GRIFFITH | Griffith’s Chad Noldin wasn’t holding back.
The senior center, playing in his final home game for the Panthers, matched a career-high with 17 points and added five rebounds to help Griffith rally past pesky Times No. 9 Portage 47-41 Friday night in both teams’ regular-season finales.
“Nobody was hitting jumpers and that’s usually when we get in trouble,” Noldin said. “I knew we had to pound it inside and I was just looking for the ball and taking it to the rack.”
Griffith (15-6) went scoreless for over six minutes of the first quarter and trailed 21-18 at the half. The Indians (12-10), who came in red-hot on a five-game winning streak, gave the Panthers all they wanted.
“Hats off to Portage. They got their heads handed to them (when the seniors) were sophomores,” Griffith coach Gary Hayes said. “I was very impressed with how hard they work. They play IU old man-to-man defense and stick you. They were relentless inside the free throw line.”
Portage was coming off Thursday’s roadtrip to Rensselaer, but you couldn’t see much rust. The game saw eight lead changes and eight ties. The Indians had plenty of chances, but hit only 13-of-24 free throws. They still survived as well after senior Peter Psomadelis got a double technical with 2:39 left in the third quarter. Griffith’s Flint Powell hit 3-of-4 free throws to build a 33-27 lead, but Portage still battled back and forced three ties in the fourth quarter and even led 40-38 with 2:38 left.
Griffith, however, outscored Portage 9-1 in the final two minutes.
“We knew this would be a tough one,” Hayes said. “We always struggle when we settle for jump shots. It was nice to get the high-low game going with Chad and Tremell (Murphy). We need that two-headed monster to get us going offensively.”
Powell had 13 points and three assists for the Panthers, while Jordan Collazo and David Clegg had 11 points each for the Indians.