For the Chesterton Trojans, their season-ending 49-42 defeat at the Class 4A IHSAA Regional brought a wave of mixed emotions.
Of course, the boys felt disappointment. The team has never managed to secure a Regional Championship, and a 2018 title would have looked great in the school’s trophy case. Yet as the team was mobbed by a student section chanting, “Thank you, seniors,” their foremost feeling was pride.
“I couldn’t be more proud of all my teammates in the locker room,” said Chesterton Senior Jack Eaton. “We put our program on the map. We got the community buzzing and I couldn’t be more proud of that.”
The Trojans ended the year with a 19-7 record in the regular season, and secured their first Sectional Championship in 32 years – knocking off rival and area favorite Valparaiso in the process.
“I’m proud of our kids, proud of the way they battled,” said Chesterton coach Marc Urban. “No one expected us to be here. It was an extremely fun group to coach.”
Chesterton entered Saturday’s game as slight underdogs to the 23-3 Kingsmen. Urban loved his team’s performance, as they fought Penn to a stalemate for most of the game. With just 53 seconds left in the game, Chesterton was only one basket away from taking the lead. Unfortunately, they missed their shots and the Kingsmen pulled ahead through free throws.
“We had some good looks, but we just didn’t hit enough shots,” Urban said. “I thought, ‘If we hit a few more shots, the game changes.’ We had a lot of good looks around the rim, a lot of good threes, but they just didn’t fall.”
With their careers as Trojans over, the senior boys are counting on the team’s wealth of younger talent to keep their school in the playoffs for years to come. Jake Wadding, a junior who helped energize the team with a massive dunk in the third quarter, is poised to lead next season.
“We should be good next year, and the seniors – they did a hell of a job this year,” Wadding said. “I thank them, they set up the program to be even better next year as we move on.”
Chesterton energized the community, stunned Valparaiso, and made countless people proud. Congrats to the Trojans on their Sectional Title and successful season.