LAPORTE | When all other students in the region were sleeping in because of cancelled school this week, Tye Wilburn would have none of it.
"I don't sleep in," the Lake Central senior said. "I never take a break. If you take a break, someone out there is working harder than you are to get better."
Wilburn scored a game-high 18 points, including the first five against LaPorte as the Indians easily captured their Duneland Athletic Conference opener 65-46 Friday.
"Tye has been really big for us all year," L.C. coach Dave Milausnic said. "I think there's no one playing basketball in the region better than he is right now. He's guarding the other team's best player, and each and every game he's been big for us."
Fans were hoping the conference matchup, pitting the two conference tournament winners against each other, would be a barn burner.
With Wilburn on fire and the defense holding LaPorte to two points in the first quarter, the Slicers never really had a chance.
Tyler Wideman chipped in 13 points, 11 in the second half.
"They beat us at all five positions. At every position they beat us," LaPorte coach Tom Wells said. "We looked at a shot chart at halftime, of their 29 shots, 20 of them were one big blob. We didn't defend in the post and we couldn't keep Wilburn in front of us."
The Slicers (7-3, 0-1), down 29-13 at halftime, used a short run in the third quarter to pull within 11. Lake Central would have none of it, taking a 10-0 run and holding LaPorte without a point for more than four minutes.
"It's pretty obvious (Lake Central) has played in some pretty big games, and games that had magnitude, important games," Wells said. "I don't think we handled the magnitude very well."
Milausnic said he saw more effort in the first quarter, and waited for his team to refocus in the second half, leading to the lapse and LaPorte runs. The Slicers' last points of the game, a 3 by Gage Ott with 2:13 remaining to come within 12 points, were followed by a quick seven by L.C. that closed out the game.
"The energy was good out of the gates and that gave us confidence," Milausnic said. "On the other end of that, I think in the second half we didn't have the same effort."
"It's always good to get a good start, and go out and win against LaPorte," Wilburn said. "We came out with our heads on correctly."