CROWN POINT — You have to look hard, really hard, to find a flaw in Crown Point's girls basketball team.
"Stay healthy and improve our depth," Bulldogs coach Chris Seibert said. "Those are our two goals."
Already the top team in the area before the arrival of Dash Shaw from Gary West Side, C.P. looked every bit of its No. 3 ranking in the state Friday against La Porte, which hung around for three quarters before a 22-6 surge in the final eight minutes turned the Duneland Athletic Conference opener into a 76-49 rout.
"That's what good teams do. They know when they get an opportunity," LP coach Rob Walker said. "Shaw is a difference maker for them/. She hit some big shots. (Jessica) Carrothers and Shaw are probably the best backcourt we'll see all year and they've got the two (Stoddard) bigs. They're a handful. Crown Point's for real."
After a 9-0 run in the final minute of the first half broke open a 31-30 game, there was no real sense of an upset after the break, but the Slicers had no back-down in them even as the margin ballooned late.
"I told them they're going to make runs, we just have to match them punch for punch," Walker said. "We didn't later in the game, but I think we're better than we were two weeks ago and we've got to be better for next week when we play Valpo and an unbeaten Concord team. We know what we're capable of. We ran with them for three quarters and, yeah, we'd like to keep the score a little closer, but we can't focus on that. Our focus is on what we did the first three quarters. I told them we played with the team that, according to Sagarin, is No. 1 in the state. The kids asked me in the locker room why I had them pull the ball out with a minute to go. The game was over, but they still wanted to keep fighting. It was a good sign they didn't want to throw in the towel even though we were down."
Ryin Ott and Nyla Asad were largely responsible for the early challenge. Ott poured in 16 first-half points and Asad eight as the pair went to the rim without hesitation at 6-foot-1 Abby Stoddard and 6-3 sister, Lilly. Lauren Pollock also battled on the low block, snagging 10 boards. La Porte was down 20-16 at the quarter.
"One thing we preached was to attack, not to back down," Walker said. "The kids really bought into that. Nyla and Ryin were really good and Lauren played a big game, too. She played well and it was against another big."
LP wobbled as CP (7-0) came out fast in the third quarter but steadied itself again to keep the hosts honest into the final frame.
"It was really, really good for us," Seibert said. "They really haven't had to play four quarters a ton. It was good for them to have to battle through that."
The dynamic Shaw scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half. Carrothers was close behind with 24 with Lilly Stoddard chipping in 11. Abby Stoddard snagged 16 boards.
"We can share the basketball when we get out and go, especially when Lilly rebounds the basketball like she did," Seibert said.
The Slicers (4-3), who had 20 turnovers, were led by Ott's 18 (plus 11 rebounds) and Asad's 15.
"I think the conference is a little better than people thought," Walker said. "We're out east with Michigan City and Plymouth. We'll let these guys beat each other up over here. We've just got to be ready in January and February."
Seibert said the game will be moved back to the day before Thanksgiving next season rather than the day after.
"Friday's brutal," he said. "All the other (DAC games) were moved, but we were not able to because of the boys. Now that their Bowman (Academy) contract is up, coach Clint (Swan) said he would go opposite of us."
Crown Point 76, La Porte 49
Ryin Ott had 18 points and 11 rebounds.