PARK HILLS, Mo. -- The Notre Dame student section confidently proclaimed the Bulldogs the victor over De Soto even before the opening tip of the Class 4 boys sectional basketball contest Wednesday night at Mineral Area College.
"It's all over," the section chanted as they watched the Bulldogs and Dragons perform their pre-game warmups.
The chant might have been a little premature, but it did not take very long for their Bulldogs to put the game out of the Dragons' reach.
Notre Dame outscored De Soto 27-0 in the first quarter alone and started the game on a 39-0 run in the first 10 minutes and 33 seconds.
The Bulldogs from there went on to rout the Dragons 75-32 .
With the victory, the Bulldogs (21-6) advance to Saturday's Class 4 quarterfinal game against St. Clair (24-5), which posted a 69-37 win over Lutheran South on Wednesday. The contest will take place at the Farmington Civic Center at 7:45 p.m.
The Dragons were held scoreless by the relentless Notre Dame defense for the first 12:12 of the game, after Notre Dame coach Paul Hale had sent in his reserve players.
Notre Dame's 6-foot-8 center Ryan Willen was a big reason for the 39-0 run. The senior, who had a game-high 25 points, netted 15 over that stretch, including 13 in the first quarter.
Willen said he could not recall holding a team scoreless for an entire quarter, let alone beginning a game 39-0 during his four years while playing at Notre Dame.
Willen did add that when he was playing for an AAU basketball team back in the seventh grade along with Notre Dame teammate Ty Williams and a couple players from Jackson, Hunter Grantham and Jake Leet, their team once won a contest by the score of 103-0.
The catch, however, is that Willen missed that game.
"I was kind of mad I missed [it]," Willen said, laughing. "I thought, 'Oh, that would have been fun.' I can't remember what I was doing. But it was probably [something] more important than going to that game."
Willen was glad he was present Wednesday and said his team was able to hold De Soto scoreless for so long because the Notre Dame defense pressured well, forced De Soto to take low-percentage shots and many times only allowed the Dragons to shoot one attempt per possession.
"I don't think I've ever been up that much in high school basketball," Williams said, adding that the Bulldogs' game plan focused on stopping De Soto's two main scoring threats -- John Krodinger and Cory DeClue.
DeClue was held scoreless the entire game. Krodinger had just four points in the first half and nine in the game.
"Coach said they were the key to stopping them because they were their main scorers," Williams said. "Basically, we just tried to put pressure on them, pressure on the guards. We knew they'd turn the ball over if we just stayed after them. We just tried to force as many turnovers as possible and keep the tempo up."
The Notre Dame offense also did a strong job of scoring both inside and outside. Mark Himmelberg netted three 3-pointers and Williams had two treys in the run.
"Offensively, we were able to get cuts and layups," Willen said. "We swung the ball really well, and it just seemed like we could score inside and then outside and they were having trouble guarding us."
De Soto went on a 10-0 run against the Notre Dame reserves in the second quarter to make it 39-10. Hale returned his starters to the floor for the final 1:39 of the half and they went on a 6-3 spurt for a 45-13 halftime advantage.
So essentially, the Notre Dame regulars surrendered only three points in the entire first half.
Himmelberg said he can not remember the Bulldogs ever getting off to a better start to begin a ball game.
"Not that I remember, and not of a game of this magnitude," Himmelberg said. "We just came out hitting, and that's just sometimes the way it goes."
NOTRE DAME 75, DE SOTO 32
De Soto 0 13 9 10 -- 32
Notre Dame 27 18 26 4 -- 75
De Soto (32) -- Tyler Reando 4 , Matt Guemmer 5, Adam Jones 3, Taylor Carron 6, John Krodinger 9, John Bruemmer 3, Brandon O'Day 2. FG 12, FT 4-8, F 18 (3-pointers: Guemmer 1, Jones 1, Carron 2).
Notre Dame (75) -- Nick Koeppel 7, Ty Williams 11, Alex Bader 2, Blake Gaddis 2, Mark Himmelberg 12, John Unterreiner 8, Austin Greer 8, Ryan Willen 25, Matt Helle 2. FG 31. FT 7-16. F 12. (3-pointers: Koeppel 1, Williams 3, Himmelberg 3, Willen 1.)