Big picture: When it finally did happen, the game was already over.
But 17 minutes and 17 seconds into Friday night’s Duneland Athletic Conference girls basketball matchup between Times No. 2 Crown Point and Valparaiso, junior Shea Pendleton lined up a 3-pointer and connected from well beyond the arc.
It was the Vikings’ first made field goal of the game.
“That first half and into the second there was some of the best defensive basketball I’ve ever been a part of,” Crown Point head coach Chris Seibert said following what became a 61-18 road win.
The Bulldogs' defense overwhelmed the Vikings. Crown Point players accounted for 15 steals and forced about half a dozen other turnovers thanks to Seibert’s typical onslaught of pressure and relentless trapping the length of the floor.
If it wasn’t for Viking senior Jessica Gast drawing a foul under the basket and making two free throws with just 2.8 seconds left in the opening half, Crown Point would have shut Valparaiso out going into the locker room.
“We wanted to get a big lead early in the game so they didn’t have any confidence coming back,” Crown Point freshman Jessica Carrothers said.
That became clear early on. And even with Carrothers being shadowed throughout the night and limited in scoring by her standard, the Bulldogs didn’t have trouble getting points on the board thanks to five players registering at least eight points.
“Obviously you’ve got to make shots but with how we were getting turnovers and going the other way we were really helped by our defense,” Seibert said. “We did a great job of moving the ball around.”
Crown Point player of the game: Sophomore guard Alyna Santiago - She finished with eight points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists and earned praises from Seibert afterword.
Valparaiso player of the game: Gast - She finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Turning point: Crown Point immediately set the tempo defensively and never looked back.
Quote: “Alyna was outstanding,” Seibert said. “She always is on the defensive end and obviously offensively tonight. We just wanted her to be aggressive and she did an outstanding job getting to the rim and making shots when she had to.”
Beyond the box score: Friday’s game was a “Coaches vs. Cancer” contest. Valparaiso raised money for the American Cancer Society throughout the evening.
Up next: Highland at Crown Point (11-0, 3-0), 7 p.m. Tuesday; Whiting at Valparaiso (3-7, 1-2), 7 p.m. Saturday