Notre Dame, Perrysburg see seasons end in regional semifinals
By: Mark Monroe, Toledo Blade
NORWALK, Ohio – Notre Dame and Perrysburg both ran into defensive buzz-saws and saw their seasons end in the Sweet 16 of the Division I tournament on Tuesday night.
No. 10 ranked Notre Dame struggled mightily knocking down shots in a 33-27 loss to Strongsville (21-4 in the regional semifinals.
Perrysburg also had trouble generating offense and committed too many turnovers in a 47-33 setback to No. 9 ranked Wadsworth (23-3), which has won two state titles with the last in 2016.
The Eagles (21-5) and Yellow Jackets (22-4) both captured league and district titles but fell in the regional semis at Norwalk High School.
In the opener, Strongsville employed an incredibly stingy 2-3 zone defense. Notre Dame made just 11 of 47 shots from the field (23.4 percent). The Eagles scored just seven points in the second half, including two in the third quarter.
Notre Dame trailed by only two, 22-20, at the half. But it made just one of 13 shots from the field in the third quarter to fall behind 25-22. The Eagles also had difficulty with the Mustangs’ length inside, getting out-rebounded 29-21.
“They are long and active inside,” ND coach Travis Galloway said. “They did a great job with their 2-3 zone. But we had some looks at the rim that didn’t go. You have to credit them. We didn’t do a good job finishing at the rim but that’s because of how long they are. We couldn’t get second chances.”
Notre Dame junior Kailah Johnson scored a game-high 13 points.
Jala Johnson and Ariel Cummings entered the game each averaging just under 12 points per game. Jala Johnson was held to just six points – two 3-pointers in the first half. Cummings tallied just four points.
Strongsville’s Lindsey Thall (6-2) and Reagan Bass (6-0) were too tough defensively in the paint. Marnae Holland paced the Mustangs with 10 points. Bass had eight rebounds.
Notre Dame ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run to grab a 13-9 lead. The Eagles’ stingy half-court defense forced five turnovers. They opened the game with three consecutive 3 pointers, including two from Kailah Johnson. Cummings then had a block at the defensive end and scored inside to put ND up 11-9. Maelyn Kizer then scored inside on a quick dish from Jala Johnson as the Eagles took a four-point lead into the second quarter.
But Strongsville strung together an 8-0 run to go up 18-15 with 1:13 left in the first half. The Mustangs took their largest lead at 22-17 with 12 seconds remaining. But Jala Johnson drilled a 3 pointer right at the first-half buzzer to make it a two-point game at 22-20 at the break.
Notre Dame won the Three Rivers Athletic Conference championship with a 14-0 record. The Eagles had advanced to the state final four in five of the past six seasons, including D-I state runner-up finishes in 2015 and last year.
“It’s tough,” Galloway said. “You go so hard and the next thing you know it’s over. It’s a very empty feeling.”
Source: Toledo Blade Article