MERRILLVILLE | Matt Scheub graduated from Andrean in 1994 and waited 18 years through several assistant coaching jobs and an eventual head coaching job at Culver to come back home.
Like many journeys, it was a long one filled with perseverance and patience.
The ability to wait patiently was a virtue in his first varsity game at the helm of his alma mater’s girls basketball team as he waited 6:28 of game time for his team’s first field goal and saw Times No. 2 Merrillville go up 13-0 and win 60-27 in the Battle of Broadway.
The Pirates (2-0) have won 23 consecutive regular-season games and nine straight against the 59ers.
“They welcomed me back to the region nicely,” said Scheub, who went 34-15 in two seasons at Culver Community following nine years as a Griffith assistant.
“They are a very quick and athletic team, and what are you going to do?”
Merrillville led 13-0 to start the game and 29-16 at the half. About four minutes into the third quarter Andrean cut the lead to 35-23 but could not convert that momentum into any more gains.
Scheub was fiery and calculated throughout the game. He contorted, twisted and bit a lip at miscues. He was adamant with the referees, and he showed all the poise and determination of a man trying to change a sliding program that was 3-20 last season and hasn’t won a sectional title since 2006.
“I told them I was very proud of the effort out there,” Scheub said.
“To see how hard they fought back, I can’t wait to come Monday and get back at it.”
The perfectionist Pirates (2-0), a season removed from a 21-1 campaign, are likewise fine-tuning. Despite shooting 1-for-11 from 3-point range and missing eight layups in the first half, Merrillville dominated with speed and athleticism, getting in the passing lanes and running the floor past the more methodical 59ers.
“We need to clean it up, but they are definitely playing hard,” Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. “It’s definitely not a lack of effort.
“The effort is there; we just need to become a better team.”
Sophomore sensation Victoria Gaines had her assist game working with six helpers to go with nine points, eight boards and three steals.
Dariyan Morris scored 12 points, and A.J. Downs had 10 points for the Pirates.
“Those two are the experienced guards,” Govert said. “They know the system, and we look for them at key times.”