MICHIGAN CITY — For young teams grinding through the struggles of a tough season, there's nothing more precious than a close win.
Crown Point and Michigan City were in that same boat in Tuesday's Duneland Athletic Conference makeup game and it was the Wolves who came away smiling, surviving two last-second shots by the Bulldogs to prevail 46-44.
"We can't do something easy," City coach John Boyd said. "Unfortunately, we let it get close. If we had hit some free throws, we would've had a little cushion. Sometimes, you've got to win ugly. That doesn't matter. All it says is it's a win."
Will Hanyard split a pair of free throws with 13.1 seconds left for the two-point margin. C.P. (5-8, 0-3) got a clean shot out of the corner from Sam Decker, but his 3 rimmed off, as did as a Cam Pimentel put-back try.
"We had a couple great looks," Bulldogs coach Clint Swan said. "We made the read and it was there. We got a rare offensive rebound. We just didn't knock them down. We've struggled to score."
City (6-10, 2-0) overcame a 38-32 deficit early in the fourth quarter, its defensive pressure rattling C.P.
"We knew Crown Point was having difficulty with ball control," Boyd said. "Nobody (in the DAC) has that one stud point guard who is managing the game to the max. (Pressure) is one of the staples of our team. We sat on it the first half because I thought we might get in foul trouble, then the second half, we were a lot more aggressive."
Jaivion Reid was a catalyst for the Wolves with four steals, scoring eight of his 15 points in the third quarter to keep his team close when the Bulldogs threatened to pull away, leading by as much as seven.
"The coaches wanted to be a scorer," Reid said of his move to the two guard. "They felt moving me (off the point) would put me in a better position. I feel more comfortable. I just focus on playing defense and getting buckets."
M.C. went in front 41-40 on a score by Rayshon Howard with 4:39 and never trailed again, though that didn't mean it wasn't tenuous. After the Bulldogs drew within 45-44 on free throws by Decker at 1:47, a one-minute sequence included a Wolves miss, a Crown Point turnover, a Crown Point steal, a Wolves steal and a Wolves charge.
"The pressure got to us," Swan said. "It sped us up a little bit and got us off our spots. We weren't able to get into our offense when they turned up the heat. The kids are playing really, really hard. I can't say anything about the effort. We've just got to try to keep making strides."
Elias Gerodemos led C.P. with 13 points. Decker had 10.
Daijon Reddix backed Reid with 10 and Howard added nine.
"We've found a lineup, a group we're comfortable with," said Boyd, who recently moved Hanyard to the point. "They're meshing. We don't have that one superstar. We have to play together to win games. With Will running the one, he's able to secure the ball and we're able to close out games. He brings a quiet poise."