MONTICELLO — Why not Calumet?
That’s what the Warriors have been saying all week long, and they got it done Saturday night with an exhausting 53-39 victory over host Twin Lakes to win a Class 3A sectional title.
“It feels great,” said senior Jaylen Sullivan. “It was amazing.”
It’s Calumet’s first sectional title since winning at the Hammond Civic Center in 2000 and just the sixth in school history.
“We believe,” Calumet coach Dominique Nelson said. “Nobody gave us a shot. Nobody. Nobody said Calumet basketball has a shot, and we shocked the Region (Saturday). We shocked the Region!”
Trailing 17-14 at halftime, Calumet did it again in the second half just like it has in its previous two wins at Twin Lakes. Calumet (14-10) used a 9-0 run from 4 minutes and 35 seconds left in the third quarter to 2:08 left in the period to take command at 31-23.
“I had negative thoughts, but I never gave up on my team,” said Sullivan, who filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. “We came too far and we’re not going to lose it. And we won.”
Three straight steals by Jarman Porter, Paris Hernandez and Sullivan that led to layups turned the tide in the Warriors favor in the decisive third period.
“It’s all defense,” Nelson said. “We were down three at the half, and that point I said, ‘Dude why are you not pressing in the first half? Who told you not to press?’ We put the pressure on.”
The Warriors took their coaches words to heart and got it done.
“That was our Achilles’ Heel,” Twin Lakes coach Kent Adams said. “If they were going to apply the pressure, and I’m not sure why they didn’t apply the pressure in the first half. … We were on our heels and were tentative.
“The turnovers were 21-6 (in Calumet’s favor) according to what we had, and they scored 33 points on that and we only scored four off theirs. That’s a tough stat to overcome. It was a physical, physical game that we couldn’t handle and didn’t adjust to very well.”
Calumet led 31-25 with eight minutes left.
“We had to match their intensity basically,” said Da’vion Davis, who finished with a game-high 26 points, including four 3-pointers. “Coach put us in the right position.”
Twin Lakes got to within 44-38 around the 2:00 mark of the fourth quarter, but Calumet was able to close it out and cut down the nets.
“Eighteen years -- it feels so great,” Nelson said.
Brayden Houser and Michaiah Galvin finished with 10 points apiece for Twin Lakes, whose run of four straight sectional titles was halted. The Indians were Class 3A state runner-up last year.
“It really hurts at this point because we’ve had (a good run),” Adams said. “That’s why it feels so good when you do win.”
Calumet advances to play West Lafayette next Saturday in the LaPorte Regional.
“It feels pretty good,” Davis said.