Girls basketball

Chesterton, Merrillville win to set up Valentine’s Day date in semifinals at Hobart Sectional

2014-02-12T21:30:00Z 2014-02-13T13:15:15Z Chesterton, Merrillville win to set up Valentine’s Day date in semifinals at Hobart SectionalPaul Trembacki Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 12, 2014 9:30 pm  • 

HOBART | Caroline Puntillo felt a vibe on the bus ride from Chesterton to The Brickyard Wednesday.

This wasn’t going to be her last game. Not this night. This Trojan's big senior year still has some gas left in the tank.

“I’m definitely not ready for this to end,” Puntillo said. “I had a feeling this wasn’t my last night. At halftime we had another talk about how we weren’t ready to end this season because we have some more games left in us.”

Despite making just three field goals, one of which was a game-breaking 3-pointer, Puntillo scored 26 points to lead Chesterton past Michigan City 55-41 in the first of two quarterfinal games Wednesday at the Class 4A Hobart Sectional.

Merrillville beat Valparaiso 64-41 in the second game behind Victoria Gaines’ 18 points and nine rebounds to set up a semifinal pairing between the two Duneland Athletic Conference squads Friday.

“Confident is definitely the word now,” Puntillo said. “This gave us confidence we are still able to get the wins.”

Puntillo shot 19-for-24 from the free throw line. She got a head start with a pair of technical free throws before tip-off after a technical foul called because of a clerical error in the Michigan City score book.

On the rare occasion when she wasn’t on the line after one of Michigan City’s 27 fouls, Puntillo was the focal point of Chesterton’s offense.

“She’s got that mentality to score,” Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. “She does a lot of stuff out of our offense.”

Michigan City did not go away easily. The Wolves (4-17) shot 0-for-9 from the field in the quarter in falling behind 20-16 at halftime. A quick start to the fourth quarter pulled the Wolves to within two at 32-30.

Puntillo answered with a 3-pointer from the elbow to make it 35-30 with 6:26 left in the game and then drew a foul on a similar shot and sank a trio of free throws to extend the lead to 38-32 with 5:29 to play, sufficiently deflating Michigan City’s momentum.

“We were running a play to open up the wings, and I was feeling that shot and decided to take it,” Puntillo said. “It felt great coming off, and it went in.”

For the game, Chesterton had three 3s, seven two-point field goals and shot 32-for-41 from the foul line.

Merrillville (14-6), meanwhile, had a big first quarter behind Gaines and gradually drank Valparaiso’s milk shake. The Pirates led 18-7 after one behind seven points from Gaines, who had two 3-pointers in the game. Freshman Jasmine Wright added 10 points with a pair of 3s and four steals.

Grace Withrow led the Vikings (9-11) with 15 points and four assists. Teammate Kristina Veljovic, the only senior on Valpo’s roster, had 10 points, including a putback to cut the lead to 26-18 in the second quarter before a Gaines 3 led Merrillville back into firm control.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best boys cross country team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Featured Businesses