Bulldogs recover from loss, claim 9th

Friday, December 31, 2004

Statistically, Frankie Ellis is one of the area's worst free-throw shooters.

But you sure couldn't have guessed it by the way he calmly shot Notre Dame to the consolation title in the 60th annual Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Show Me Center.

Ellis was sent to the line on a one-and-one situation with 15 seconds left and his Bulldogs tied with Delta 60-60. He nailed the first attempt, then the bonus, and Notre Dame went on to a 64-60 victory.

"It felt good to hit them," said a smiling Ellis.

Particularly since the junior guard began the season by missing his first 13 free throws -- and he entered the tournament 11 of 33 from the charity stripe.

"But he's really been working at it, and he's getting better all the time," Notre Dame coach Paul Hale said.

Added Ellis: "I went up there with confidence that I could make them. I'm getting better."

The eighth-seeded Bulldogs (6-6) earned the trophy signifying ninth place, as they have already equaled their entire victory total from last year. They bounced back from a first-round overtime loss to Scott County Central by winning three straight.

"It was a good win, and it's been a good tournament for us," said Hale, in his first season at Notre Dame after previously having success at several other Southeast Missouri high schools. "We play hard, and that's the only way we can be effective, because we have trouble shooting sometimes."

Ellis led the Bulldogs with 18 points, and his only free-throw attempts were the ones at the end. Also scoring in double figures for Notre Dame were Alex Ressel (13 points) and Jeremy Brinkmeyer (12). Jacob Essner added nine.

Eleventh-seeded Delta (5-4) was paced by Brent Menz with 16 points, Aaron Kinder with 15, Kevin Bartels with 13 and Cody Crowden with 10.

Bartels, a 6-foot-5 senior, finished with 87 points in four tournament games.

After three tight quarters, the Bobcats appeared to take control, as a 7-0 run to start the final period boosted their lead to 55-43 with just over five minutes remaining.

But Notre Dame's pressure finally appeared to take its toll on a Delta squad lacking in depth; the Bobcats' starters went most of the way.

Forcing numerous turnovers, Notre Dame used a 17-3 run to go ahead 60-58 on Brinkmeyer's follow shot with 1:10 remaining.

Menz tied it for Delta at 60-60 on a basket with 52 seconds left. Ellis was then fouled in a nonshooting situation with 15 seconds to play. He broke the deadlock.

Menz could have tied it with 11 seconds left but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Essner's two free throws with nine seconds left sealed the victory.

NOTRE DAME 64, DELTA 60

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Notre Dame10211221--64

DELTA (60) -- Aaron Kinder 15, Cody Crowden 10, Brent Menz 16, Dustin Anglin 2, Kevin Bartels 13, Nathan Stroder 4. FG 20, FT 8-12, F 13 (3-pointers: Kinder 1, Crowden 1, Menz 1, Bartels 1. Fouled out: none)

NOTRE DAME (64) -- Frankie Ellis 18, Abe Dirnberger 2, John Eric Klein 5, Jeremy Brinkmeyer 12, Kirk Boeller 5, Alex Ressel 13, Jacob Essner 9. FG 23, FT 9-16, F 15 (3-pointers: Klein 1, Boeller 1, Essner 1. Fouled out: none)

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