FRANKLIN FURNACE – It could have been rather easy for Notre Dame to attribute some of their defensive struggles in the early season, the few that there were, on the losses from last year’s 23-2 campaign, specifically the loss of Katie Dettwiller.
The now Saint Francis University freshman’s impact, on both ends of the floor, was hard to deny for Notre Dame head coach J.D. McKenzie, and also for those who had to compete against the Lady Titans.
Fast-forward nine months to present day, and Notre Dame (10-0, 7-0 SOC I) is coming off their best defensive three-game stretch of the season, and are still perfect record-wise heading into the new year.
In a five day span, Notre Dame earned a 14-point win over New Boston, the Lady Titans’ top competitor in the Southern Ohio Conference Division I, a 25-point win over perennial Division IV power Waterford, and the Lady Titans’ most recent impressive feat – a 71-26 win over Green (6-3, 5-2 SOC I) has the Titans heading into the holiday break 10-0 and playing their best defensive basketball of the season.
“These girls are anxious to show what they’re made of,” McKenzie said Monday. “There was some talk before the season with who we lost that we would be different. Every team is different, this team is different, and they’re really starting to come together.”
In their last nine quarters (72 minutes) of game action beginning with the fourth quarter of the New Boston win, Notre Dame has limited their opponents to just 63 total points.
In Monday’s win in Franklin Furnace, the Lady Titans’ full-court pressure caused a load of problems for the Lady Bobcats. Limiting their opponent to just five points in each of the first and second quarters, Notre Dame held a 44-10 halftime advantage over the third-place team in the SOC I standings.
“I thought defensively this was one of the better games we’ve played,” McKenzie said of Monday’s win. “We did good in our full-court pressure, and I also thought we did a good job in our half-court man-to-man, being able to get those traps in the half-court was good to see.”
“We’ve got to get better handling the basketball,” Green coach Melissa Knapp said following the loss. “This isn’t the first time that the pressure has gotten us, the fourth quarter of the New Boston game it also happened. Just have to get back in practice, and we have to go harder in practice. We have to raise our standards, that’s what we take from this.”
Notre Dame also relied heavily on the three-ball in Monday’s win, a sentence that surprises no one. The Lady Titans connected on 10-made three-point field goals in their 45-point win over Green with senior Taylor Schmidt connecting on a game-high three. In fact, each of Schmidt’s threes were of the back-to-back-to-back variety as the senior guard gave her Lady Titans a 24-5 lead after a first quarter in which she had a game-high 13 points.
In their last two wins over Green and Waterford, Notre Dame connected on a total of 19-made threes.
In total, 11 different Lady Titans broke into the scoring column in Monday’s win. Schmidt finished with a game-high 15 points, Ava Hassel finished with 14, Kamryn Bradford finished with 10, Claire Dettwiller and Isabel Cassidy scored eight apiece, Olivia Smith scored five, Mollie Creech scored three, and Cassie Schaefer, Annie Dettwiller, Ashley Holtgrewe, and Lauren Campbell scored two apiece.
Green’s Kasey Kimbler scored a team-high seven in Monday’s loss, Anna Knapp and Kame Sweeney scored six apiece, Brelan Baldridge scored four, Katelinn Satterfield scored two, and Charli Blevins scored one.
Notre Dame will carry their unbeaten start into the new year with key non-league battles versus Spring Valley (Wv.), Oak Hill, and Ashland (Ky.) highlighting the Lady Titans’ out-of-conference schedule.
After Monday’s win, Notre Dame has itself in perfect position to – if everything holds serve -maintain their one-game lead in SOC I play. January 30th’s rematch with New Boston at Homer Pelligrinon Gymnasium is also a match-up to circle in the Lady Titans’ pursuit of another outright SOC I championship.
Green is back in action Monday, December 30th versus Hannan (Wv.) in a road-trip to face the Hawks.
Notre Dame 24 20 13 14 – 71
Green 5 5 13 3 – 26
Notre Dame 71 (10-0, 7-0 SOC I)
Charlee Lansing 0 0-0 0, Taylor Schmidt 5 2-2 15, Ava Hassel 5 2-2 14, Cassie Schaefer 2 0-0 2, Mollie Creech 1 0-0 3, Olivia Smith 2 0-0 5, Annie Dettwiller 1 0-0 2, Chloe Delabar 0 0-0 0, Claire Dettwiller 4 0-0 8, Isabel Cassidy 3 3-4 10, Madison Brown 0 0-0 0, Ashley Holtgrewe 1 0-0 2, Lauren Campbell 1 0-0 2, Paeytn Collins 0 0-0 0, Mallory Boland 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 27 7-10 71; Three-point field goals: 10 (Schmidt 3, Hassel and Cassidy 2 apiece, Creech, Smith, Bradford 1 apiece)
Green 26 (6-3, 5-2 SOC I)
Anna Knapp 2 0-0 6, Kasey Kimbler 1 5-7 7, Kame Sweeney 2 2-2 6, Charli Blevins 0 1-2 1, Kaylee Christian 0 0-0 0, Brelan Baldridge 1 2-3 4, Katelinn Satterfield 1 0-0 2, Lori Brown 0 0-0 0, Alex Smith 0 0-0 0, Makayla Laber 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 7 10-14 26; Three-point field goals: 2 (Knapp 2)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved