HAMMOND | Tyreon Gates was scoreless at halftime of Tuesday night's game between his Times No. 5 Bishop Noll Warriors and No. 7 Griffith.
After three quarters, his team led by only a point, and it looked like it was going to be a barn-burner, as the old folks used to say.
But that's when Gates and his teammates put the clamps on defensively. That propelled them to a 52-37 win over Griffith, which was coming off a monster upset of E.C. Central on Saturday.
“Defense sparks offense,” Gates said. “I knew if we picked up our defense, we'd start scoring, and that's what happened.”
Gaties had 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as Noll (16-2) forced seven turnovers in the final eight minutes and held the Panthers (13-3) to no field goals in the frame.
Griffith's points came from three free throws on five attempts.
“Tyreon is a great player when he doesn't make mistakes,” Noll coach Josh Belluomini said. “He didn't make any in the second half. We played good defense in the first half, but we took it to another level in the final half, and that helped us get this win.”
Griffith led 21-18 at halftime in a game with a pace as slow as a sleeping turtle. Noll came back and led 34-33 after three, but the Warriors owned the fourth quarter.
“We could not get any rhythm in our offense,” Griffith coach Gary Hayes said. “They are very athletic, and it was tough to get the ball where we wanted it to go.”
Tremell Murphy scored 15 points for the game, but was only 1-of-2 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Larry Crisler scored 13 for Noll and did a lot of great things beyond scoring. He had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“They pushed us off our spots. They played great defense on the perimeter, and we could not get any secondary breaks,” Hayes said. “I wanted to see what kind of effort we would get on the road after the big win on Saturday, and this shows me we have to get better.”