By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
A lethargic start to Friday’s home conference contest against Clay was something Notre Dame coach Matt Mader was not happy with about his team.
“We didn’t have the energy that we’ve had to start ball games,” Mader said.
But a quick start for the Titans in the second half put their coach in a better mood as they were able to pressure the Panthers into submission and on their way to a 65-33 win in an SOC I boys game.
“Once you get on a roll with a steal, the kids feed on it,” Mader said.
Notre Dame (9-2, 5-1) used seven steals in the third quarter to expand a 25-14 lead at halftime to a 52-18 advantage at the end of the period. The Titans connected on their first eight shots of the period.
While the third quarter run can be used to point out when the game broke open, Clay coach Jack Trainer felt the walls on the levee started to crack before then.
“It got out of hand before (the third quarter),” Trainer said.
He pointed out that with his team down 20-14 late in the half, the Panthers (1-9, 1-5) gave up a 3-pointer to Kevin Lewis and a layup by Michael Mader at the buzzer. By that point in time, his team had surrendered eight of their 26 turnovers.
Two of those turnovers were on five-second inbounds calls and Trainer was out of both of his 30-second timeouts with 2:30 remaining in the half. He stated afterwards that three portions of the game — the last two minutes of the half, the first two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of regulation — all went in Notre Dame’s favor.
“Their pressure bothered us,” Trainer said. “When the game is on the line, we’ve got to handle their pressure.”
With four seniors what is one of his more inexperienced squads, Trainer felt that slowing the tempo would be to his team’s advantage. The plan worked for the first four minutes of the game as Clay was content on taking the air out of the ball and momentum was on their side, even though the 10-6 score was not in their favor.
“When we play the way we need to play, we’re fine,” Trainer said. “If that game gets above 50, that’s to (the Titans’) favor.”
But eventually the pressure and unselfishness of Notre Dame became too much to overcome. The Titans finished with 18 team assists compared to 11 team turnovers, nine people in the scoring column with three of them in double figures led by J. P. Kayser’s 13.
“We preach to our kids daily to share the ball,” Mader said. “We’re taking better care of the basketball as the season has progressed.”
Through 11 games, five different people have led Notre Dame in scoring. Chase Hiles and Tony Whitt led the Panthers with eight points each.
Both teams will have the rest of the weekend off in preparation for Tuesday’s conference games. Clay hosts New Boston while the Titans travel to Willow Wood to face Symmes Valley.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Clay 6 8 4 15 — 33
Notre Dame 10 15 27 13 — 65
Clay — Hiles 2-2-8, King 1-0-2, Evans 0-3-3, Whitt 4-0-8, Jackson 2-0-5, Martin 1-0-3, Crosier 1-0-2, Schmidt 1-0-2, Totals 12-5-33.
Notre Dame — Lewis 3-0-8, Smith 4-1-19, Ja. Kayser 0-2-2, Storey 1-0-2, Noel 5-0-10, Haney 1-1-3, J.P. Kayser 5-2-13, Mader 5-0-10, Pierron 2-0-4, Ogg 0-4-4, Totals 26-10-65.
3-Point Goals — Clay 4 (Hiles 2, Jackson, Martin); Notre Dame 3 (Lewis 2, J.P. Kayser).
Records — Clay 1-9 (1-5); Notre Dame 9-2 (5-1).