Dou­ble the plea­sure for Decker

Se­nior for­ward en­joys Crown Point’s win over Michi­gan City

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - By Mike Hut­ton Post-Tri­bune mhut­[email protected] Twit­ter @MikeHut­tonPT

Sam Decker ap­pre­ci­ates these games more than most play­ers.

The 6-foot-3 se­nior for­ward scored 19 points and grabbed six re­bounds Fri­day night dur­ing Crown Point’s 70-46 vic­tory over Michi­gan City in a Duneland Ath­letic Con­fer­ence opener.

It was a near-flaw­less of­fen­sive per­for­mance for Crown Point (6-4, 1-0). The Bull­dogs shot 16-for-21 from the floor in the first half and then opened the third quar­ter by mak­ing two straight 3-point­ers.

Those pair of threes to start the third were con­verted by Sam Sn­od­grass, who fin­ished with 19 points. It gave Crown Point a 20-point lead.

Elias Gerode­mos added 18 points for the Bull­dogs. Rayshon Howard led Michi­gan City (7-5, 0-1) with 14 points. It was never close in the sec­ond half.

Three years ago, Decker didn’t think he would be here.

He played bas­ket­ball as an eighth-grader and felt he was pretty good, but he de­cided not to go out for the team as a fresh­man.

Decker still isn’t sure why he made that call.

“It was the worst de­ci­sion I ever made,” he said. “It was just a per­sonal de­ci­sion. No one forced me to do it. I just didn’t have the same love for the game that I used to have.

“I re­gret­ted not go­ing out for the team as soon as I did it.”

Decker was wel­comed back as a sopho­more.

He worked hard that sea­son and em­u­lated his older brother Ken, who played var­sity for Crown Point when Sam was a sopho­more. Sam played ju­nior var­sity that sea­son.

Sam said Ken was “the hard­est-work­ing player I’ve ever been around.”

Sam said he had to work to find his game again.

“I strug­gled with my rhythm,” he said. “Once I found it, I haven’t looked back. It’s been a great few years.”

Decker started on the var­sity last sea­son.

Crown Point coach Clint Swan called Sam “a work­horse who is just a hum­ble kid.”

Decker’s per­for­mance Fri­day was work­man­like. He shot 6for-7 from the floor, in­clud­ing 1-for-2 from 3-point range. He went 6-for-7 from the freethrow line.

The Bull­dogs shot 25-for-39 from the floor, go­ing 11-for-19 on 3-point­ers.

Shoot­ing the bas­ket­ball with that type of ef­fi­ciency is rare. Sn­od­grass said it was the prod­uct of hard work.

“We got those shots from run­ning things right and cut­ting hard,” he said.

In a strange way, Decker noted, tak­ing a year off helped him with per­spec­tive.

His love of the game is stronger than ever.

“I’ll never take it for granted again,” he said. “Af­ter this year, I know I’ll never play an­other game in a Crown Point jer­sey again. I try to re­mem­ber that ev­ery time I step on the floor.”

KYLE TELECHAN/POST-TRI­BUNE

Crown Point’s Sam Sn­od­grass, right, makes his way up­court Fri­day as Michi­gan City’s Jaiv­ion Reid pur­sues.

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