CHESTERTON | Teal was the color of money Tuesday for Chesterton.
Trojans senior guard Cole Teal busted a surprisingly open 22-footer with 4.6 seconds left to lift Times No. 7 Chesterton a dramatic 58-57 victory over No. 5 E.C. Central.
"Two times in a row it happened," said Teal, who also drained a 3 with 16.9 seconds left to bring the Trojans (4-1) within a point. "As soon as I released it, I heard Chris (Palombizio) yelling at me, 'I'm open! I'm open!' I was like, 'Please go in,' because if I didn't make it, Chris was going to give me hell."
E.C.'s Hyron Edwards, who endured a 1-of-15 shooting night, had a runner in the lane roll off the rim as time expired. The Division I prospect missed three of six free throws in the late going, including one at 11.7 that left the margin at two. Teal brought the ball up the left side and with little pressure, pulled up on the wing for an uncontested look.
"I had a '1-4 low' called (for Teal)," Trojans coach Tom Peller said of the last play. "I told Cole if he felt in rhythm, he could make the call (on the shot). That's a senior leader making a great play at crunch time. It was time to win the game and Cole was ready to do it. I could tell. He had that look in his eyes. He knows what he's supposed to do."
Teal scored eight of his 18 points in the last 1:24.
"Coach trusts me," Teal said. "But this isn't about me. It's about us. The biggest thing is we found a way. It was a game of runs back and forth. Two good teams. Crazy things happen."
The teams were separated by no more than six points, that coming in the fourth quarter when E.C. strung seven in a row to turn a 43-42 deficit into a 49-43 lead. In position to take a stronger hold on the game, the Cardinals came up empty at the rim on consecutive possessions. Chesterton crept back within a point on a Palombizio 3 after a Jake Wasielewski bucket.
"We kept our composure," Peller said. "I thought that was a key when we got down six. We didn't panic. We showed some growth there."
Teal made half of the Trojans' 10 3s. Palombizio scored 23 points, including four treys, and made seven of eight at the foul line. Chesterton hoisted 24 shots from beyond the arc.
"Our offense is pretty much keep passing, ball reversals," Teal said. "We only take open looks. We're all good shooters."
Despite his struggles form the field, Edwards still led E.C. (4-3) in scoring with 15, making 13 of 17 free throws. Damien Jefferson, an impressive 6-foot-4 sophomore, propped up the Cards through the first half, notching 12 of his 14 points. He nabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Jalen Blackmon picked up 11 points,
"We really paid a lot of attention to (Edwards)," Peller said. "I thought Andrew Ralph did a tremendous job on him -- he's our best defender -- with Niles Dilosa switching in. We also switched defenses, going zone to man to a different zone, to try to keep them off kilter."
The Cardinals have lost three games by six points.