Fourth quarter surge lifts Raiders past Pios
By Chris Quebedeaux
PRAIRIE RHONDE – Notre Dame gave it their best shot, but in the end Northwest proved to be too much for the Pios in the regular-season finale at A.B. Dore gym Friday evening.
Northwest rallied from an early 3-point deficit and outscored Notre Dame 12-4 in the fourth quarter to claim a 50-37 victory over the homestanding Pios.
Northwest claimed the outright District 5-AAA title with the victory. Notre Dame finished the season with an overall record of 10-19.
“We had some offensive stands where we needed to score and we didn’t. And there were a couple of times when we needed to make a defensive stand and they (Northwest) came down and did whatever they could,” said ND coach Mark Jones after the loss. “There was no secret to it. They played a good game and I thought we played a good game. In the end, they just came up with a few more points than us.”
Notre Dame, playing without the services of starting forward Taylor Thibodeaux due to an ankle injury, took control of the game early, jumping out to a 7-0 advantage in the first two minutes. Northwest answered back cutting the lead to 11-8 midway through the first frame before getting it down to 15-12 at the end of the quarter.
Northwest outscored the Pios 10-2 to start the second quarter, taking a 22-17 advantage. Notre Dame rallied to cut the cushion to 26-25 on a Charlie Ropp free throw with 12 seconds remaining in the half but Cleveland Thomas’ putback at the buzzer gave the Raiders a 28-25 lead entering the break.
Northwest went on another run to start the third quarter, outscoring the Pios 10-2 in the first five minutes before Notre Dame went on a 6-0 spurt to end the frame down just five at 38-33.
The Pios trailed by as many as 10 in the fourth but got within six at 43-37 midway though the fourth quarter. However, they failed to score over the final four and a half minutes.
Northwest hit one shot from the floor and sank five of their nine free throw attempts during that time.
“Taylor went down in practice during the week and that hurt,” said Jones of Thibodeaux’s ankle injury. “But even with that, the kids did a good job. I’m proud of my seniors. Charlie (Ropp), Nick (Zaunbrecher) Robert (Johnson), John Graf, John Nickel and Otis (Hundley)...they all did a good job for me for four years. I wish it could have ended up better but that’s just the way it went.”
Ropp and Zaunbrecher each scored 13 points in the loss while Allen pitched in seven. Graf and Johnson each scored two while Hundley pulled down four rebounds.
Thomas, Thaddeus Kennerson and Shone Richard paced the Raiders with 13 points each.