Notre Dame pulls away from Red Bank on career-night for senior guard

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Notre Dame's Cole McCormick dunks during a stretch where he scored seven straight points.

Notre Dame players gathered around DJ Brown and helped their teammate off the floor late in a game that turned out to be a career-high showing for the senior guard.

After getting knocked to the floor in front of the Fighting Irish bench, Brown walked to the charity stripe where he converted a 4-point play with three minutes left. He would finish with 24 points in an impressive 56-39 Thanksgiving tournament home win over Red Bank.

Brown had a dozen points in both halves as he impressed with drives to the basket while also knocking down a trio of 3-pointers.

"Everybody knows that DJ is a shooter," Notre Dame coach Jonathan Adams said. "So they are going to chase him off the 3-point line. We tell him, you've got to be able to go inside and be aggresive to the basket. Once he got going off the drive, it really opened his game up for a big night tonight."

Junior Cole McCormick also played a crucial role in the victory over a short-handed Red Bank team which has several starters playing in this Friday's Class 4A football semifinals against Anderson County.

In a short span McCormick went on a 7-0 run himself, first going up strong under the hoop with a defender on him, then stole a pass at midcourt for a wide-open slam dunk and also drained a 3-pointer to build a 40-27 lead.

"In that little spurt you saw how much Cole means to this team. He is our engine," Adams said. "Our defense was strong tonight and then with Cole and DJ leading the way we were able to break it open against a team that will be really good once they get their football guys back."

Red Bank sophomore Anthony Bonner was impressive with 14 points as he showcased nice touch inside and out while also rising for three blocked shots.

However, the Lions defense had no answer for Brown who finished the game with a pair of old-school three-point plays.

"It was great to get this win tonight," Brown said. "We really played unselfish and got the ball to the open guys and that paid off when we hit four 3s early too."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.