ND-Fairfield boys basketball ends 'trying week' with win over Joel Barlow
Updated 3:25 pm, Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Notre Dame-Fairfield boys basketball team has had a trying week.
After a 4-1 start, the Lancers lost their next two games by a combined five points, and then on Wednesday, team members, Tre McPherson, of Norwalk, and Marcus Blackwell, of Bridgeport, were permanently removed from the Lancers due to "a student matter" according to Notre Dame athletic director Rob Bleggi.
Blackwell has withdrawn from the school and McPherson is currently serving a suspension, according to a source within the school's administration, who refused to be named due to the school's on-going investigation.
"I think we're doing this the right way," school president Fr. Bill Sangiovanni said.
The source also confirmed that McPherson's involvement in multiple YouTube videos was "a reason for his removal" but would not extrapolate further. The source also stressed that McPherson's suspension and Blackwell's withdrawal are "completely separate incidents."
"I don't want this to faze these guys," ND coach Laczkoski said of the suspensions. "It's unfortunate."
Notre Dame dressed just nine players for the game, and all nine saw action. Laczkoski was ecstatic by the play of his freshmen, and realized the club will be in need of them to contribute without McPherson and Blackwell.
Senior co-captain Earl Coleman-- a four-year teammate of McPherson's-- stressed that the team must move on.
"He's not here," Coleman said. "We wish we had him here, but he's not...we've got to just work hard."
The team played its first game without McPherson and Blackwell on Friday when it hosted Joel Barlow.
In the first quarter, the team struggled, as Barlow used a 10-3 run to close the frame, building a 19-9 advantage after one.
Three ND freshmen-- Donte Peeler, CJ Davison and Jake Heaton-- combined for more than half of the club's points, as the Lancers outscored Joel Barlow by 35 after the first en route to a 64-39 win over the Falcons on Friday night at Sister Mary Reilly Auditorium.
"Our freshmen stepped up a lot," senior captain Arkel Miles said.
Peeler led the club with 17 points, and Davison hit for 11 as the Lancers snapped a two-game losing streak, winning for the first time since Dec. 28. It was also the Lancers' first win by double-digits since Dec. 22.
"I don't think we lost our swagger," ND coach Vin Laczkoski said. "I just think we weren't taking counterpunches."
But ND outscored the Falcons 18-2 in the second, holding the Falcons to just a pair of free throws, building a 27-21 halftime advantage.
"Nobody panicked," Laczkoski said. "But, after the last two weeks we had? We needed that bad."