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Chesterton makes big early lead stand up against Noll
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Chesterton makes big early lead stand up against Noll

HAMMOND — When Roman Penn drove to the basket to score with 4.8 seconds left in the first quarter, it took the zero off the scoreboard for Bishop Noll.

The dreadful start, 1-for-8 shooting in the opening eight minutes and 10 first-half turnovers, left the Times No. 9 Warriors in chase mode Tuesday against No. 7 Chesterton. The Trojans raced to a 20-point second-quarter lead, resisting Noll's rally to go wire to wire for a 69-58 victory.

"We tried to take Penn out of the game," Chesterton's Rhyss Lewis said. "We put our best defender, Niles Dilosa, on him, face guarding him, to try to mess up their rhythm. He's there main player, so we wanted to get him out of sync."

Chesterton (5-2) was no offensive bargain early on itself, launching 12 first-quarter 3-pointers and making just three. Jack Mullen's hot hand was the exception for both teams as he nailed four shots from deep to distance the Trojans.

Chesterton also beat up the Warriors, with no one over 6-foot-3, on the boards, 18-10 in the first half.

"We saw on the scouting report that they didn't have anyone bigger than 6-3," Lewis said. "We've got two 6-5s and and a 6-6. Once they doubled in the middle, we found the one they left open and kicked it out."

Noll (5-3) never got the deficit under 11 as Lewis, scoreless to that point, ended the half with an and-one on a drive a buzzer-beating corner jumper.

"We weren't ready to play," Noll coach Josh Belluomini said. "That was pretty obvious from our start. We couldn't get an offensive rebound to save our life. They killed us last year and it was even worse. We had a little size then and now we have no size. We like to play fast, to bring pressure, but when we're almost down 20, we're forced to take extra chances and they got a lot of easy shots the second half."

Lewis finished with 18, including a pair of breakaway two-hand dunks in the fourth quarter.

"If I had gotten another fast break, I was going to try to do something, but I didn't get one," Lewis said.

Mullen finished with 14, all in the first half, and the Trojans picked up a double-digit lift from sophomore Austin Peterson with a dozen points and seven rebounds.

"Good balance," Chesterton coach Tom Peller said. "We need that. When the 3s aren't working, we've got to go inside. An open game like this is Rhyss' strength. He took advantage of it and made smart decisions. Austin made a very nice contribution. That inside scoring's going to help us down the road."

Noll's Roman Penn topped all scorers with 21 points to go with four steals. Kodi Greenwell added 11.

"We tried to disrupt (Penn), make him work for everything," Peller said. "It was a good bounce-back (from East Chicago). We really executed the things we worked on -- rebounding and getting back on defense."

Noll shot 37 percent, including 3-of-16 from the arc. Take Penn out of the stats and it was 10-of-35.

"Roman was able to get his shots. I thought he was just pressing a little bit because everybody else was struggling," Belluomini said. "I was impressed with Chesterton's defense. They did a great job rotating and plugging the middle. Every time we drive, someone was there."

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Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.

Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso.He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997. He can be reached at 219-548-4356 or jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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