Last season, the celebration was worthy of winning a state title or the Super Bowl. This season, there was little fanfare after the Saxony Lutheran boys led the entire way and defeated Notre Dame 64-54 Friday at Notre Dame High School.
It is the second consecutive year the Crusaders have defeated the Bulldogs after having never beaten Notre Dame for the 22 years prior.
“Last year was the first time we beat them in school history,” Saxony Coach Justin Callahan said. “To come over to their place and beat them again feels very surreal. It’s a sweet victory for the kids. The three previous years before we beat them, we had actually lost by 50 points each year.”
There was no comeback needed or anything like that as Saxony got off to a hot start and kept it rolling for the full 32 minutes.
Max Richey scored 8 of his 16 points in the first quarter. Histhree-pointer within the first three minutes sparked a 10-3 run to start the game. John Hartmann ballooned the lead to 15-8 until Notre Dame went on a run to cut the Saxony lead to 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.
“Our kids came out ready to play,” Callahan said. “They seemed like they really wanted this game and played really well from the opening tip.”
Callahan noted that his team came out and hit shots, something they weren’t doing earlier in the year when the Crusaders started 2-6. Saxony hit eight three-pointers in the game.
“It’s as simple as hitting shots,” Callahan said. “If we clank those shots then they come down and make theirs, who knows what could happen. Max Richey came out and hit several threes, probably more than he has hit all season. He hasn’t shot very many, but they left him open and he made them.”
Callahan noted that shooting has been an emphasis for Saxony since the Crusaders fell to St. Vincent in the Winter Warrior Classic on Dec. 27. Saxony shot 1 for 13 on three-pointers in the game.
“We can’t do that and shoot that poorly and expect to win,” Callahan said. “So, we have been shooting a lot. It’s something that we have to do. If we would have made anything against St. Vincent we would have won that game. We have been shooting much better since that point.”
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