Balanced Central Defeats Short-Handed Notre Dame

Matthew Sharpe Scores 18 As Pounders Claim 60-46 Victory

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2023
  • John Hunt

Central coach Kantonio Davis will not apologize for scheduling tough opponents in the early season for his Purple Pounder basketball team, knowing that it only makes his team better on down the line.

The Pounders started their season with just one win in four games, but they improved to 2-3 at home Tuesday night with a 60-46 victory over Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish finished as the D-II Class A state runner-up last spring and hopes are high for a repeat performance, but the Irish have had more than their share of bad luck as All-State stud Cole McCormick suffered a broken wrist and a sprained wrist on the same play in a pre-season scrimmage and fellow starter Gabe Flowers suffered a sprained ankle and is yet to play.

The Fighting Irish are now winless in five games, including the loss on Tuesday, but coach Jonathan Adams simply refuses to make excuses for such a tough start.

“We can’t make excuses at this point.  I thought we looked lost at times tonight, but I’ll take the full blame for that as I just didn’t have them ready to play,” Adams said while sitting in a quiet Notre Dame dressing room following the game.

“I’m confident that we’ll figure it out and we won’t be like this forever.  We’ve had more than our share of adversity, but we’ll just keep battling.  I thought we played really hard at the end and showed some grit, so it wasn’t all bad,” he added.

Davis has a lot of talent on this Central team and he’s one of those coaches who is always looking to play just a little bit better.  That was certainly the case following Tuesday’s win.

“No, I’m not very pleased with the way we played as we didn’t close it well at the end.  We didn’t show much discipline down the stretch, but the kids were excited.  We’re still learning how to win and I’m happy about that as we’ll take it,” he said while Central players were putting courtside chairs in the storage closet.

“We hit a few big shots down the stretch and I think we’re heading in the right direction, but we’re still a work in progress.  We had a few mental breakdowns at times, but overall, I thought we did a great job tonight,” he added.

Gaas Herman scored Notre Dame’s first bucket as the Fighting Irish had the lead for most of the first quarter.  Matthew Sharpe scored on a putback right before the buzzer as the Purple Pounders tied the game at 11-11 when the first stanza ended.

Herman canned a 3 from the key to put Notre Dame up 14-13 at the start of the second and it scored on a layup at the 4:33 mark for an 18-17 Irish lead before the Purple Pounders finished the half on a 10-2 run for a 27-20 lead at intermission.

Central then scored seven of the first eight points in the second half and Notre Dame never any closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Bryant Charles scored on a short bank shot with 5:13 to play for Central’s biggest lead at 55-37, but the Irish kept battling and cut the final margin to a more respectable 14 points.

Sharpe scored 18 points to lead the Central attack while Nikolas Sanderfer added a dozen on four 3s in the second half.  Keyonta Powell was also in double figures for Central with 10.

Herman was tops for Notre Dame with 16 points while Braylon Hammond and Max Santiesteban followed with 11 each.

Both teams had an unofficial 28 rebounds.  Powell was tops for Central with five while Herman had seven for Notre Dame and Landon Goeller five.

NOTRE DAME GIRLS 60, CENTRAL 8:  The Lady Irish scored the game’s first 19 points and breezed to victory as Central was held scoreless in the second half.

Violet Wright was tops for Notre Dame with 18 points while Callie McCormick added 15 and Erin Spurgeon 12.

Tre’Meshia had six points for the Lady Pounders, both on long shots, while Presley Morgan had the other two points.

Notre Dame will host Silverdale in its next game on Friday while Central will travel to Red Bank to face the Lions in their first district game also on Friday.


NOTRE DAME  21  14  12  13  --  60

CENTRAL  5  3  0  0  --  8

NOTRE DAME (60) – Baird 7, Erin Spurgeon 12, Perryman 2, Pollak, Kitchings 3, Brown, Callie McCormick 15, Walling 3, Violet Wright 18.

CENTRAL (8) – McKibbins, Woods, Wade, Alford, McCallum, Martin 6, Nixon, Morgan 2.

3-Point Goals: Notre Dame 6 (McCormick 3, Baird, Spurgeon, Kitchings); Central 2 (Martin 2).


NOTRE DAME  11  9  13  13  --  46

CENTRAL  11  16  19  14  --  60

NOTRE DAME (46) – Braylon Hammond 11, Goeller, Gaas Herman 16, Max Santiesteban 11, Brown, Shope, Roberts 5, Robinson 3.

CENTRAL (60) – Watson 7,  V. Powell Jr, Patillo, Charles 2, Taylor, Crigger 2, Keyonta Powell 10, Yearby 1, Nikolas Sanderfer 12, Walker, Williams 8, Matthew Sharpe 18.

3-Point Goals: Notre Dame 5 (Hammond, Herman, Santiesteban, Robinson); Central 6 (Sanderfer 4, Williams 2).

(Email John Hunt at

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