The Notre Dame boys and girls’ basketball programs ran into a pair of basketball buzzsaws Monday night as they hosted their Thanksgiving Invitational. The two teams repping the white, gold, and green colors of the Fighting Irish would go on to lose by a combined total of 66 points. The boys' team would fall to the Webb Spartans, 26-70, and the girls' team would go on to lose, 36-62. It will be a day both Notre Dame basketball programs will soon want to forget.
The Knox Catholic girls' team is stacked with lethal shooters, and leading the way for this group of shooters is no other than the head coach's daughter, Sydney Mains. Mains would lead all scorers in this contest with 21 points, and she would get all 21 of her points from behind the arc, knocking down seven three pointers. The senior sniper punished the opposing Lady Irish with her high-arching shot. She was quick to find the open space on the floor, and even quicker to get off her release. Head coach of the Lady Irish, Jason Hill, made adjustments to his defense in the second half eventually moving on from his 2-3 zone, and despite his changes, Mains and Catholic continued to shoot fireballs. They were just in a zone offensively and were even more so defensively.
Catholic rolled out a swarming, and suffocating press throughout the majority of the game. This press made it near impossible for the Lady Irish to be able to get into any type of rhythm, as they were often rushed to make split-second decisions. Notre Dame was also down one of their main ball handlers in, Maliyah Maples, who was out with an apparent knee injury, and not having her paid even more dividends to the side of Catholic.
Overall, it was the hot shooting of Mains and a scrappy high-level team defense that would be the downfall of the Notre Dame girls' team.
In the boys' game, the tale of the tape was eerily similar. The Notre Dame boys couldn’t get their offense in any type of groove either due to Webb’s elite defense. The Spartans' head coach Ricky Norris, put a defense on coaching display that you would not typically see at any level of basketball. Coach Norris would roll out a possession-switching defense. You heard that right, a possession switching defense. A 2-3 zone, a 1-3-1 zone, a full-court press, and even just straight-up man-on-man defense, coach Norris implemented them all throughout the game, sometimes even switching the defenses on back-to-back possession. Thus, giving the defense its name, a possession-switching defense.
This defense would give Notre Dame trouble all night, and the ball movement of Webb’s offense would do the Irish in. Swing, swing, drive, cut, swing again. An open shot not being taken on a Spartan offensive possession was a rarity. And all these open looks would come in an avalanche in the second quarter for Webb as they would put up 28 points. This snowballing of points that fell for Webb in this quarter would pretty much seal the Irish’s fate in the game.
Both Fighting Irish teams would not go home happy from a disappointing showing on Monday night, but there is always a bigger picture. Both Notre Dame teams are just two games into the season and will have plenty of time to improve heading forward.
KNOX CATHOLIC 18 7 24 13 -- 62
NOTRE DAME 7 2 12 15 -- 36
KNOX CATHOLIC (62) - Mitchell 2, Logan Connaster 14, Timmerman-Pelensky 2, Perry 8, Flores 4 Redd 8, Sydney Mains 21, Frana 3
Notre Dame (36) - Baird 6, Spurgen 2, Dayonna Perryman 12, Kitchens 2, McCormick 3, Violet Wright 11
3-point goals: Knox Catholic 10 (Mains 7, Connaster 2, Perry); Notre Dame 1 (McCormick)
Records: Knox Catholic 3-1, 0-0; Notre Dame 1-1, 0-0.
KNOX WEBB 8 28 23 11 -- 70
NOTRE DAME 3 10 4 9 -- 26
KNOX WEBB (70) - Owen Lentz 14, Pompey 2, Bowers 6, Swearengen 8, Dirl 2, Leeth 9, Wilson Luton 14, Drake Ingram 15
NOTRE DAME (26) - Webb 2, Braylon Hammond 10, Herman 9, Fillauer 2, Roberts 3
3-point goals: Knox Webb 11 (Luton 4, Lentz 3, Ingram 3, Herman); Notre Dame 3 (Hammond 2, Roberts)
Records: Webb 2-0, 0-0; Notre Dame 0-2, 0-0.
(Email Gray Deyo at email@example.com)