NOTRE DAME 69, RED BANK 61
Red Bank 13 15 13 20 -- 61
Notre Dame 20 11 11 27 -- 69
Red Bank (61) -- Fred Matthews 16, Chris Tucker 10, Suttles 2, M. Davis 8, Hudson 6, Poole 4, Akridge, McConnell 2, W. Davis 6, Autry 7.
Notre Dame (69) -- Stedmon Ford 17, Kareem Orr 19, Green 9, Byrd 3, Kywaun Davenport 15, Carter 3, Mink 3, Harris.
3-point goals: Red Bank 1 (Matthews); Notre Dame 5 (Davenport 5). Other highlights: Kealey Green 10 r; Tyler Byrd 8 r; Ford 8 a (ND); Matthews 8 r (RB). Records: Notre Dame 9-4; Red Bank 3-9.
Usually a basketball team owning a lead late in a close game has to make some free throws to win. In the first boys' game Thursday in the Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State, Notre Dame led Red Bank most of the fourth quarter but did not make a free throw after the 5:24 mark.
Still, the Fighting Irish scored enough in the remaining time to defeat the Lions 69-61.
The Irish took the lead for good at 48-47 when Stedmon Ford made two free throws with 5:48 remaining. He converted both ends of a one-and-one 24 seconds later, and Notre Dame was 0-for-3 from the line afterward.
But the Irish managed nine field goals in the last 4:36. The first two were layups after turnovers, and most of the rest were layups, too. Kywaun Davenport made a 3-point shot at 3:49 and Kareem Orr had the closing basket on a tip with 15 seconds to play.
"We just continued to push it and got easy layups," Notre Dame coach J.P. Nerbun said. "We're faster than pretty much everybody we play. If we do what we're good at, we'll be just fine."
Red Bank was within 61-57 after Malik McConnell's driving layup with 2:13 to go but got no closer.
"I think we were out of gas pretty much mentally and physically," Red Bank coach Corey Lazenby said. "We couldn't maintain pressure on defense like we wanted to."
The Irish took a 15-4 lead and also twice led by 11 late in the second quarter. The Lions fought back and took a 37-36 lead, their first since 2-0.
Lazenby credited the turnaround to his players' activity on defense after he switched them from a zone to man-to-man.
"We tried to turn up the pressure on defense a little bit more," Lazenby said.
Nerbun saw some complacency on Notre Dame's side.
"I think it was brushing off the cobwebs from Christmas time," Nerbun said. "It was a lack of focus and a lack of leadership on the court."
Orr led the Irish with 19 points and Ford had 17 and eight assists. Davenport's 15 points were all on 3s, and Kealy Green led the rebounding with 10.
Fred Matthews topped Red Bank with 16 points and eight rebounds. Chris Tucker scored 10 points.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.