Notre Dame's 3-point barrage does in Maine South

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/8/2021 8:31 PM

Maine South's Nikola Zelenovic went long Tuesday night in Niles. But unfortunately for Zelenovic and his Hawk teammates, Notre Dame went even longer.

Zelenovic dropped in four 3-pointers but it wasn't enough as Notre Dame knocked down a dozen 3s to beat the Hawks 53-37 in a nonconference boys basketball game.


"I tried my best to get the win tonight," said Zelenovic, who would finish with 19 points.

"They are a good team. That's why they are ranked so high. We just need better communication. We just hit a lull."

Maine South (12-8) had an inspiring opening.

Led by Zelenovic, who converted a jumper and then a pair of 3s, the Hawks broke out to a 12-7 lead with 4:07 left in the first quarter.

Notre Dame tightened its defense from there, not allowing Maine South any easy looks inside or outside. The Hawks proceeded to go scoreless for the next 10:17, missing 9 shots, turning the ball over six times and missing a pair of free throws.

"It is a lack of communication and a lack of leadership, Maine South coach Tony Lavorato, Jr. said. "That's not a bad thing. It sounds like a bad thing but that's what happens when you have a season like this."

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Lavorato, whose team has played 20 games, says the lack of preparation time is hurting his team.

"In our program, we have multiple offenses," Lavorato said. "We have to call that and execute it. When you don't have that practice and repetition, what you need to do is have exceptional focus and exceptional communication and exceptional recall. The problem is that all three of those fail when you are tired."

Notre Dame exploded on the offensive end of the court. After a steal and then a jam by Troy D'Amico, the Dons converted six 3-pointers to score 20 unanswered points and lead 30-14 at the half.

It was 40-22 late in the third quarter when the Hawks made a run. With Sean Gallery getting to the basket and Zelenovic knocking down another 3, Maine South closed to 43-32 with 7:01 to play, but the Hawks couldn't get any closer.

Maine South plays Tuesday against Niles North and Wednesday against Evanston, which beat the Hawks in triple overtime last week.

"We played five in six days last week," Lavorato said. "And it is like steamrolled. Five in six days again."

Gallery added 10 points for Maine South while Marko Anderson had 4 points and 8 rebounds.

Notre Dame converted 12-of-22 from outside the arc. The Dons were led by Louis Lesmond, who had 26 points including eight 3-pointers and D'Amico, who had 10 points including a pair of treys.

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