GARY | Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic readily admitted he wouldn't be in a good mood had it not been for the efforts of junior Mike Miklusak.
Miklusak was the main reason Lake Central stayed in the game after a poor first half, regrouping for a 66-56 win against Munster in the opener of the Class 4A West Side Sectional.
"I was feeling just how I feel every game: warm and ready to shoot," said Miklusak, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half. "I was coming off screens hard and trying to get people open. I felt good the whole game."
Milausnic was pleased that Miklusak could step up, especially considering Glenn Robinson III was held to just one free throw in the first half. The Indians were also unable to take advantage of 11 first-half fouls from Munster, as L.C. mustered a 4-of-10 effort from the free-throw line before halftime.
"It was very important," Milausnic said of Miklusak. "He had a heck of a game, and we had four guys in double figures. Hopefully, that sends a message that we're still a tough team to beat if two or three guys are guarding Glenn."
Munster held a 29-23 lead at halftime, but a new-found intensity emerged as soon as the Indians took the floor in the third quarter, which opened the offensive floodgates.
L.C. (19-2) would start the third quarter on a 15-2 run, taking a 38-31 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Leading that effort was Tye Wilburn, who put up 10 points (16 for the game) to help the Indians dig out of their hole.
"Me, Taylor (Lehnert) and Tye knew we had to step up pretty hard," Miklusak said. "(Wilburn) was really important to get us the lead and slow us down on offense a little bit. He got some open looks, so we didn't have to rush anything."
Munster (17-4), which jumped to an 11-4 lead early, eventually succumbed to the grinding post play of L.C.‘s Tyler Wideman in the second half.
"They're just too big, too strong and too good for us if they decided to (go inside)," Munster coach Mike Hackett said. "Nate (Bubash) was banging and pushing, but eventually got worn down. Once they got out in front of us, it was hard for us to catch up."