(La Porte, IN) - La Porte and Lake Central came into Friday’s championship game of the Steiner Homes Holiday Basketball Tournament on winning streaks, Lake Central 7 straight wins and La Porte 5 straight wins. Something had to give and it was the Slicers. Lake Central hoisted the championship trophy with a 65-58 win over La Porte.
Lake Central got a put back at the buzzer to lead 14-12 after one period. The Slicers then outscored the Indians 18 to 13 in the 2nd quarter to lead 30 to 27 at the half. The first half was extremely well played. La Porte had only 2 turnovers and Lake Central had just 5. Kyle Kirkham hit three 3’s and a 2 pointer for 11 halftime points while Rylan Kieszkowski chipped in 9 in the first half.
The Slicers extended their lead to 39-31 to start the third quarter when the Indians came to life, running off 10 straight points. This is the third time in four games that LP has given up double digit runs. Elkhart scored 11 straight in the second quarter on December 21st and Hanover Central had a 10 point third quarter run in the tourney opener. La Porte overcame both of these but couldn’t bounce back against Lake Central.
Lake Central took a 44-43 edge into the final period and outscored La Porte 21-15 in the fourth for the 65-58 win. The Indians hit 9-12 free throws in the final stanza and sharpshooter Mitchell Milausnic scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth.
Kirkham finished with 16 points and Kieszkowski 13 for the Slicers. Malik Corley, who missed Wednesday’s games due to illness, hit three 3’s and two free throws for 11. Ja’ Meryion Cross and RJ Anglin added 8 points each. Tommy Samuelson, who battled Lake Central’s 6’4 240 pound Brandon Escobedo all evening, had a basket for 2.
The Slicers finished with just 6 turnovers and Lake Central 10. Escobedo led all scorers with 20. Milausnic had 13 and Jacob Smith finished with 10.
La Porte falls to 8-3 on season. Lake Central moved to 8-1. Kyle Kirkham was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game.
The Slicers will not have long to plot their revenge. La Porte will travel to Lake Central Friday night for their Duneland Conference opener. JV tips at 5:30, Varsity at 7:00. The Lowell game that was originally scheduled for January 3rd had been move to January 10th.
7th Place Kouts 47 Lowell 43
5th Place Tippy Valley 59 Hanover Central 52
3rd Place SB Adams 59 Logansport 52
1st Place Lake Central 65 La Porte 58