Notre Dame basketball teams reach region semifinals

Notre Dame basketball teams reach region semifinals

February 14th, 2018 by Kelley Smiddie in Sports - Preps

Updated at 2:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

Notre Dame's boys' and girls' basketball teams will be advancing to the TSSAA state basketball tournament after victories at home Tuesday night.

The Lady Irish defeated The King's Academy 52-34 before the Fighting Irish beat Christian Academy of Knoxville 76-56 in quarterfinals of the Division II-A East Region tournament.

Winning puts both Notre Dame teams in Friday's semifinals at Notre Dame. The Lady Irish will play CAK at 7 p.m. Notre Dame's boys will play at 5:30 against Knoxville Grace Christian.

The games started differently for the home teams. The Lady Irish trailed by a point at the end of the first quarter. The Irish led 26-11 after one period.

Notre Dame boys' basketball coach Jonathan Adams is shown.

Notre Dame boys' basketball coach Jonathan Adams is...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

It was the second period that sparked Notre Dame's girls (23-9), whose district championship last week and the state berth earned Tuesday are both program firsts.

"They keep finding ways to win," Notre Dame girls' coach Jason Hill said. "I couldn't be happier for them."

The Lady Irish not only held the Lady Lions to five points in the second quarter but scored 27 and took a 36-15 lead into halftime.

"I think we settled down and started moving the ball more, sharing the ball," Hill said of the second-period turnaround. "I think we did a better job understanding situations, like where's the mismatch? What do we need to do this possession? We found the mismatches. We found the open girl and made the easy plays."

Kate Ford topped Notre Dame with 23 points. Averie Sheppard added 12 and Mackenzie Johnson worked the inside for her eight.

CAK scored the first seven points of the second quarter to get within eight of Notre Dame's boys (22-11). But Tarik Nelson responded with a three-point play at 5:31 before halftime and Akil Sledge added a 3-point goal from the top of the key to make it 32-18, and the Warriors trailed by double digits the rest of the way — the largest margin being 23.

Six Notre Dame players combined for 12 3-pointers. Nelson had three and led the Irish with 20 points. Derwin Lewis made his three in the first quarter and inished with 18 points. Sledge made two and contributed 12 points, and Greer chipped in with one and totaled 11 points.

"I tell our guys that when we shoot the ball like that it's a bonus," Notre Dame boys' coach Jonathan Adams said. "We want to be able to guard, because being able to guard gives ourselves a chance in any game."

Adams said he liked that his team often worked the ball inside out to get some open looks at the basket from outside. There were other times a player was able to penetrate the defense and dish to others who were open on the perimeter.

"Like anybody," Adams said, "we shoot better when we take good shots."

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Correction: A previous version of this story referred to the Notre Dame boys' coach as Jason Adams. The reference has been corrected to Jonathan. Jason is the first name of the girls' coach.