GARY | Think about this for a moment.
Times' No. 1 Munster, with coach Mike Hackett cracking the whip, has lost just 10 games the past five seasons. To them, losing is as nasty as spinach is to a 5-year-old.
Friday night, the Mustangs moved a step closer to possibly claiming the school's first state basketball championship by beating host West Side, 62-46, in the 4A sectional semifinals.
“This is the second season. The first season, we went 22-0 but that's over,” Hackett said. “It's now about toughness, physically and mentally.
“Everybody's a little banged up but it's how you overcome it by being tougher than the other guy.”
Munster (24-0) faces defending champion Lake Central (15-7) in tonight's title game. The two met earlier this season and the Mustangs prevailed 67-57.
Drew Hackett's 15 points led the winners. Nate Bubash added 14 and Mike Sclotman 10 as Munster shot 64 percent from beyond the arc, nailing 7 of 11 attempts.
“It's a big part of our offense. We have multiple guys who are comfortable shooting the 3,” Mike Hackett said.
Arnold Wilson's 15 points paced the Cougars (12-8) of first-year coach Murray Richards. Darius Bates had 12.
“To beat a good West Side team on their floor and do it handily says a lot about our team,” Mike Hackett said. “We outrebounded them, held them to under 40 percent shooting, and made 19 of our 23 free throws.”
The long-range shooting in key stretches kept the Cougars at bay.
“That's mostly our strong point,” Drew Hackett said. “If we're open, we'll knock it down. We know our roles, we play together and we play smart.”
In the opener, Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic said he wanted to give Mike Miklusak “more touches” and the 6-foot-6 senior showed his appreciation with game-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Indians rolled, 70-36.
Morton, with a bye into the semifinals, fell behind 16-0 and trailed 25-4 after just the first quarter.
“Everything worked for us tonight,” Miklusak said. “The offense did a nice job getting the ball where it needed to be. We've got to carry that over to the sectional championship.”
Tyler Wideman added 12 points and eight rebounds for L.C. (15-7).
Carl Murry and Eleazar Henderson led the Governors (10-11) with 10 points apiece.