MERRILLVILLE | It was only a matter of time before Crown Point was going to score in bunches.
After a 45-minute drought from its first goal, the Class 2A No. 4 Bulldogs scored four goals within a 15-minute, second-half span and disposed of Duneland foe Lake Central 5-1 in the nightcap semifinal of the Merrillville Regional on Thursday night
The win avenges last year's heartbreaking regional semifinal loss.
Six minutes into the game, Lake Central (5-10-3) made the costly mistake of committing a foul in the Indians box, and worst of all to senior forward Carmelo Morales, who connected on the ensuing penalty kick.
But much to the chagrin and surprise of the Bulldogs (17-0-1), the young Indians struck back three minutes later when senior Trevor Klapman flipped a one-timer in from 30 yards away that banged off the left post.
When asked if Crown Point coach Mike Bazin thought he thought the goal would propel L.C. to steal yet another regional from his team, he simply answered in one sentence.
"I thought that the entire game," he said.
Both teams had several more opportunities to convert in the first half, including an Ogi Janjus shot that went off the crossbar for Lake Central and Bay Kurtz's two shots that went off the post.
"Last year's loss was burned in our brains and motivated us all season," Bazin said. "L.C. came in with a great game plan and hats off to (L.C. junior keeper) Jorge Trujillo because he's athletic."
But Bulldogs junior Erik Eksten opened up the fury with the second goal on a header from a Brad Kurtz corner kick.
Then between the 67th and 70th minutes, Morales added his second, while Bay Kurtz and Brad Kurtz scored within 43 seconds of each other.
"We talked all week about keeping our shape defensively and eventually their athleticism caught up to us," Lake Central coach Jereme Rainwater said. "They were ready to play and were definitely not gonna overlook us two years in a row."
Chesterton (16-2-1) will play the Bulldogs in Saturday's championship game at 11 a.m. after decimating Munster in its 4-1 win in the first semifinal.
The biggest difference was two goals scored within 41 seconds of each other from junior Jared O'Dell and sophomore Trent Weller in the 9th and 10th minutes, respectively.
"We played a really good team today and dug ourselves in a hole right away," Munster coach Jim Prasopoulos said. "We accomplished some good things this year and hopefully we're fortunate enough to come back and give it another try next year."
After Chesterton added a goal in the 21st minute on a Billy Biehl connection, Munster (10-8-1) responded in the second half after senior Peter Panos put one in from the 6 after a Nik Kajmakoski throw-in during the 47th minute.
Five minutes later, the Trojans kept Munster down three after senior John Ward scored.
"I liked our intensity and there were times they were pushed up, which is how we got two goals," Chesterton coach James Sensibaugh said. "We're gonna enjoy this and give them a good game, whomever it is."