The Notre Dame Preparatory Saints fought hard on senior night but fell short 67-56 at home to the Paradise Valley High School Trojans Tuesday, Jan. 23.
Fans and teammates paid tribute to seniors George Boyer, Harrison Copoloff, Jay Jaquint and Justin Maschek. Saints Head Coach Kyle Diemer said he recognized how that thrilling high for his seniors was special and how it should carry over to the game for the upstart Saints.
“It gets our guys going, and hopefully this brings some good energy for us. It’s all about our seniors tonight.” Coach Diemer said after the game. “We got a tough game tonight. So, hopefully we can pull it out. And, we’re just here tonight to honor our seniors.”
One of the other team leaders and top scorers, junior Skylar Certo, got the Saints off to a great start. Scoring eight of his game-high 20 points, he helped his team jump out to a 16-13 lead going at the end of the first quarter.
“Our whole game plan tonight was to just get our best shot possible,” Certo said after the game. “I was trying to basically just get our best shot possible — whatever it took.”
The Saints appeared to keep battling hard with disciplined patience, especially on offense. But Paradise Valley took the lead late in the second quarter by establishing its presence down low from seniors Bric Hudnutt and Tashon Brown with both players finishing the game with a team-high 16 points.
Brown hit a near half-court jump shot at the buzzer to give the Trojans a 37-32 lead at the half.
Junior Nathan Perry helped the Trojans maintain control by scoring eight of his team-high 16 points to start the second half.
But the Saints wouldn’t go away as Certo added another seven points of his own. NDP executed a solid last-shot possession, holding the ball for the final minute of the third and patiently setting up their offensive play in to pull within 46-42.
However, the Trojans went on an 8-2 run to start the final quarter, with Brown scoring six quick points, and gave the first double-digit lead of the game to the Trojans at 55-44 early in the fourth.
NDP continued to claw its way back by establishing a low presence of their own. Junior Jason Siegle scored six of his 10 points in the fourth to help them get within 6 with 4:38 to play.
The Trojans, however, controlled the pace and tempo the rest of the way to stay undefeated in region play. Paradise Valley will meet NDP again Friday, Jan. 26, this time at Paradise Valley High School.
Paradise Valley Head Coach Cory Bardet said the final score doesn’t indicate just how close it really was.
“It wasn’t our cleanest game, but road wins in the region are never easy,” Coach Bardet said after the game.
“You take them anywhere you can get ‘em any how you can get them. We had to work extremely hard. Those guys had a good game plan and Coach Diemer is a great coach. They made us earn it and I’m sure it’ll be another tight one on Friday.”
Editor’s Note: Arturo Spell is a student-journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.