PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, Thursday night served as just another coronation for the Notre Dame Lady Titans.
That’s right, the Lady Titans are once again undisputed —and undefeated to date —queens of the Southern Ohio Conference Division I, which is now nine times over.
On a night of no surprises, but nice recognition abound and honoring the Lady Titans’ trio of seniors, Notre Dame defeated a young and undermanned Green Lady Bobcat team by a count of 73-9.
With that score, the contest actually stood tied at 2-2 —thanks to the prearranged setup of Notre Dame senior Mallory Boland and Green senior Anna Knapp scoring uncontested baskets before the action ultimately began.
Both Boland, unfortunately unable to play due to her medical situation following her being involved in an automobile accident, and Knapp —suffering a torn ACL injury only three weeks ago which ended her high school career —made their field goals.
Knapp, the Lady Bobcats’ leading scorer before the unfortunate injury, checked out to the bench —and Boland did the same soon after, to a standing ovation from the Notre Dame faithful.
From there, the Lady Titans tallied the next 39 points —then answered a Katelinn Satterfield free throw for Green by scoring another nine.
Satterfield sank two more foul shots with 65 first-half seconds left, as Notre Dame did lead at halftime 51-5 —before Satterfield and Lori Brown bagged a basket apiece early in the third frame.
Then, defensive-oriented Notre Dame dialed up the game’s final 20 points, played all of its reserves early and often—and pitched shutout of the Lady Bobcats in the final quarter.
With that, the Lady Titans officially captured their 117th consecutive SOC I win —with their 13th conference triumph this season in as many tries, and only a game at Ironton St. Joseph on Thursday standing between them and another undefeated 14-0 run through the SOC I.
Notre Dame did cut its nets down following the win, and held up fingers numbering nine for the celebratory team photograph.
“The really cool thing about it is we (NDHS coaching staff) have never coached a player that has not won an SOC championship since we’ve been coaching,” said Notre Dame’s 13-year head coach J.D. McKenzie. “So many kids never get an opportunity in sports to win championships like that. Every kid which has played for us has won at least one, and most have won multiple. We’ve set a standard here where we’ve had a lot of girls come through. To basically go eight years in a row and not lose an SOC game, that’s pretty special and speaks a lot to the kids we’ve had, the work they’ve put in and the buy-in they’ve had. We have a standard of excellence that we try to keep and do every day, whether it is practices or games.”
Speaking of ‘14, it was 2014 when last Notre Dame didn’t win the SOC I, as Eastern —now residing in the much-larger SOC II —claimed it that season.
Yes, that’s correct, for the last time the Lady Titans lost a conference clash —the world was still months away from “Back to The Future Day (Oct. 21, 2015)”.
In addition to now nine straight SOC I titles, Notre Dame has actually won 11 of the last dozen —with 2012 and 2013 championship years as well.
The program’s first league championship came clear back in 1984.
Notre Dame raised its record to 17-1 —its only loss against Ashland (58-51) two weeks ago (Jan. 18), and without junior point guard Annabelle Ball in that matchup against an Ohio Division II equivalent.
The Lady Bobcats fell to 5-11 and 4-8, as Green was the club which was a footnote in last season’s Lady Titan trailblazing campaign —as Notre Dame defeated the Lady Bobcats back-to-back for SOC consecutive wins 99 and 100.
For those into counting, the state record for consecutive conference victories is 141 — by the private-school powerhouse that is indeed Columbus Africentric.
Notre Dame’s three seniors have indeed left their legacy —never once losing in the conference, and so far going 84-10 as a four-year senior class.
They have one Division IV regional runner-up, and back-to-back Division IV district runners-up to Waterford.
With four more regular-season games remaining, including at undefeated and now 19-0 Berne Union on Saturday, those Lady Titans —Boland, Kamryn Bradford and Annie Dettwiller —can hit in fact a great 88.
But first things first, Thursday night was all about honoring them.
Notre Dame didn’t have a Senior Night last season, simply because it had no seniors.
Not this year, though, as McKenzie said “these seniors set good standards and show leadership and all the young kids look up to them.”
“Those three girls are really tight and really good friends and have been around for four years. Annie and Kamryn have been real big parts of our varsity team for four years, and Mallory is just a great teammate. Doctors thought it was best that Mallory shut athletic activities down the rest of the season, and she didn’t get a lot of varsity minutes in her career, but she has been a great practice player, showed up every day and never complained,” said the coach. “Kamryn has gotten so much better defensively over the years and Annie is so versatile both guarding one thru five and playing offense one thru five. We’re going to miss them all for different reasons once this is over. They’ve been a really good class.”
Dettwiller scored a dozen points on Senior Night including a three-point goal, as Bradford bucketed a first-quarter three-pointer as well.
Gracie Ashley, the junior forward who bookended the second period with an old-fashioned three-point play and a trifecta of her own, paced the Lady Titans with 18 points.
Katie Strickland scored five field goals for 10 points, as fellow junior Ella Kirby canned eight first-quarter points —on two threes and one two.
Ashley, Strickland, Kirby, Ball and Bree Hicks will be just five of the Lady Titans trying to make it 10 league titles in a row —an entire year from now.
But as the calendar flips to February, and hopefully for Notre Dame to March, this Titan team is indeed eyeing a Division IV state tournament ticket.
“Our work isn’t done yet. And we don’t talk about it much, but I know what those girls are thinking and what those seniors are thinking. They have a great tournament run on their mind and one to go out on,” said McKenzie. “It’s a special group of seniors and we have a lot of pieces around them. They haven’t quit working hard or quit leading. This is their last go-round and they are taking advantage of it.”
* * *
Green 2 5 9 0—9
Notre Dame 34 17 14 8— 73
GREEN 9 (5-11, 4-8 SOC I)
Lori Brown 1 0-2 2, Makayla Laber 0 0-0 0, Katelinn Satterfield 1 3-4 5, Anna Knapp 1 0-0 2, Alex Smith 0 0-0 0, Mylee Brown 0 0-0 0, Isabella Conley 0 0-2 0, Mylee Hunt 0 0-0 0, Ava Abrams 0 0-2 0; TOTALS 3 3-10 9; Three-point field goals: none
NOTRE DAME 73 (17-1, 13-0 SOC I)
Taylor Lasswell 0 1-2 1, Lilly Madden 0 0-0 0, Ella Kirby 3 0-0 8, Maddie Entler 0 0-0 0, Kamryn Bradford 1 0-0 3, Annie Dettwiller 5 1-1 12, Maycee Ford 1 0-0 2, Savannah Holtgrewe 1 0-0 2, Mallory Boland 1 0-0 2, Lyndsey Schaefer 1 0-0 3, Bree Hicks 2 1- 2 5, Kailee Ogier 0 0-0 0, Annabelle Ball 2 0-0 5, Kaylyn Darden 1 0-0 2, Gracie Ashley 8 1-2 18, Katie Strickland 5 0-0 10; TOTALS 31 4-7 73; Three-point field goals: 7 (Ella Kirby 2, Kamryn Bradford, Annie Dettwiller, Lyndsey Schaefer, Annabelle Ball and Gracie Ashley 1 apiece)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved