PORTSMOUTH – When you run into a hot shooting team, there’s little you can do to stop them, let alone slow them down.
That’s exactly what happened to the Notre Dame Titans on their home court in their season opening game against Western.
Western shot the ball extremely well in the first three quarters, well enough to sink 10 threes in the game’s first 24 minutes to hold a 46-24 lead over the Titans.
“They’re a nice team, and Coach Fitch does a nice job with them,” said Titans head coach Matt Mader following the game on Friday night, “We had some good battles when he was with Eastern years ago. I thought their kids guarded really well in the first half and rerouted a lot of what we wanted to do. We struggled with the physicality early.”
Despite the 22 point deficit, the Titans never quit on their home court as they came out of the third quarter break firing and at one point cutting their deficit to just 12.
“We were able to adjust there in the second half,” said Mader. “I was proud of our kids effort as we made a couple runs there in the second half, and at one point cut a 24 point lead down to 12. They called a couple of timeouts, and I told the kids there were a lot of positives we can build off of moving forward.”
Leading the Titans in scoring was Jackson Clark who had a team high 17 points while also grabbing 6 rebounds and going 4/4 from the foul line, and also Mader’s son, Ben, who had 14 points on 4/6 shooting from behind the arc.
“Those are two kids that we look to for scoring. That first half give Western a lot of credit, they guarded us very well. Got us off our mark, couldn’t build any momentum. Just dug ourselves too big of a hole to dig out of. But I’m really proud of our kids effort in the second half for never quitting. It’s a long season, game one, and I knew it was going to be a challenge for us.”
Notre Dame will have a quick turnaround when they will travel to Raceland (Ky.) to take on the Rams in an inter-state battle, one that Mader is hoping to be able take some positives from tonight’s contest and carry them over into Saturday night.
“We’ve got a lot of sophomores that got some playing time that they haven’t had in the past in varsity basketball,” said Mader. “Caleb Nichols, Ethan Kammer, and Gabe Pettay. Those guys helped us out a little bit last year but played major minutes tonight. We’re hoping they continue to get better, and I know they will. Effort wise was there, and we’re very happy about that, and we’re looking forward to our next challenge tomorrow night.”
Notre Dame: 5-8-11-14 – 38
Western: 14-12-20-11 – 57
Notre Dame: 12/33 FG, 9/21 3pt. (Mader 4), 5/8 FT. Scoring: Clark 17, Mader 14, Nichols 4, Harrell 3
Western: 21 FGs, 11 3pt. (Humphreys 6) 5/6 FT. Scoring: Humphreys 24, Brewster 20, Gibson 11, Jordan 2
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT