Despite a frustrating first half in which his team had been held to 18 points, Notre Dame boys' basketball coach Brad Harris' halftime direction focused on patience.
With Chattanooga Christian slowing the pace, Irish shooters had tried to speed up the game by taking quick shots. But bad shot selection and a slim five-point lead were the only results of that approach, so Harris advised his team to take its time and the chance for a scoring streak would come.
Sure enough, Notre Dame pulled away for a 51-26 District 7-AA tournament victory on the strength of a 13-0 run in the third quarter.
"They were holding the ball on us, and when our kids got their chance, they were hurrying their shots," Harris said. "Our shot selection in the second half was incredible. We worked it around until we got an open look, and the guys did a great job of knocking those down.
"I was nervous coming in because [CCS's Brandon] Arnold had been shooting lights out lately. Our big emphasis coming into this one was to not let him get a 3-pointer off. I'm real proud that we were able to do that. It was a 32-minute effort by all our guys on both ends."
One night after leading CCS with 25 points, Arnold was held to one against the Irish.
Nick Ellis scored seven of his game-high 19 during the third-quarter scoring run that sealed the victory and four players hit two 3-pointers each for the Irish, who will host Sequatchie County at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for the district tournament championship.
"Considering everything this team has been through this year, to get back to the district championship means a lot," Ellis said. "I think it says a lot about the character of this team to fight back the way we have."