ST. JOHN | As quarters go, they don't get much better than the first eight minutes that Times No. 2 Lake Central fashioned Friday against Chesterton.
Then again, the third quarter came in a close second.
The Indians raced from the gates with a 28-point opening period, then put up 25 for good measure after the break, fueling a 77-45 Duneland Athletic Conference runaway.
"Those were some of our best stretches of the whole season," said Tyler Ross, who kick-started L.C. with 11 early points. "We had great practices all week. Our focus was to come out with as much energy as we can. It helped that we were able to run and gun, get up and down the court, and play as fast as possible."
L.C. (12-2, 4-0) did plenty of running and gunning, creating transition opportunities with its defense, sparked by Tye Wilburn (six steals). The Indians drilled all five of their 3-point tries in the first quarter, with Matt Meneghetti also burying a pair.
"We made the right decisions," L.C. coach Dave Milausnic said. "We made the extra pass, passing up a shot that we wouldn't have griped about taking to pass it to a guy for an even better shot. When you have a guy like Tyler Wideman in the middle, teams have to shade, double, and people have to recover. We found the breakdowns and we're finding the open man."
Chesterton (9-5, 2-2) never recovered, trailing by 36 after a third quarter that L.C. started with a 15-0 run. Wideman, who was scoreless in the first quarter, sparked the run with all nine of his points. The burst included two dunks, the second off a Wilburn theft and behind-the-back dime, the flashiest of his six assists.
"I know we played Bowman, but that's the best team we've played, bar none," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "Quickness, athleticism, strength. They get in passing lanes. They were hard for us to stop. The games we saw, (Ross) didn't make the 3 so we thought we could play off him and help on Wideman. It was boom, boom, boom right at the beginning. We couldn't cover everybody."
Ross led L.C., which was a sizzling 10 of 17 from deep, with 17 points. Meneghetti scored all 15 of his points from the arc, missing just one.
"We've been doing a lot of shooting drills and I had a good night," Ross said. "Teams have to help on (Wideman) and our guards are driving, so I'm getting open looks. We were all knocking them down."
Save for missed breakaway slam attempt, Wilburn was close to perfect, picking up a dozen points to accompany his floor game.
"It really started with him, his defense," Milausnic said. "He finds people. He gets steals, deflections. Chesterton's beaten some good teams with (Cole) Teal. Tonight just wasn't their night."
Chris Palombizio and Jake Wasielewski (nine boards) each posted 13 points for Chesterton, which shot 35 percent and made 17 turnovers.