Notre Dame 54, Waterford 29
by Paul Boggs
For a defensive-oriented unit, the Notre Dame Lady Titans torched the nets in the first half en route to a 25-point rout of the Waterford Lady Wildcats.
Notre Dame didn’t allow the Wildcats to reach the 30-point plateau, including only allowing six first-quarter points and four third-period points.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame almost outscored Waterford with the three-pointer alone — netting nine in the first half for 27 points, as that 27 was half of the Lady Titans’ total.
The Lady Titans are now a perfect 9-0, as in addition to their lockdown defense — they shot 9-of-15 from three-point range.
Notre Dame defeated visiting New Boston on Thursday night 66-52, but needed a 21-8 fourth-quarter blitz in order to secure that key conference (Southern Ohio Conference Division I) win.
Against non-league Waterford, a recent Division IV powerhouse which actually earned four consecutive trips to the state tournament including the 2016 championship, the Lady Titans had 41 points at halftime — compared to only 18 for the Lady Wildcats.
It was the ideal blend of defense and offense for Notre Dame, explained head coach J.D. McKenzie.
“Everything starts with our defense, and that sparks our offense,” he said. “We like to get out and get running, get points in transition and with rhythm threes. We shot the ball a lot better tonight than we did against New Boston the other night. We were making shots, and it dictated defensively what we wanted to do and put us in a rhythm offensively. We weren’t pleased with our performance against New Boston, but I thought the girls did a good job of getting their minds right, coming up here and making a statement with a big win.”
The Lady Titans never trailed and were only tied 2-2, as Taylor Schmidt split a pair of free throws at the four-and-a-half minute mark of the first quarter —from where Notre Dame dominated and only stretched the lead the remainder of the way.
In the first quarter, and against the Wildcats’ zone defense, Cassidy Schaefer and Isabel Cassidy with one apiece and Ava Hassel with two treys helped push the Lady Titan advantage to 17-6.
In the second stanza, Schmidt, Hassel and Schaefer drilled another three-ball each, before finally a pair from Annie Detwiller in the final 2:23.
Detwiller’s second triple was with 33 seconds remaining to make it 41-18 — which was the Lady Titans’ largest first-half advantage.
Their largest leads were a pair of 27-point cushions in the fourth quarter at 52-25 and 54-27.
Hassel, who actually received a formal full-ride offer from the University of Rio Grande on Saturday, had an old-fashioned three-point play nine seconds into the second quarter as well.
She paced the Lady Titans with 14 points, as Schmidt scored 10 points on four field goals — while Detwiller notched nine.
Schaefer added a pair of fourth-quarter free throws for eight points, as Lauren Campbell with three baskets for six and Claire Detwiller with two buckets for four rounded out the Notre Dame scoring.
“The other night we were 4-of-20 from three-point in the first half and tonight we were 9-of-15 from three-point in the first half. That’s the difference in putting the game away in the first half instead of having to struggle and work your way to getting a win in the fourth quarter,” said McKenzie. “When we are shooting the ball, we are pretty good. We’re always going to show up defensively, and we’re going to play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We have five or six girls who can shoot the ball extremely well from outside. Very rarely do we have all six of them ‘on’, but very rarely do we have all six of them ‘off’. We had pretty much everybody on tonight, and when that happens and we’re hitting from the outside, we’re tough to guard.”
Speaking of guarding, Notre Dame defensively allowed just three Waterford baskets in the opening quarter, as the Wildcats went four-and-a-half minutes in one stretch without scoring.
The second quarter was more of the same, as Jenessa Lang landed a pair of threes for the Wildcats for a 27-16 deficit at the 4:25 mark — but Waterford wouldn’t score again until Cara Taylor made a pair of foul shots over three-and-a-half-minutes later.
In the third frame, both teams tallied just four points on two field goals apiece, including Lang for Waterford, who led the now 4-2 Lady Wildcats with eight points.
Notre Dame will return to the road, and return to SOC I action, as it plays at Green on Monday.
The Lady Titans are the defending division champions, and lead the league at 6-0 — while Green is just one game back along with New Boston at 5-1.
New Boston handed the Lady Bobcats their lone league loss, as Notre Dame defeated the Lady Tigers as aforementioned on Thursday night.
It will be the Lady Titans’ fourth game in a week.
|December 21, 2019||SEO||2019-20|