Pios slip past Vermilion Catholic in overtime

ABBEVILLE – Down by three points with just four seconds to go and having to go the length of the court to have a chance wasn’t exactly where Notre Dame coach Donald Adams hoped to see his Pios in its game against Vermilion Catholic Monday evening.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened after his squad squandered a four-point halftime lead.
Claiton Johnson, however, wasn’t about to leave the Eagles’ home gym on the losing end.
The Pios guard dribbled past midcourt and banked in a 3-pointer as time expired to tie the game at 42-42 and send it to overtime.
From there, it was pretty much all Notre Dame.
The Pios outscored the Eagles 13-5 in the extra period to claim an improbable 55-47 victory and hand Adams an early Christmas present.
“Claiton hit that 3-pointer to give us a chance and the momentum switched,” said Adams, whose squad improved to 7-6 on the season with the victory. “We came out in the overtime and took it from there.”
Johnson added four more points in the overtime and finished the night with a team-high 17 points.
Bryce Brandon gave the Pios a big spark when he canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the extra period. Johnson followed with a jumper and Brandon then hit a layup to give  Notre Dame a 49-42 advantage.
The Eagles went cold from the floor, hitting just two shots the rest of the way.
“When Bryce is on, he’s on and he came through with a big shot to start the overtime,” said Adams of Brandon who scored seven of his 12 points in overtime. “That kind of gave us a lift and we were able to go on a run.”
The Pios started the game on a high note when they jumped out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter. But the Eagles responded with a trio of 3-pointers and were able to cut the deficit to three (14-11) at the end of the frame.
The Pios took a 20-16 lead at the half but were outscored 15-7 in the third frame and the Eagles were able to stake a 31-27 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles led by as many as five in the fourth  before Johnson’s buzzer beater.
“The one thing I like about this little team is that there is no quit in them,” said Adams. “You know, it’s Jimmy V (Valvano) time of the year and like he said, never give up and they never ever gave up.”
Hunter Meche led the Pios in the paint with 12 points while Tre Milstead added nine. Tyler Simar and Ethan Smith each had two points while John Duos rounded out the scoring with one.
In the opening game, the Notre Dame  Lady Pios got a big night from Madelyn LeJeune and ended a three-game slide with an impressive 46-30 victory over the reigning Class A state champion Lady Eagles.
“This was a big win for us tonight,” said Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot. “This a good club that will probably win 25 games. It was big for us, mentally, especially with us losing the last three.”
LeJeune poured in a game-high 21 points in the victory that sent the Lady Pios to 6-3 on the season.
“Madelyn doesn’t miss much,” said Theriot. “The shots she missed were just barely off. They (VC) came out in a 1-3-1 (defense) and we were able to get her going.”
The Lady Pios took a slim 10-6 lead in the first quarter but they opened up the game by outscoring the Lady Eagles 30-19 over the next two frames.
LeJeune and Sam Lyons combined for 13 points in the second quarter to help the Lady Pios extend their cushion to 26-16 at the break.
Alex Miller then drained a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter and LeJeune added five more points to push the lead to 40-25.
The Lady Eagles (10-2) managed just five points in the fourth quarter and were held to single digits in three of the four frames.
“After the first quarter, we did a good job of adjusting to what they were doing,” said Theriot. “But whether we scored or not, they weren’t going to score a whole lot of points.”
The Lady Pios drained six 3-pointers on the night. Miller connected on three of them while Gabbie Romero had two and LeJeune had one.
“We hit some big shots tonight,” said Theriot. “Alex looked like she was really in sync and I thought the kids kind of fed off that.”
Lyons followed LeJeune with 10 points while Miller had nine and Romero had six.

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