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Lineup shakeup delivers message in Notre Dame boys loss
Notre Dame's Jacob Tolbert and other regulars in the Bulldogs' starting lineup began Saturday's game against Parkway South at a new position -- the bench.
"It's a motivational tool because we haven't played hard in the last couple games," Notre Dame coach Kevin Roberts said. "We beat Fredericktown, we lost to Dexter, but we didn't play hard. So I put guys out there that were going to play hard, and I challenged us to get out there and play hard, and they did."
The result was a 57-50 loss to the Patriots (11-1), but Roberts was much happier with his players.
"I was really pleased," he said. "We played really, really well. In the second half, we struggled scoring, but the execution was there. We got good shots. We just didn't make them -- shots that I know we will make."
Tolbert checked in less than three minutes into the game and, like his coach, talked about the decision to enter the game a little later than usual without any displeasure or dramatics.
"Oh gosh," he said, as if he'd just been reminded about a long-forgotten memory when asked about it. "It definitely encouraged me to go out there and give it my all. It was kind of coach's way of trying to get me back in a groove and trying to get me to work harder."
It seemed to work. Tolbert hit a 3-pointer not long after entering the game and broke out for 19 points in the first half to help Notre Dame (7-6) take a 26-22 lead into halftime.
"The first half -- I haven't seen Jacob Tolbert play that hard in a long time, a long time," Roberts said. "He was attacking every ball and doing everything he could to help us out, so I was really pleased with our overall efforts today."
Tolbert scored 15 of the Bulldogs' 17 points in the second quarter.
"We just tried to come out with more intensity today," Tolbert said. "Against Dexter, our intensity started to go down after the first quarter. We just really tried to make sure that didn't happen today and tried to go hard the whole game. I think we did that."
Tolbert scored just one point in the second half before fouling out with 1 minute, 27 seconds to go. He was called for his fourth foul just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs turned a three-point deficit into a four-point lead while he on the bench.
"When he was in foul trouble, we played well without him," Roberts said. "But I don't think we scored after he fouled out. We go as he goes."
Tolbert finished with 20 points, but no other Notre Dame player finished in double digits. Junior Jordan Reddin and senior Alex Beussink both had seven points.
"We played hard at the start, but we kind of fall short in the second half, so we just have to keep up the intensity," said Reddin, who earned a starting spot Saturday. "We just can't hang our heads if we do something bad or make a mistake. That's something we have to work on."
"Every season is an up and down roller coaster," Roberts said. "Our goal is to be playing our best at districts, and I thought we took a positive step today."
PARKWAY SOUTH (57) -- Ryan McArthy 7, Jordan Noyes 11, Gerard Graves 4, Sam Jaouni 6, Raymond McGrew 4, Eric Laurent 8, Mark Waller 6, Tommy Holaway 11. FG 19, FT 17-21, F 15. (3-pointers: McArthy 1, Noyes 1. Fouled out: none)
NOTRE DAME (50) -- Derek Landewee 2, Jordan Reddin 7, Nathan Meystedt 7, Jacob Tolbert 20, Cody Heisserer 2, Cody DeBrock 6. FG 16, FT 12-16, F 18. (3-pointers: Beussink 2, Tolbert 3. Fouled out: Tolbert)