VALPARAISO | If Michigan City was going to have any chance at an upset of LaPorte in the championship of Friday's Duneland Athletic Conference East tournament, Michal Miller would have to play 32 minutes.
She didn't. Not even close.
The Wolves star, who poured in 38 points in a semifinal win over Chesterton, drew three first-quarter fouls and sat most of the second period. Times No. 2 LaPorte's eight-point lead swelled to 29 in that stretch and the Slicers romped to a 78-36 victory.
"She's definitely a key for them," Slicers coach Skeeter Heath said of Miller. "We tried to keep the ball out of her hands as best we could and when she got it, we had to help early. We were OK. There wasn't a whole lot of enthusiasm, but we got done what we had to get done."
Miller had two points at the half. She scored all 14 Wolves' points in the third quarter and finished with 19.
"For all intents and purposes, the game's over," M.C. coach Mike Megyese said. "She's tentative. She can't play her game in the first half. If she stays in, she gets so much focus, that (27-6) run doesn't happen. It's a lot closer."
LaPorte (11-0) had five players hit 10 3s, led by Kyleigh Kubik's six, which accounted for all 18 of her points.
"We move the ball very well. We're very unselfish as a team," Kubik said. "When somebody's having a better night, we find that player. The coaches say to keep shooting. It gives me a lot of confidence."
The 3 wasn't the Slicers' only weapon. Their interior passing carved up the M.C. zone for a bundle of layups. Taylor Thompson was the main beneficiary, making 8-of-8 shots, all from short range. Freshman Nicole Konieczny scored 12.
"Our guards are pretty good when somebody's on at getting her the next pass, if she's anywhere near open," Heath said. "We also did a good job in our high-low out of the post. Like I've said, it's a team that doesn't worry about who shoots. The offense will take care of that."
Kelsey Gushrowski snagged 10 boards for LaPorte, which out-rebounded City (4-7) by 16.
"We got a little gassed, Megyese said. "They're an excellent team when they hit shots and they hit shots. They work the ball very well. They know their roles very well. I love my kids. We're getting better."
In the consolation game, Grace Withrow's 24 points carried Valpo past 48-39. The Vikings (5-7) outscored the Trojans (5-6) 17-8 in the fourth quarter to break away from a tie. Hayley Sekula notched 15 for Chesterton. In the semifinals, LaPorte ran past Valpo 61-36 and the Wolves went 26 of 45 at the foul line to hold off the Trojans.