By Chris Slone
March 6, 2014
No. 3 Notre Dame lost 50-43 to No. 7 South Gallia in a Division IV District Semifinal match at the Convocation Center on Ohio University’s campus in Athens Tuesday evening.
The Titans battled their way back in the fourth quarter after trailing by 14 points and briefly held a one-point lead before South Gallia put the game away with a plethora of free throws in the final quarter. The Rebels hit 10 shots from the charity stripe in the final frame.
Notre Dame coach Matt Mader was pleased with his team’s effort, as they’ve shown the ability to erase deficits in many games throughout the season.
“We didn’t panic being down 11 at halftime,” Mader said. “We’ve been there before. It seems like the second half of the season, we usually get down early in games, and we would scratch and claw our way back.
“Give them credit, they were able to make plays in the fourth quarter to withstand our effort. In the end, we just couldn’t catch the break we needed to finish it out.
C.J. Smith lead the Titans with 12 points, including three 3-point field goals. Senior Jack Kayser scored 11 points, including one trey, in his final contest with Notre Dame.
The Titans trailed 13-10 after the first quarter, which prompted Mader to switch from man-to-man to a zone defense.
The Rebels were unfazed by the switch as they hit four shots from beyond the arc.
“Usually at the Convo, kids don’t normally shoot it that well but they were able to make three or four threes in the first half,” Mader said. “It allowed them to get out and get a lead on us.”
In the first half, Notre Dame lost senior Will Toleman to a knee injury. This latest setback came a week after freshman point guard Trevin Turner broke his ankle before a contest against Eastern.
Despite the untimely injuries, Mader was proud of his short-handed squad, led by his departing seniors.
“They’re so resilient, they are just overachievers,” Mader said. “Defensively, I have never seen a group that bought in to what we were trying to do. Those kids relished playing defense.
“Their unselfishness, their teamwork, they are just a special group of kids.”
Notre Dame loses Dakota Smith, Kayser, Will Haney, Toleman, Daniel Ogg and Michael Medley to graduation.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Gallia 13 14 9 14 — 50
Notre Dame 10 6 11 16 — 43
South Gallia — Hutchinson 4-0-8, Greer 3-7-13, Spurlock 6-0-12, Lucas 2-0-5, Ehman 2-0-6, Wheeler 0-1-1, Swain 2-0-5. Totals 19-12-50.
Notre Dame — D. Smith 3-1-7, Kayser 5-0-11, Toleman 2-0-4, C. Smith 4-1-12, Ogg 2-5-9. Totals 16-7-43.
3-point field goals — South Gallia 4 (Lucas, Ehman 2, Swain); Notre Dame 4 (Kayser, C. Smith 3).
Records — South Gallia N/A; Notre Dame 18-6.