February 16th, 2014

Notre Dame upends St. Albert to win city title

Matt Young 

Staff Writer

Notre Dame upends St. Albert to win city title
Notre Dame Academy and St. Albert fighting for the ball / photo by Sharron Hilbrecht

The CSAA nightcap on championship Sunday at Saint Xavier High School did not disappoint.  The final championship was the 8th grade Boys #1 “AA” division that matched the much smaller Notre Dame Academy Saints against the taller Saint Albert Vikings.

Behind late-game heroics from Keeton Thornsberry and Ashton Baum, the Saints outlasted the Vikings for a 44-41 championship win.

“We have been through so much,” Saints coach Aaron Troutman said. “This year I wanted ten kids who could fight, and this team is not very big but we fight like crazy. It’s awesome."

The smaller Saints set a quick pace to start the game and scored 13 first quarter points. Both Baum and Thornsberry led the Saints offensive attack against the size of the Vikings.  

Notre Dame lead for the entire first quarter, and only gave up the lead once in the second quarter on an Andrew Arnold put back that gave the Vikings a short-lived 14-13 lead.

Behind nine first-half points from Baum and eight first-half points from Thornsberry, the Saints had a narrow 24-22 lead at halftime. Eric Harbrecht led a balanced Vikings attack with six first-half points.

The third-quarter saw three lead changes, as both teams went back-and-forth. But the Vikings took control late in the quarter when they closed the quarter on a 5-0 run.

A Kyle Nalley old-fashioned three-point play and a Matthew Ramser layup at the third quarter buzzer gave the Vikings a 35-31 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Saints and Thornsberry.

He scored all six of the Saints fourth-quarter points including a three-pointer from the top of the key with 15 seconds to play to tie the game at 37 and send the game to overtime.

“We have been running that play for two weeks now, and we haven’t run it right,” Troutman said. “But we finally practiced it yesterday slowing it down, and we executed it perfectly.”

So the championship came down to a two-minute overtime where the Saints and Vikings went back-and-forth.

Baum started off the overtime with a nice move on the post to give the Saints a two-point lead.

Arnold answered with a strong move down low on the other end to tie the game at 39.

The Saints went back to Baum who completed an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Saints a 42-39 lead.  

Arnold answered with a turnaround jumper on the post to cut the lead to 42-41, but the Vikings were running out of time and had to foul.

Thornsberry calmly sank two free-throws with 17 seconds to play in overtime to give the Saints a 44-41 lead.

The Vikings had two last second three-point attempts go begging off the rim, and the Saints held on for the championship win.

“We are the smallest team in this CSAA division, but I just wanted the kids to fight,” Troutman said. “As long as they didn’t quit and kept fighting, that is all I wanted.”


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