CHESTERTON — On a team with experience and proven scoring, Tyler Nelson started the season just hoping not to mess up.

Deep into the schedule, the Chesterton sophomore has matured from the other guy on the floor to a solid contributor.

"Coach (Marc Urban) tells me and Kolton (Cardenas) the best thing we can do is just play basketball, keep learning," Nelson said after his career-high 15 points helped the Times No. 1 Trojans turn back Michigan City 73-67 in the Duneland Athletic Conference on Thursday.

"I feel it's made me more confident. I'm a lot more comfortable within the offense. (Austin Peterson's) such a good scorer, it helps me get open shots."

Nelson scored 11 third-quarter points, including eight — two 3s and a steal/layup in a 10-2 Trojans surge that took the margin from two to 10.

"I didn't really notice," Nelson said. "We had that one possession where we all slapped the floor on defense and that really got me going. My whole body felt good."

Nelson complemented the veteran cast of Peterson (24 points), Ky Palombizio (14, four steals) and Jake Wadding (12, seven rebounds) as Chesterton (16-2, 4-1) shot 61 percent from the floor and 47 percent from the arc.

"We didn't settle for the first 3s. We got it down low to guys and they were able to finish and get to the line," Urban said. 'The guys understand we're so much better when we share the basketball, when we keep it moving. Tyler just keeps getting better and better. It took him a little while, but he's really athletic and eager to learn. (Peterson's) feeling better. We knew it all along, we just didn't know how long it would take."

The Trojans raced to a 26-15 first-quarter lead with a textbook eight minutes in which they made 11 of 14 shots with six assists and six players scoring.

City (8-11, 3-1) went to pressure to get Chesterton out of its offensive rhythm and worked its way back into the game, drawing within four at the half. Down 56-44 after three, the Wolves made another run behind its defense to climb within four twice in the fourth quarter. It had the ball down four inside of 30 seconds, but turned it over.

"We were effective at pressuring, but we have to be able to secure the ball when we pressure," City coach John Boyd said. "We get a steal and then we'd give it back. Chesterton showed their poise and we showed our inexperience, but we showed we're a team that's going to be there at the end. We're a team that's growing each and every game. We're a dangerous team. They don't really understand how good they can be."

Like Chesterton, M.C. put four players in double figures, led by Rayshon Howard's 20. Will Hanyard added 12. Jaivion Reid 11 and Alex Thomas 10.

"A lot of times, you don't know what they're in and that makes it difficult," Urban said. "It looks like they're in a 2-3 (zone), then they'll trap out of it, then it looks like they're in man and they'll trap again. They do a good job disguising it. We did a good job, especially late, of finding the windows and getting baskets."

Chesterton has won seven in a row, while the loss ended a four-game Wolves streak.


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.