By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
MCDERMOTT — When a planned offensive explosion doesn’t work out, the defensive end is relied upon that much more.
That’s how top-seeded Notre Dame captured a Division IV Southeast Sectional Championship at Northwest High School. The Lady Titans held No. 5 Ironton St. Joseph to one field goal each in the first and third quarters as Notre Dame advanced with a 38-25 victory.
For the game, the Lady Flyers were 7-of-39 from the floor and were forced into 23 turnovers. But the Lady Titans didn’t fare any better as they were 15-for-60 shooting and committed 14 miscues.
“In tournament time, as long as you win, it don’t matter,” Notre Dame coach JD McKenzie said. “We would’ve liked to have played better but they played very well defensively.”
One person who stood out on the defensive end for the Lady Titans was Madi Phillips. A game after not dressing for the 66-37 win over Western, Phillips was the first to come off the bench after Katie Kayser exited with two early fouls.
“When Madi comes in, it obviously speeds up our tempo and we wanted to play fast,” McKenzie said. “I felt we were faster than they are, we transition well and you can tell that.
“When we had the (personnel) in there that we could run with, we did run. And we would pull away.”
The problem for McKenzie’s bunch trying to speed up the game was the frequency of fouls.
Notre Dame endured two scoring droughts in the first half. The first was when they missed eight-straight shots and allowed St. Joseph to climb back to tie the game at 9-9.
After the two teams traded baskets to stalemate the score again, Jen Arnzen’s 3-pointer put the Lady Titans in control the rest of the way. While the triple made it 14-11, Notre Dame missed its final nine shots of the half and led 14-13 thanks to a pair of Hannah Miller free throws.
The Lady Titan defense flexed their collective muscles in the third quarter, holding the Lady Flyers to 1-of-14 shooting in the third quarter. The staunch work helped give Notre Dame a chance to double up St. Joseph 10-5 in the period and put the game out of reach.
The one statistic that upset McKenzie the most was in rebounding. Although the Lady Titans won the category 46-38, he felt it was too high on the opposition’s side.
Leading the way in both scoring and rebounding for Notre Dame was Jen Arnzen, who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“Jen’s older now and she’s kind of a crafty veteran,” McKenzie said. “She’s going to get hers.”
After going for a career-high 24 points in the last game, Raigan Sammons was held to three points. McKenzie credited the constant change in defenses for when she and Arnzen were on the floor as reasons to the low scoring.
The Lady Titans are now approaching even more unusual territory. The win marks the first time in school history they will be making back-to-back district appearances.
Notre Dame will have a week off before traveling to Jackson to take on second-seeded Reedsville Eastern, which beat No. 6 South Webster 83-54. Tip is scheduled for 1:45 p.m.
Miller led the Lady Flyers with 12 points. Kayser added nine for the Lady Titans.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Ironton St. Joseph 3 10 5 6 — 25
Notre Dame 9 14 20 24 — 38
Ironton St. Joseph —Roach 1-0-3, A. Neal 1-1-3, S. Neal 1-0-2, H. Miller 3-6-12, Bartram 1-1-4, Martin 0-1-1, Totals 7-9-25.
Notre Dame —Kayser 4-0-9, Welsh 3-0-6, Phillips 2-0-4, Pierron 1-0-2, Arnzen 3-5-12, Sammons 1-1-3, Totals 15-6-38.
3-Point Goals —Ironton St. Joseph 2 (Roach, Bertram); Notre Dame 2 (Kayser, Arnzen).