The Crown Point Bulldogs captured a win in their home opener against the East Chicago Central Cardinals. The final 54-47 outcome moves the Dogs to 2-1 early in the season, while the Cards drop to 0-2.
The game was tightly contested the whole way through, with Crown Point rarely building a significant lead. The Cardinals made a push in the final minutes of the game, putting them just one well-placed shot away from tying things up, but the Bulldogs rallied to finish on top.
“Hats off to East Chicago and hats off to our kids for not caving on that big comeback,” said Bulldogs Head Coach Clint Swan. “I think last year maybe we’d have lost this game by 4 or 5.” The community turned up in a huge way for Crown Point, packing the stands with energized fans. The cheerleaders and pep band also played a big role, never great Bulldog play go without a chorus of applause and fanfare. Crown Point senior guard Tyler Jeeninga said that in a tight game, the crowd’s support goes a long way in keeping the team energized.
“The crowds are huge, the fact that they get into the game and help motivate us is great,” Jeeninga said. “It’s a great atmosphere, and not a lot of people get to experience something like it.”
While the Bulldogs are proud of their win, they are taking things one day at a time. Jeeninga said that the focus this early in the season is on constantly improving.
“This early in the season we’re just trying to get down the court and get the easy shots in the basket,” he said. “We’re trying to stay in the competition the whole time and play to our principles. We just need to do what we do and not let any defense change how we play.”
For the Cardinals, the loss is a setback but also a learning opportunity. East Chicago Head Coach Marcus Jefferson was proud of the game his young team played and is looking forward to building on their foundation throughout the season.
“The team I put together, we haven’t played any fall ball or summer ball,” Jefferson said. “We’re two games in, it’s been a challenge to get my guys up to practice and get them focused to where we’re taking our lumps now, but I’m proud of my guys. We came out on a roll, we fought hard, and I know the scoreboard doesn’t reflect a victory but we’re 10 points better than we were last game. That’s our approach, just getting better every day in practice and showing up in the game.”