The McCallie basketball team faced a decent-sized deficit throughout the first half of Thursday’s non-district matchup at Notre Dame. Head coach Dan Wadley and the visiting Blue Tornado didn’t fret, though.
They knew that their best was still in front them. The Fighting Irish could not say the same.
“Around halftime, it’s over,” McCallie sophomore Adrian Thomas said. “We’re just taking over from there.”
With help from Thomas’s game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds, a suffocating full-court defense and a relentless, up-tempo offensive attack, the Blue Tornado blew Notre Dame away in the second half.
“You can see how we want to play, and I have the numbers that I can do that,” Wadley said. “We were telling them we’re going to wear them out, wear them down. Mentally they have to concentrate every time just to bring the ball up. I tell our players we’ve got 10 guys—we’ve got 50 fouls—if we need to use them.”
Just about all 10 of those players contributed, too, although McCallie (4-2) only had to use 22 of its fouls in the squad’s 68-51 victory over the Irish at Phifer Gymnasium.
“Around halftime they started slowing down so we just started pushing,” Thomas said. “That’s what we’re known for. You can tell [they were tired] because they didn’t have good shot selection at all. We contested the shots and we rebounded.”
Notre Dame (0-6), still searching for its first win of the season, got off to a hot start. Tyler Byrd, who finished with a team-high 21 points, knocked down a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers, helping the Irish out to a 16-10 advantage after one.
J.R. Davis’s free-throw midway through the second increased ND's advntage to 27-20, but that’s just about the time things started to turn as McCallie concluded the first half on a 7-2 run, knotting things up at 29-29 at the break.
The two teams traded baskets early in the third quarter, but the game grew very one-sided very quickly.
Sophomore Javaughn Craig—quarterback of the Blue Tornado football team—buried a contested 3-pointer around the six-minute mark, sparking an 11-2 run to put McCallie in front 44-37 with 2:49 left in the third.
“They were getting at each other now,” Thomas said. “We had to get our team together and stay focused. We had the little run and we just had to stay focused. Let them do what they do, but just stay focused.”
The Blue Tornado’s 8-0 run to begin the final quarter all but ended the Fighting Irish's chances.
Craig added 12 points for McCallie, while Jordan Atkins contributed 10. Notre Dame’s A.J. Flemister finished with 14 points in the losing effort.
The Fighting Irish host Battle Ground Academy in a non-league game Friday, and the Blue Torando will square off against the Wildcats on Saturday.
Notre Dame girls 41, Girls Preparatory School 29
The Lady Irish improved to 5-1 on the season with Thursday’s 12-point win over visiting GPS at Phifer Gymnasium. Taelor Hill led the way with 14 points for Notre Dame, while Lady Bruisers sophomore Sydney Shutters scored a team-high nine points in the losing effort.
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