A visit to the historic gym at Notre Dame, with its fan seating above the court, did not seem to suit visiting Carmel Catholic.
The Corsairs did their best to deal with it, along with a loud environment courtesy of the host Dons in their first home game of the season.
But Carmel never quite adjusted to Notre Dame 6-foot-9 senior Dusan Mahorcic. He came up with a statistical monster of a game, finishing with 34 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
Carmel stay close to Notre Dame but lost 69-58 in an East Suburban Catholic Conference game Friday night in Niles.
The Corsairs suffered their second straight ESCC loss (0-2) and now are 6-3 overall. Notre Dame improved to 4-4 and 1-1.
"This is a great high school environment, and we knew coming in that (Notre Dame) was ready to go," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said. "They had a raucous crowd. I thought at times we could've folded and lost by 20 or 25. But our guys kept pushing and got it under 10 for most of the fourth quarter.
"I'm proud on how our guys battled. We didn't play great -- that was one of our poorer defensive games this year. But this was a good experience for our guys. It shows that we can play with anyone. We do play a tough schedule and we don't play any cupcakes in our league."
The game was close in the opening quarter before the Dons pushed the pace toward the end of the quarter. Anthony Sales (9 points) hit a couple of treys, including one at the first-period buzzer for a 23-10 lead.
Then Mahorcic took over in the post with his scoring, rebounding and shot blocking. Still, the Corsairs trailed just 40-32 at the half.
"We knew coming in that (Mahorcic) was going to be a beast," Ryan added. "We talked about fronting the post and stuff like that. But he's really big and skilled. I thought our big guys competed against him. He's just a good player and there wasn't a lot we could do. We talked about not letting him get going early and confident in a home game like that. He kind of did, and it carried on throughout the game. We knew he could play."
In the third quarter, Mahorcic scored 11 points and had 5 blocked shots as Notre Dame grabbled a 55-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Carmel tried to rally and cut the lead to 10 points on a few occasions. Kamahri Wilson scored 6 of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, and Carmel cut it to a 9-point difference with 1:48 left. But the Corsairs misfired on 3-point tries that could have made a big difference.
Senior guard Zion Kilpatrick ended up with 10 points, while Evan Myers and DaMone Williams-Gray each added 9 for Carmel.
"We were up for the challenge," Notre Dame coach Kevin Clancy said. "Credit goes to (Carmel), I love the way they play. They get up and down, they want to score the ball, which I can appreciate.
"The struggle for us was, they were still playing quick, and when we had a lead of 12 or 13 points, we were taking a couple of quick layups -- and all it takes was a 3-pointer by them, then we're looking at a different game. Every possession was looking a little bit different."