MCDERMOTT – The Notre Dame Titans are a force, in a good way for them, and in a bad way for any opponent that crosses their path.
After the Titans 58-15 sectional final win over SOC I foe New Boston, the Titans proved that like always, when it comes to tournament time, they’re going to be a threat.
“Something that we talked about is that we wanted to get out to a fast start,” said Notre Dame head coach J.D. McKenzie following the Titans 43 point win Thursday. “We knew they (New Boston) would be excited to play, kind of have that nothing to lose to lose attitude, we didn’t want to give them any momentum, so we knew a fast start was important, especially on the defensive end.”
A fast start is an understatement. A massive one. To start Thursday’s game, Notre Dame jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes, and never once looked back. After the first quarter, the Titans held a 18-4 lead, and continued to roll from there en route to their 43 win.
A big part of that? The return of talented junior guard Taylor Schmidt. Schmidt returned last Friday in a conference game against East after suffering an injury that sidelined her for a few weeks during the latter part of the regular season.
In her third game back on Thursday, Schmidt helped contribute to the fast start by getting three steals in the fits two and a half minutes, and by game’s end, collecting a total of eight steals in just over three quarters of play.
“That’s the thing, she’s such a versatile player, on both ends of the court, she’s not just a defender,” said McKenzie. “She’s also a volume scorer, she can shoot the ball well, as a team we didn’t shoot all that well, but when we get hot we’re going to be dangerous. Taylor brings another dimension to everything that we do, getting her back was huge for us.”
After a 21-1 regular season record, the only blemish being a seven point loss to the third ranked team in Division III in Waynesville, it’s safe to say that the Titans thrive in the tournament environment, even more so than the regular season.
“It’s so much fun, and the girls love it,” said McKenzie when asked about his team thriving in a postseason environment. “There’s nothing like it, it’s a one and done environment, you know you have to bring your best every night. Working on one opponent a week, working on things you know you’re going to see. It’s fun, the girls love it, you love it when the girls come out and perform like they did tonight.”
Notre Dame’s sectional final win over New Boston means the Titans advance to the district finals held at Jackson High School next Thursday where they will face the winner of Federal Hocking and Symmes Valley for a spot in the district title game.
The most important thing for the Titans as they prepare for a postseason that potentially ends in a trip to Columbus in mid-March? The little things, and continuity.
“We’ve got to clean up little mental errors where we have a small lapse in focus, a bad decision offensively that turns into something. If we make teams go against our defense, when they’re not in transition, we feel like we’re going to win every game we’re in. If we can be that good defensively and hold teams in the twenty and thirty’s going forward, I think we’re going to be okay. Offensively, we’re going to put a couple tweaks in that we can go to when things are going sluggish for us.”
ND: 18-14-21-4 – 57
NB: 4-5-2-4 – 15
ND: 27 FG, 2 3PT (Cassidy 2), 1/4 FT. Scoring: Hash 11, Schmidt 10, Cassidy 10, K. Dettwiller 10, Hassel 4, Smith 4, C. Dettwiller 4, Schaefer 2, Campbell 2
NB: 5 FG, 1 3PT (L. Oiler 1), 4/12 FT. Scoring: L. Oiler 10, Hickman 2, S. Oiler 2, Whitley 1
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT