Boyd Buchanan coach Josh Templeton and his baby Bucs got everything they could have wished for Monday night in a battle between Division II Class A East Region’s top two squads.
The Bucs – who start three sophomores, a freshman and a junior – got meaningful experience in “the Notre Dame” rivalry as Templeton called it.
They got a shorthanded Irish team missing five players, including three starters. And most importantly, they got a hard fought 58-49 win by outscoring Notre Dame 12-3 to break free from a 46-46 tie in the game’s final 4:07.
And they did it on what was a relatively cool night from the outside, making just four 3-pointers among 12 attempts. And for a team known for its lethal long range game, it was an impressive inside game that proved the difference.
“We’ve got to learn to piece two halves together, but the great thing about tonight is we got guys who have never played in a Notre Dame game, and they got to see what it was like to battle with them for 32 minutes. They will know what to expect going forward now,” Templeton said.
Boyd Buchanan has now won nine of the last 16 outings with the Irish, but the battles have always been special and both sides know what is usually in store before tipoff.
“I don’t care who they have in the jerseys, if it says Notre Dame on it, you can expect them to take away the 3-pointer shots. They contest just about every shot you put up. We got a couple of big steals and rebounds late, and that was the difference,” Templeton said.
Notre Dame, fresh off a big win over Cleveland last week, was without three starters due to Covid and five total players, including leading scorer Tim Vaughn. But if you didn’t know the names in the jerseys, you would have never known it, as the Irish did what the Irish do best: defend. And as a bonus, Jonathon Adams’ squad also got some quality minutes from guys who haven’t played a whole lot this year which should only help them down the stretch.
“We have gotten to the point with this illness that there really are no excuses. It is what it is, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. I was proud of the young guys who took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their games tonight. Josh (Templeton) and I were talking on the phone today and we both agreed this is one of those games you both love to play because it brings out the best in you and hate to play because it’s such a difficult game,” said Adams afterwards.
In a game that had nine lead changes and four ties, the see-saw battle was all knotted at 46-all before Buc freshman Ace Bailey stepped in the passing lane for a steal and layup to make it 48-46. It was Bailey who led the second half charge, getting three steals and conversions, including a dunk off an interception. Bailey had 13 points and every one of them was big and every one of them came in the second half as Notre Dame led 27-20 at the half.
“He’s just got so much natural talent. He’s just 14-years-old, and he does some things that make you pull your hair out, but he just such a competitor for someone that age. He didn’t have a great first half, but he shook it off, and he sparked us that second half,” Templeton added.
After Bailey’s steal and layup got Boyd Buchanan the final lead, Kason Gay and John Craw closed the deal. Gay got a big rebound of a miss and stuck it back in for a 50-46 lead and Craw made a layup and then drilled a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left to make it 55-49.
“I told our kids before the game if we were going to have a chance to pull this thing off we couldn’t afford turnovers, and that’s what got us in the end. I’m really proud of the defense, though. We contested every shot, but the 3-pointer the kid hit when they broke the press late was the dagger. It was a big time shot,” Adams admitted.
Bryson Smith had a fantastic game for the Irish and finished with 15 points on the night, and point guard Wesley Jones ran the show well, and chipped in nine points. Boyd Buchanan placed four in double digits with Jacob Shockley leading the brigade with 15 points.
“Shockley kept us in the game early, and if we need a bucket, he’s the one we are going to go to down low,” Templeton praised the sophomore.
Caden Johnson added 10 and Craw was good for another dozen to go along with Bailey’s strong second half. The Bucs shot 47 percent from the floor on 23 of 49 shooting while Notre Dame finished at a 43 percent clip on 18 of 42 shots.
Boyd Buchanan girls 58, Notre Dame 54 OT: It may have taken an extra four minutes of action, but with the stakes at hand, there wasn’t a single Boyd Buchanan player, coach or fan that cared about a free period of basketball.
Rallying from seven points down in the final two minutes of regulation, the Lady Bucs took control once in overtime and walked off the court a winner against the Lady Irish for the first time in recent memory.
“I’m not sure how long it has been, but I know none of the girls on this team has ever experienced it,” said Boyd Buchanan coach Tracey Barnett Walker. “We’ve had nine players with Covid this year and because of all that missed time on the court, I felt like tonight finally looked a little bit like what we were doing before it all hit us.”
Down 47-40 with 2:03 left, the Lady Bucs forced three straight turnovers and scored the final seven points to knot it and force the overtime. Addie Stone drained a long 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to even it, and Notre Dame missed a contested shot at the buzzer.
Once in OT, Boyd Buchanan scored the first eight points and withstood a late rally for the win. Kenzie Campbell scored all seven of Notre Dame’s points in the extra period, and her 3-pointer with 35 seconds left made it a 55-52 game. Campbell had a chance to tie it just under 10 seconds, but her 3-pointer was blocked by Riley Robertson, who then made one of two free throws to clinch it.
“We showed a lot of discipline and patience down the stretch, especially in overtime. Addie Stone hit two big 3s for us in the fourth to keep us in it, and our defense late in regulation made the difference with the turnovers,” Walker added.
Notre Dame turned it over seven times in the final period and had three more in the extra time. Jalisa Sanders led the winners with 20 points, while Campbell had 24 for Notre Dame and Claire Mullins added 12 before fouling out.
BOYD BUCHANAN 13 12 8 14 11 – 58
NOTRE DAME 9 13 15 10 7 – 54
BOYD BUCHANAN (58) – Stone 8, Robertson 9, Jalisa Sanders 20, Massey 9, Balthrop, Reeves 8, Garner 4.
NOTRE DAME (54) – Soutuyo 2, Kenzie Campbell 24, Wolf, Mary Fillauer 10, Skaggs 2, Gaines 4, Claire Mullins 12.
THREE-POINT GOALS: Boyd Buchanan 6 (Stone 2, Sanders 2, Reeves, Robertson); Notre Dame 6 (Campbell 3, Fillauer 3).
BOYD BUCHANAN 13 8 17 20 – 58
NOTRE DAME 14 13 10 12 – 49
BOYD BUCHANAN (58) – Caden Johnson 10, Johnston, Warmack, Lopez 2, Ace Bailey 13, Gay 6, John Craw 12, Miller, Jacob Shockley 15.
NOTRE DAME (49) – Jones 9, McCormack 8, Daniel, Bryson Smith 15, Houston 3, Kelley 5, McGee 5, Robinson 4.
THREE-POINT GOALS: Boyd Buchanan 4 (Craw 2, Shockley, C.Johnson); Notre Dame 6 (McCormack 2, Smith 2, Houston, Kelley).
(Contact James Beach via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @beachnut1134)