LAPORTE | Opportunity knocked for Brandon Roeske on Friday and the Chesterton junior answered.
Given his first varsity start by Trojans coach Tom Peller, Roeske responded with a team-high 11 points that helped Chesterton resist LaPorte 56-42 at Slicer Gym.
"Coach told me this morning before walk through," Roeske said. "He told me I was going to start, play more, we'll see what happens, and go from there. I was definitely excited instead of coming off the bench, but I was also a little nervous because I haven't played as much at this stage. I was just trying to go out and play my game, not do anything fancy, and when the opportunity came, take advantage."
Roeske did, scoring all of his points, including his first three 3s of the season, in the middle quarters.
"Those things didn't show up on the scouting report," LaPorte coach Tom Wells said. "We made an all-American out of him."
Roeske's timing was crucial, too. His back-to-back second-quarter treys helped the Trojans (4-4, 3-3 DAC) break out of a 16-all tie. In the third, he scored inside, then swished another triple to steady Times No. 9 Chesterton after the Slicers drew within 29-26.
"Brandon was a real pleasant surprise. Matt (Holba) was struggling early and he gave us a good lift," Peller said. "He's been shooting well. We thought it was time to give him a shot and see what he can do with extended minutes. He had something to show."
Jacob Andert added three 3s for balanced Chesterton, which got 10 points from Chris Palombizio, all in the first half, nine from Corey Rusboldt and eight from Holba (11 rebounds). All of Holba's points came in the fourth quarter.
"Our depth really helped," said Peller who used 12 players. "Matt was a big factor defensively even if he wasn't scoring. We did a great job on the boards, which is something we emphasized all week."
Chesterton claimed 10 offensive rebounds and took five charges, which contributed to LaPorte's 14 turnovers.
"It's been the same recipe for us in quite a few games," Wells said. "We hold teams in the low 50s, but we can't get there. You don't have a lot of room for error when you have to play games at that score."
Gage Ott and Josh Fleming, who came in averaging a combined 34.9 points per game, managed 18 between them, shooting a 7 for 25. Peller mixed up defenses, using a box-and-one on Fleming, as well as his mainstay 1-3-1 and some man-to-man.
"We wanted to keep fresh guys on (Fleming)," Peller said.
LaPorte (1-8, 0-6) shot 2 for 13 from deep, while Chesterton sizzled at 8 of 15. Roeske and Andert were 6 from 7.
"I worked at (my outside shooting) in the off-season," Roeske said. "Coach has given me the ability to shoot it in practice. If I'm free, I'll take it. That just opens up other opportunities."