2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 12/30/2016 11:30 PM

Sliwa, Fremd finish off Notre Dame in OT

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  • Fremd celebrates its victory over Notre Dame in the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

      Fremd celebrates its victory over Notre Dame in the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Luke Schoffstall attempts an off-balance shot as he encounters Notre Dame's Jeameril Wilson, middle, and Dusan Mahorcic during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

      Fremd's Luke Schoffstall attempts an off-balance shot as he encounters Notre Dame's Jeameril Wilson, middle, and Dusan Mahorcic during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Mark Kating, right, gets fouled by Notre Dame's Jeameril Wilson during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

      Fremd's Mark Kating, right, gets fouled by Notre Dame's Jeameril Wilson during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Luke Schoffstall steps over Notre Dame's Chris Heinichen after coming up with a loose ball during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

      Fremd's Luke Schoffstall steps over Notre Dame's Chris Heinichen after coming up with a loose ball during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • With the game tied at 53-53 in overtime, Fremd's Kyle Sliwa, left, collides with Notre Dame's Dusan Mahorcic during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

      With the game tied at 53-53 in overtime, Fremd's Kyle Sliwa, left, collides with Notre Dame's Dusan Mahorcic during the championship game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Fremd's Kyle Sliwa knew he had one more big play left in him.

Sliwa had just hit 1 of 2 free throws to put Fremd up 54-53 over Notre Dame with 4.1 seconds left in overtime.

With Notre Dame inbounding the ball under their own basket, Sliwa sat back near the halfcourt line and waited.

"I knew they were definitely going to (Notre Dame guard Matt) Stritzel," Sliwa said. "He is the guy that handles the ball at the end of the game on every play. So I left my guy and helped out and when he crossed back over, I was right there."

Sliwa swiped the ball away from Stritzel, and it bounced backward. By the time Notre Dame retrieved it, time had expired to give Fremd a 54-53 victory and the championship of the 39th annual Wheeling Hardwood Classic.

"It was a very exciting holiday tournament championship game," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "It was overtime, coming down to the last possession. I thought we played well and I thought Notre Dame did as well."

There weren't many secrets between the two teams. They'd met in Niles just 13 days ago in a game Fremd won 59-45.

"I thought the key was staying around and rebounding with them," Widlowski said. "I also thought that (Brian) Dompke's free throws in overtime were huge for us."

Twice in overtime, Notre Dame scored a basket to lead. And after each of those baskets, Dompke came back to hit a pair of free throws to tie the game back up.

"It was really physical out there tonight," said Dompke, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"They were sliding over in the zone to concentrate on Sliwa. That left me open or one-on-one in the post. We work on that in practice, so my teammates got me the ball."

Fremd (13-0), which last won the Hardwood in 2013 went 3D in the first half: dribble, drive, dish.

The Vikings hit 12 field goals with assists on 10 of them as they built a 29-24 advantage at the break.

Thanks to the strong inside play of Notre Dame's Jeameril Wilson (13 points, 9 rebounds) and Dusan Mahoric (9 points, 5 rebounds) along with the shooting of Stritzel (18 points), the Dons were able to take the lead at 39-38 with 6:57 to play.

The game was tied at 44 when Fremd's Ryan Martin nailed a line drive 3 to put the Vikings up with 4:03 to play.

Notre Dame (11-3) scored 5 unanswered points to pull ahead 49-47 with 1:38 left. Dompke answered with a basket on the next possession to tie the game.

Fremd had a chance to win in regulation. After the Vikes held the ball for nearly a minute, Martin's shot fell off the rim, sending the game to overtime.

"We knew we had to show some mental toughness in overtime," said Martin, who had 9 points. "It was great to beat them for a second time."

Sliwa, who was named tournament MVP, finished with 10 points. Luke Schoffstall had 7 points and Mark Kating came off the bench to score 6 points.

"I really think we had a determined effort all week," Widlowski said. "We were really focused on what we did.

"I thought our preparation for the tournament was great. The guys came in every day and really focused on the next opponent. It is a quick turnaround, getting up and getting ready for the next team."

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