MICHIGAN CITY | It was like a game of H-O-R-S-E. But not the kind in your own driveway. It was the kind played on the road.
But Valparaiso senior guard Adam Butterfield preferred it that way. At the Class 4A Michigan City Regional semifinal on Saturday morning, "Butter" made himself quite at home inside the Wolves' Den.
Butterfield hit his first three 3-pointers, the last one from 28 feet, and he set the tone. And the color was a brilliant Vikings green as they held on to beat Concord 54-48.
Valpo (16-8) hit 12 treys on its way to the win.
"I love this gym," Butterfield said of the place his team shocked everyone in winning the sectional last week. And now, another jaw-dropper by the Vikings set up a rematch against Munster in Saturday night's championship game.
"I like this gym better than our home gym," Butterfield added.
Classmate Jay Doane is probably thinking the same thing. He also had four 3-pointers in the first half, which the Vikings led 33-23, but Doane hit two in each of the first two quarters.
"Butter was hitting," Doane said. "I was hitting. I don't know what -- we were all hitting."
But Concord (15-9) was big, strong and physical. The Minutemen powered the ball inside in the second half and got back into the game. Valpo coach Joe Otis was amazed by the 12 putbacks Concord was able to put down.
Junior Jason Spriggs, a 6-foot-8 load, and 6-foot-6 sophomore Frankie House led a strong comeback. They got within one on their first possession of the fourth quarter, but the veteran Valpo squad never relinquished the lead.
Jerrick Suiter's 3-pointer two minutes into the fourth got the lead out to six. Suiter continually passed well out of the post to the open shooters, who for much of the season had missed the looks they made on Saturday morning.
"We're looking more like a Joe Otis coached team," Otis said, looking back at his teams at LaPorte, which knocked down long-range bombs like most people breathe. "We struggled mightily all year but we're finally starting to hit them."
Butterfield had a game-high 21 points, with six 3s. Doane finished with 14 points, while Suiter scored nine with seven rebounds.
House had 15 and Spriggs added 12.
"That's the best offensive rebounding team in the state," Otis said.