Wolves nip Cougars to win LP County Holiday Tournament

 

All eyes on the ball as both teams lunge for possession.

Story and photos by WNLP’s Mike Kellems

The first of two back-to-back slam dunks in the first quarter by City’s Evan Bush.

In an exciting basketball game to top off Michigan City High School’s inaugural La Porte County Holiday Tournament, the New Prairie Cougars (6-2) battled it out with host Michigan City (7-1) for the tourney championship Wednesday night in the Wolves Den. 

The two teams, with dramatically different playing styles, started the game with a 3-point fest, with the Cougars’ first four shots hitting from beyond the arch and City’s first three shots also finding the bucket from 3-point land. That was followed by back-to-back slam dunks by City senior Evan Bush, and the game was off to a roaring start.  

The teams stayed very close to each other throughout the game with both trading off long-distance shots; the Wolves made 14 of their 29 attempts. The Cougars never quit and took a 4-point lead in the 4th quarter, however City responded with a 7-and-0 run, putting the game out of reach for the Cougars. 

Tahari Watson scored nearly half of City’s point total, leading his team with 32. The final score of the game was 69-61.

Wolves team captain Evan Bush hoists the hardware.

Wolves Coach Tom Wells told WNLP, “I liked the way we responded to a little bit of adversity, as we haven’t seen much this year. New Prairie is a very well coached, senior-led team that has a very effective inside/outside attack. I saw this game coming and we watched a lot of film on the Cougars and the game definitely had a Duneland Conference feel to it.” 

With regard to the return of the Holiday Tournament, Wells said, “Last year we had a two-week break with no games, which is frustrating. This tourney has brought a great tradition back to the Michigan City gym. Our ultimate goal is to be able to develop this into an event in which all teams in La Porte County will participate. Our athletic department deserves a ton of credit for putting this together and my hat is off to Athletic Director Craig Shaman and his staff for their efforts.”

The New Prairie girls also made it to the championship game, but lost to Lake Station, 51-39.

Cougar #11 Grady Lapczynski lays up for 2.

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