Nothing told the story of St. Viator's 51-45 win at Notre Dame on Wednesday night better than a play by senior guard D.J. Morris.
The win completed St. Viator's sweep of the East Suburban Catholic Conference for the first time in its history. The Lions finished at 8-0 in the league and improved their overall mark to 23-3.
Tied at 39-39 following 2 free throws by Notre Dame's Eddie Serrano with 2:38 left in the game, the Dons came up with a midcourt steal by Greg Leifel.
As Leifel went for the layup, Morris came from behind to block the shot. The ball bounced as if it were headed out of bounds, but before it it did, Patrick Martin was able to grab it. He spotted Ore Arogundade in the right corner of the frontcourt and found him with a pass. Arogundade, playing his first game since spraining his left ankle last week, fired in a 3-pointer for a 42-39 Lions' lead with 2:12 left.
"It was a hustle play," said Morris of the block. "You can't give up on plays, and I didn't give up on it. You have to make plays like that to get it done and win games. I'm just so happy to be playing with my friends and winning this championship."
Arogundade, who scored all 11 points in the second half, had his choice of starting or coming off the bench. He came off the bench.
"I guess I made the right choice," said Arogundade. "I know that I'm a big playmaker on this team and I just wanted to help the team win. The shot I made was a momenteum-changer."
The Dons (19-8, 5-3) still made it close as a dunk from Jon Johnson (6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 blocks) closed the gap to 42-41 with 1:27 left.
St. Viator's Chris Myjak, who may have played his best game this season, converted a 3-point play with 1:07 left to give his team a 45-41 lead.
Matt Mooney (17 points) converted 2 free throws with 0:57 left for the Dons to make the score 45-43.
Arogundade came up with the clincher. Missing the second of 2 free throws, Arogundade rebounded the miss and converted a basket to make it 48-43 with 0:32 left. The Lions extended the lead to 51-43.
Myjak scored 16 points and had 15 rebounds to lead St. Viator, and drew praise from his teammates.
"Chris played like a monster," said Arogundade. "He may not get a lot of attention but he has done a lot for us."
"Chris was great on offense and defense and he hustled all over the floor," said Morris.
Myjak had to battle Johnson, a 6-7 sophomore, and Joe Ferrici, a 6-5 senior, most of the night.
"It's always a battle here, and it was going to be a tough game," said Myjak. "We just found a way to win. That's what's great about this team. We adjust to the game.
"Winning the championship is a great feeling. We have to give credit to coach (Mike Howland). He's really worked us hard this year. He has made us a great team and we're having fun."
"It was good game," said Notre Dame coach Tom Les. "Both teams played hard, but they played harder and made some great plays. I give them credit -- they went 8-0 in the league, and we have a good league."