Notre Dame bounces Maine West
Maine West's fairy tale season, its best in 20 years, didn't have the happy ending the Warriors were hoping for.
Notre Dame wrote the outcome in its own favor Tuesday night in the Class 4A Glenbrook South regional.
The Warriors were unable to come up with their usual second-half run in falling to the Dons 61-56.
"We just ran out of gas," said Maine West senior forward Matt Kentgen, who finished with 4 points and 12 rebounds. "Notre Dame created some matchup problems for us. They had size and athleticism. We didn't play too well."
The Warriors, who finished the season at 19-8, led 18-13 on a Jack Collins basket with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
The ninth-seeded Dons (14-15) used an 8-0 run to lead 21-18 at quarter's end. Freshman Anthony Sayles, who finished with a career-high 30 points for the Dons, scored 9 in the quarter for a 33-22 lead before the eighth-seeded Warriors made a run.
Maine West closed within 33-29 to end the first half. But Dusan Mahorcic (12 points, 6 rebounds) keyed a strong third quarter after which Notre Dame led 46-40.
"Even when we were down 11 points in the second quarter, I thought we could come back," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "In the end, we used up so much energy that we didn't have much left down the stretch."
Maine West did take a 51-50 lead with 3:28 left on a basket from Milos Dugalic (11 points, 5 rebounds) with an assist from Kentgen.
After Maine West standout guard Julian Dones (21 points) scored on a short basket to tie it at 53, the Dons took control.
A 3-point play by Sayles with 1:50 left broke the tie. Jason Bergstrom hit 2 free throws, and 1 apiece from Robert Pryor and Adi Tagani saw Notre Dame build a 60-53 lead with :33 left.
"We had to keep Maine West from penetrating the lane," said Notre Dame coach Kevin Clancy. "We respected what they did this year (as Central Suburban League champs), and they were a senior-dominated team. Sayles was able step up for us. He was able to get to the rim. We used our loss to St. Pat last week as a motivation."
Dones, who played all four years on varsity, felt the Warriors' defense wasn't as sharp as usual.
"Our transition defense just wasn't there," said Dones. "They were able to beat us in something that we take pride in. We rebounded well and we competed. Today they were better than we were. We can hold our heads high because we did compete."
Prokopij was disappointed with the loss, but not with the effort.
"We knew Sayles was a good player. We just couldn't get him out of the lane," said Prokopij. "Our shot selection wasn't as good as we normally have been, and our early rebounding hurt us. Some of our shots that we missed ended up turning into fast breaks for them."