IRONTON — For the second time this season, the Notre Dame Titans fell to the St. Joesph Flyers. Unlike the first contest that went down to the wire, St. Joesph built a solid second half lead before winning the contest 55-45.
Notre Dame (11-5) shot 31.5 percent from the field and only connected on one attempt (1-14) from behind the three point line. The Titans also turned the ball over 16 times and committed 17 fouls.
Notre Dame was lead by Brooke Pierron who was named the most valuable player for the Titans. Pierron finished the game with a double-double, scoring 20 points and collecting 12 rebounds. Pierron capped off a strong game by getting to the charity stripe seven times, converting six free throws.
”I thought she performed well offensively and played hard on the boards,” Notre Dame coach J.D McKenzie said.
Despite the strong performance, Pierron wasn’t interested in her individual accolades, only her team’s execution, which was inconsistent throughout the game.
Even though the Titans performance was inconsistent, Notre Dame was only trailing by a single point with 2.30 left to go in the third quarter when Maggie Hoover was forced to check out of the game with her fourth foul. However, once Hoover excited the game, the lady Flyers connected on five-straight 3-point attempts to increase their lead to a baker’s dozen.
”I’m always hoping I could do better and I could’ve finished better ,” Pierron said. “Nothing of that matters to me if my team doesn’t win in the end. This was a big game for us, I wish we could have pulled it out. We had a huge lack of communication tonight.”
Notre Dame struggled to guard Amber Neal and Hannah Miller who combined to hit 10 shots from behind the arc. Neal shot .500 from the three-point line, 6-out-of-12, on her way to a game high 23 points.
Miller finished with 18 points, while hitting four out of her 10 three points attempts.
“We had some lapses on their shooters,” McKenzie said. “We showed our age a little leaving Neal and Miller open. Basically, I felt like we let two girls bet us tonight. That was the frustrating part. We’ve done a pretty good job in the past of holding Hannah in check offensively, while making their other players beat us if they could. And Amber Neal shot the ball extremely well from three and Hannah hit some big shots. Our age showed a couple of times.
Despite the defensive lapses and communication issues, Notre Dame was more physical than St. Joesph for much of the game. The Titans out rebounded the Flyers 41-29, including 19 offensive boards, seven of which belonged to Hagen Schaeffer who finished with 10 boards.
Ragen Kayser was one rebound short of a double-double as she finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The victory was extra special for St. Joesph coach Nick Miller who desperately wanted to beat the Titans. According to Miller, the Titans have had a dominate edge over the Flyers in every sport, including girl’s basketball.
”They are our rival,” Miller said. “There are two Catholic high schools in southern Ohio, St. Joe and Portsmouth Notre Dame. And unfortunately, they’ve had the upper hand in just about every sports over the last several years. And they’ve beaten us, since I’ve been at St. Joe, six times. This year, we’ve gotten them twice. It really does feel good. I’m just happy for the kids because they got pounded on when they were young, and now they are juniors and seniors, and they were able to come out on the winning of it.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.
Notre Dame 11 11 11 12 — 45
St. Joesph 13 11 16 15 — 55
Notre Dame — Pierron 7-6-20, Kayser 3-4-10, Schaeffer 3-0-6, Stevenson 2-0-4, Hoover 1-0-3, Edwards 1-0-2. Totals 17-10-45.
St. Joesph — Neal 8-1-23, H. Miller 6-2-18, M. Miller 3-1-7, Bridges 2-0-4, Booker 1-1-5. Totals 20-5-55.
3-point field goals — Notre Dame 1 (Hoover); St. Joesph 10 (Neal 6, Miller 4).
Records — Notre Dame 11-5; St. Joesph 13-6.