Boys Basketball: Big second half propels Notre Dame past NazarethLa Grange Park, IL - Saturday, January 14, 2012: Nazareth's Dan Kienzle (11) drives towards the basket on Notre Dame. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2012 11:24PM
When the offense comes, the defense usually follows and Notre Dame used a 46-point second half and an elevated defensive effort to win 65-54 over Nazareth Academy on Saturday.
The win improved the Dons’ East Suburban Catholic Conference record to 2-0 and upped their overall mark to 14-4 on the year.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the first half and sometimes for kids, when they make shots it’s much easier for them to play defense,” Notre Dame coach Tom Les said. “In the second half we made shots and then that adrenaline fed into our defense.”
Nazareth (5-11, 1-2 in ESCC play) led 23-19 at halftime, holding the Dons to four second-quarter points. The Dons scored 21 in the third quarter and 25 in the fourth, but Nazareth coach John Bonk liked the poise and guts that a young team with two starting freshmen showed against Notre Dame.
“If we played this game two weeks ago it wouldn’t have been this close,” Bonk said. “We’re proud of the way our kids played tonight. If we played this before Christmas we probably would have got beat by 25.”
Junior Matt Mooney led the Dons in scoring with 16 points, including an 8 of 9 free throw performance in the fourth quarter, but Les has enjoyed parity in the scoring column throughout the season.
“We’ve had eight or nine different players lead us in scoring on a given night,” Les said. “Tonight it was (Mooney) but I also thought (Joe) Johnson played pretty good tonight and Joe Ferrici had a ton of rebounds for us.”
Nazareth junior John Bonk scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and teammate Kevin Stiff netted 10 points on the night.
“They’re physical, they’re big, and they’re young,” Les said of Nazareth. “They’re going to be a good team to reckon with over the next couple of years.”