Forgive Red Bank basketball coach Nick Fike if he appeared to be just a bit distracted during Tuesday night’s game at Notre Dame’s Jim Pfifer Gymnasium.
The short-handed Lions lost the game by a 59-43 margin, but the veteran coach didn’t appeared to be too bothered after his wife Casey had given birth to their second child earlier in the day, an eight-pound, seven-ounce son named Joseph Cooper Fike.
The mother and son are doing just fine, but the coach might be a bit tired on Wednesday as he didn’t get as much sleep as he normally may have gotten.
Despite all of that extra excitement in his life, Fike was just hoping to see some progress from a basketball team still waiting on at least seven football players who will make a large impact before all is said and done. He liked what he saw for the most part.
“I’ve already gotten my win for the day,” he said during the girls game where Red Bank remained unbeaten after three games with a 60-55 victory.
“It’s hard to build any confidence when you’re not hitting free throws and turning it over. Notre Dame shot it well, but we had our chances to come back and just didn’t capitalize. We had some big stops on the defensive end, but nothing to show from our offense.
“I really didn’t know what to expect as we had five guys out there who hadn’t played together very much. There was some uncertainty on their part, but the effort was there. We have to clean some things up, but I’m confident we’ll be there before it’s over,” the new papa added after his team’s record dropped to 1-1.
Notre Dame coach Jonathan Adams knows just how athletic Red Bank is and what a tall challenge his young team was facing on Tuesday night. He was all smiles when the final horn sounded.
“Red Bank makes it so hard on us as those guys are so athletic, but our goal was to keep them off the glass and to minimize our turnovers,” Adams said later.
“We have a young team who just wants to get better every day. We were trying to make it a half-court game. We hang our hat on defense, but we shot the ball extremely well and that always helps. We weren’t a very good outside shooting team last year, but we have some guys who can knock down some shots.
“I liked our effort and I’m really glad to get a win, but you can bet that Red Bank will be a much better team when those football players join them,” Adams added.
Cal Price knocked down a 3 on Notre Dame’s first possession and Ty Wilkerson followed with a layup a little later as the Irish scored the first five points and never trailed in the game.
Brandon Jones scored four straight points for the Lions to cut a 13-6 lead down to 13-10, but a desperation half-court shot by Haden Spurgeon at the buzzer gave Notre Dame a 16-10 lead when the first stanza ended.
Spurgeon’s 3 with 5:05 left in the second quarter put Notre Dame up by 11 at 23-12 and that was the difference at intermission after a 3 by Jones made it 36-25.
A 3 by Price extended Notre Dame’s lead to 47-29 with 2:53 left in the third before the Lions finished the quarter with a 7-0 run to make it 47-36 with eight minutes to play.
A steal and layup by Price with 2:02 to play gave the Fighting Irish their biggest lead at 59-40 before Kalen Sewell’s 3 in the final minute for Red Bank cut the final margin of victory to 16 points.
Price led all scorers with 19 points while Spurgeon was next with 16. Wesley Jones was also in double figures for Notre Dame with 14.
Jones was the only Red Bank player in double figures as he finished with 18. Deangelo Ross, Hub Swafford and Shawn Long all added five points apiece.
Red Bank had an unofficial 31-23 advantage on the boards as Lemerrick Ellison had eight, Jones seven and Long six for the Lions. George Fillauer had five for Notre Dame while Bradley Summitt and Price both snagged four.
RED BANK GIRLS 60, NOTRE DAME 55: The Lionettes led from the opening whistle and held an 18-12 lead after one quarter and 26-24 margin at intermission.
Things got interesting toward the end of the game when a 3 by Kenzie Campbell got the Lady Irish within 57-55 with 3.8 seconds to play.
Ashley Ware then sank the first of two free throws with 2.3 ticks left before Bailey Lee’s putback saved the day for Red Bank.
“I didn’t think we played very well, but there are games like this when you just have to find a way to win. That’s exactly what we did,” said Red Bank coach Bailey McGinnis after her team improved to 3-0.
Lee scored 17 points and led a trio of Red Bank girls in double figures. Arteya Scott and Raijena Bell followed with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Kate Ford scored 17 points to lead Notre Dame while Campbell was next with 16. Averie Sheppard finished with nine points.
RED BANK 18 8 13 21 -- 60
NOTRE DAME 12 12 10 21 – 55
RED BANK (60) – Washington 8, Crafton, Ware 5, Scott 16, Ledford 4, Bell 10, Lee 17.
NOTRE DAME (55) – Sheppard 9, Campbell 16, Ford 17, Fillauer 2, McGann 8, Skaggs 3, Bird.
3-POINT GOALS: Red Bank 1 (Washington); Notre Dame 6 (Sheppard 3, Campbell 2, Ford).
RED BANK 10 15 11 7 -- 43
NOTRE DAME 16 20 11 12 -- 59
RED BANK (43) – Ross 5, Young, Swafford 5, Sewell 3, Jones 18, Alex, Ellis, Abernathy, Ellison 4, Swanson 3, Long 5.
NOTRE DAME (59) – Jones 14, Robinson 1, Hill, Spurgeon 16, Smith 4, McNamara, Price 19, Summitt, Wilkerson 5, G. Fillauer, Turley, A. Fillauer.
3-POINT GOALS: Red Bank 5 (Ross, Swafford, Sewell, Jones, Swanson); Notre Dame 9 (Jones 2, Spurgeon 4, Price 3).
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)