good pace. Our defense was solid. We didn't give them any second-chance opportunities. We got on a roll there."
Wasielewski feasted inside in the quarter, notching nine of his 13 points. Palombizio matched him in the period, working inside and outside. Andrean, at one point, had more air balls (four) than points (three) for the stanza.
"We always tell our kids, especially in close games, you have to come out with the same intensity the first three minutes of the third quarter," Andrean coach Scott Hicko said. "You don't have another halftime. The intensity in the building drops. People are out getting popcorn. Chesterton played harder than us, which is something we need to correct. They pushed us out of a lot of our offensive sets. We stood around. We didn't cut hard. We let them take everything away."
Palombizio finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Niles Dilosa chipped in 11 points, highlighted by a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter. Trent Weller was productive at the point guard spot, handing out five assists.
"Chris was solid the second half, passing, scoring, defense," Peller said. "Trent's playing his role really well. Niles has unlimited potential."
No one scored in double figures for Times No. 10 Andrean. Nick Podkul had nine points at the break, but finished with that total.
"When you have things to work on like we do, you need to practice and we didn't practice (Tuesday)," Hicko said. "That's not the reason we lost, but it didn't help."
The 59ers (6-4), who hadn't played in 11 days due to a postponement with Lafayette Central Catholic on Saturday, had its six-game winning streak snapped, while Chesterton extended its own string to five.