CHESTERTON | When it came down to crunch time Friday, Valparaiso played like a team with five seniors on the floor.
Young Chesterton, in turn, showed its lack of whiskers.
Up two going to the fourth quarter, the Times No. 4 Vikings scored the next seven points, then did the rest with free throws and defense to claim a 55-48 Duneland Athletic Conference victory over the Trojans.
"We've got a great bunch of seniors," said Valpo coach Joe Otis, who recorded his 350th career win and improved to 8-0 against Chesterton. "They're great friends. They pick each other up. That's the nature of our team."
Patient Valpo (7-1, 4-1) took just three shots in the final eight minutes, but sealed the outcome at the line, where it went 13 of 20 in that span. Chesterton went scoreless in the period for over six minutes, momentarily drawing with 45-41 on a Cole Teal 3 off a steal, but Quentin Palmer notched a layup out of a press break to answer for the Vikings.
"That's not where you want to be against Valpo," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "They're so fundamental. They really run their stuff. They value every possession. We had 17 turnovers, a lot of them unforced, and you can't beat a good team like that."
The game was largely a defensive struggle save for one stretch in the third when the Vikings splashed four straight 3s, two apiece by John Mosser and Brody Wilson, to jump in front.
"(Brody and I) both feed off each other's energy," Mosser said. "We were looking for a run and we finally got it. We come in, in the morning and shot 3s and I was feeling confident with it. I don't want to just jack up shots, but if it's the best shot there is, I'll shoot it."
Mosser finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Palmer scored 15 points, while Palmer chipped in 13, eight of them in the fourth quarter.
"We've been encouraging John to shoot the 3. He's got a great stroke," Otis said. "When they have to go out and guard your big, it opens up other things."
Chesterton (3-4, 2-4) got a game-high 19 from Cole Teal, who drilled four treys, and 13 from Matt Holba.
"We've got to get everybody clicking," Peller said. "We can't have just one or two."
Valpo has now held six of its eight opponents under 50 points.
"They're tenacious defensively," Otis said. "They don't back down and they get in the passing lanes. I'm happy where we're at."