Chesterton Basketball Swishes Into the Fifth Sectional Title in CHS History

After taking on the Devils, Pirates, and Indians, Chesterton cuts the net, advancing to Regionals

The Chesterton Boys Basketball team earned their 5th Sectional Title in the school’s history.

Miranda Miller, Co-Editor In Chief

Since the beginning of this basketball season, Sectionals week has been anticipated to be one of the most stressful weeks for the Chesterton team. Before the Sectionals bracket was even drawn, Trojan fans were concerned about one thing, a rematch against their rival, the Valparaiso Vikings. Both are ranked within the top ten teams in the state, and both had proven worthy of their ranks. 

As soon as the Sectional bracket was released, Trojan fans were relieved to learn that the team would not be playing their rival in the first round. After the random draw, Chesterton was to play against the Lowell Devils, on Wednesday, March 2. The Devils, who ended their regular season with no wins, left most anticipating an easy first round.  

Valpo on the other hand was drawn to play the Merrillville Pirates for their first game. Like Chesterton, Valpo was predicted to blow out their first-round competition. However, with arguably the upset of the season, the Pirates, with an 8-14 record, ended the game with an eight-point win, 45-37, and advanced to the semifinal round. 

The Trojan basketball team came out on the court for their first game, heads held high, and the stress of a rematch lifted off their shoulders. As the team began warming up, students filed into the student section, and the Pirates took their spot in the top bleachers, getting ready to see who their opponents for Friday night’s semi-final would be. Earlier in the season, when Chesterton had played Lowell in a non-conference game, Chesterton won 82-20. 

Right from the start, the Trojans picked up the ball and were able to take on a heavy lead, ending the first quarter 19-2. Even though the game was going by quickly, Chesterton still stayed strong in both their offense and defense. Excitement picked up near the end of the first half when junior George Vrahoretis threw down a dunk that sent the crowd roaring. Continuing into the last quarter, the Trojans held their lead over the Devils, and after cheers from the student section, Coach Marc Urban decided it was time to put in senior Jordan Hughes, junior Cole Synder, and sophomore Greg Gurnsey. Synder impressed the whole crowd as he made each of the three-point shots he took. Hughes ended the game making a layup and topping off the Trojans’ total of 67 points.  

As anticipated, the Trojans began their postseason with a solid win, knocking the Devils out of Sectionals 67-16. Before Chesterton played the Pirates, Portage, who had won their first-round over Hobart (70-28), battled out the Crown Point Bulldogs in an incredibly close game. The Bulldogs, who finished third in the DAC behind Chesterton and Valpo, lost to the Indians by only one point (52-51), allowing Portage into the championship game.  

With the Indians in the final and one more semi-final game to go, Trojan fans piled into the Portage gym for the second time that week, anticipating a good game between Chesterton and Merrillville; and a good game it was. Merrillville had played the Trojans extremely closely during the regular season, where the Trojans escaped and won 76-68. 

Right from the tip-off, it was clear that the Merrillville Pirates were hungry for a win. As soon as the first half was over, Trojan fans were beginning to get nervous, wondering if Merrillville could pull an upset over the undefeated team like they had done just two nights prior against the Vikings. From the get-go, Merrillville’s strengths were clear: their impressive defense and a select few offensive players that were able to plow through the Trojan defense. The Pirates ended the first half with a small five-point lead, 26-21. 

After halftime, the Trojans jumped right back into the game, with more fire in them than they had begun with. The team quickly accumulated four points, and with the help of a pass from junior Owen Guest, senior center Chris Mullen completed a beautiful three-pointer. Mullen’s shot closed the gap between Chesterton and Merrillville and allowed the Trojans to gain their first lead. 

During the third quarter, sophomore Justin Sims showed off his talent and swatted two of the team’s three total blocks, keeping the Pirate’s AJ Dixon away from the net. Additionally, senior Carson Parrish showed true determination as he dove to the ground for the ball a multitude of times throughout the game. One notable dive was after Sims had blocked one of Dixon’s attacks toward the hoop. C. Parrish went right to the floor, fighting with Dixon over the ball, and senior point guard Travis Grayson rushed to his assistance. Later in the quarter, Sims was quickly rushed off the court after he had received an injury to the face and was taken care of on the sidelines. From the bench, Sims cheered on his teammates as they fought for the ball. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, he was ready and able to jump back into the game. Throughout the entirety of the third quarter, the Trojans only let Merrillville score three points, keeping their lead and ending at 37-29. 

Kicking off the fourth quarter, Grayson gained possession of the ball and assisted sophomore Tyler Parrish in a three-point shot. Soon after, a foul was called on Merrillville, and Mullen stepped up to the free-throw line. Before he could get in the zone, the referee called him off the court. Mullen’s knee had started bleeding, and he was taken out to be cleaned up. Coach Urban placed Guest in Mullen’s position to take on the free throw.

By the end of the Merrillville game, C. Parrish and Grayson each scored 13, totaling 26 of the total 56 points. T. Parrish joined the two seniors in the game’s top scorers, accumulating ten points. The majority of the assists in the game were from Guest (6 assists) and Grayson (5 assists). The Trojans took their spot in the Sectional final after defeating the Pirates 56-41.  

On Saturday, March 5, the Trojans entered the final round of Sectionals, playing against Portage. The Portage gym was filled, fans shoulder-to-shoulder, for the last time that week. The game began with Portage taking the lead but quickly lost it once Grayson had gained possession of the ball. With a score of 4-2, Portage leading, Grayson passed the ball to a wide-open Guest, who made a three-pointer. From that point forward, the Indians never gained the lead back, the strength of their defense slowly dwindling. By the end of the first half, the Trojans were leading by 14 points, 24-10. 

After halftime, the score had reached 32-12, and Grayson took it upon himself to make a perfectly arched three-point shot, just above the top of the key. Following this, the Trojans were able to score a total of 35 points in the last half. Nearing the final minutes of the game, the Trojan student section began to chant. Similar to the Lowell game, Coach Urban decided to give the fans what they wanted and entered Hughes, Snyder, and Gurnsey into the game. This was quite possibly the most perfect end because fans went wild as Hughes, Snyder, Gurnsey, Vrahoretis, and junior Sean Kasper raced across the court, keeping Portage away from the net. The Trojans ended the game with a final score of 59-31, and successfully earned their Sectional title and advanced to Regionals. The team’s top scorers of the night were Grayson (21), T. Parrish (13), and Mullen (10). Guest carried in assists, having four out of the ten total. 

Right as the clock turned to zero, the entire team raced onto the court, congratulating themselves on earning the fifth Sectional title in Chesterton High School’s history. Students ran after them, cheering for their new champions. After this celebration, a ladder was brought out for the team to take down the net. Each member took their time cutting a piece of the net for themselves. Finally, Urban made his way to the top of the ladder and cut down the rest, which was now, rightfully Chesterton’s. On their way home, the team was escorted by a squad of police cars and came home to a parking lot filled with friends and family waiting to congratulate them on their success.