The Bulldogs reached the district semifinals with a 69-27 rout of Ste. Genevieve
DEXTER, Mo. -- Notre Dame manhandled Ste. Genevieve from the opening tip Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs jumped all over the Dragons and never let up in a 69-27 win in their Class 4 District 1 boys basketball opener at the Bearcats Events Center.
"We came out quick and had a really rough start," Notre Dame senior Jacob Tolbert said. "Coach called timeout and we got it together and came out with some more intensity, got some steals and easy buckets and kind of went on a roll."
Notre Dame, the No. 3 seed, advanced to face No. 2 seed Dexter in a 6 p.m. tipoff Thursday.
Notre Dame wasted little time asserting its dominance. The Bulldogs' defense forced 15 turnovers in the opening quarter. Just getting the ball across the half-court stripe proved difficult for the Dragons. Ste. Genevieve was whistled for a pair of 10-second counts in the opening two minutes. Two offensive foul calls also didn't help Ste. Genevieve's cause.
"We just really wanted to apply a lot of pressure, create a lot of turnovers, make easy offense, high-percentage shots," Notre Dame junior Nathan Meystedt said. "We really got after it."
Notre Dame already had attempted eight shots in the game by the time the Dragons hoisted up their second shot -- both misses.
"It's easy to start creating offense and get things going when you create that many turnovers," Meystedt said. "We kind of came out flat in the beginning, but since our defensive pressure was so good, we helped ourselves out and got ourselves a lead early."
Notre Dame ended up shooting 53 percent in the first half compared to 19 percent for the Dragons. Bulldogs coach Kevin Roberts even pulled his starters about midway through the second quarter, but the Notre Dame reserves kept hitting shots.
"We're going to play our normal game," Roberts said. "Then once we got a pretty big lead in the first there, we kind of let those other guys play because they work hard in practice. We got those guys in and they did a tremendous job as well."
Fatigue shouldn't be a problem for the Bulldogs because Notre Dame's starters spent significant chunks of Tuesday's game on the bench. They spent about half of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter firmly entrenched on the bench, which led to 10 Notre Dame players scoring in the game.
"It's so big for them because they work their butts off all year to make us better," Roberts said about his reserves. "For them just to get out here and to play is so big. That shows that our starters took care of what they needed to too."
Notre Dame led 42-10 at halftime and kept pulling away in the third quarter. The Bulldogs (15-11) hit nine of their first 10 shots to open the third quarter.
"Our goal in the second half was just to come out and take a lot of shots, get used to these rims," Roberts said. "That's what we needed to do. These guys that play need to come out here and get a lot of shots. They need to play on this gym floor because that's what they're going to do Thursday night."
The Notre Dame players admitted they had an eye on Thursday's rematch with host Dexter. The Bearcats knocked off the Bulldogs 50-47 on Jan. 6 at Notre Dame.
"We're fired up and we're ready to go," Meystedt said. "They beat us at our own place so we've been preparing for this for a while. We're ready to get some revenge."
Tolbert said: "We came out last game and they played really hard. That's just what it came down to last time we played them, they just played harder than us. So this next time we've really got to bring our intensity from the start and jump on them."
STE. GENEVIEVE (27) -- jonathan Brewer 6, Wayne Carron 2, Trevor Billings 7, Brian Helms 5, Brendan Weiler 4, Matt Drury 3. FG 9, FT 7-13, F 15. (3-pointers: Billings 1, Helms 1. Fouled out: none)
NOTRE DAME (69) -- Jacob Tolbert 14, Nathan Meystedt 14, Alex Beussink 12, Cody Heisserer 3, Jordan Reddin 6, Shawn Easley 2, Jonathan Lynch 8, Andrew Lange 1, Eric Hayes 4, Derek Landewee 5. FG 28, FT 9-16, F16. (3-pointers: Beussink 2, Landewee 1, Lynch 1. Fouled out: none)