Looking to repeat as the Holiday Classic tournament champion at the historic Alumni Hall, the Fairfield Warde (1-4) battled hard all night.
Yet, in extra-time ND-Fairfield proved to be too much.
The Lancers outscored Warde 15-7 in overtime, beating the Mustangs 70-62 on Wednesday night at Alumni Hall.
"We did a very good job of competing against a quality opponent," Warde coach Ryan Swaller said Thursday. "I still don't feel we played our best basketball."
The Mustangs got into some foul trouble in overtime, and it ended up costing them the game. The Lancers made seven free-throws in the extra frame.
"Their guys did a good job of penetrating our game plan, defensively," Swaller said.
The Lancers will take on Fairfield Prep (5-0) at Alumni Hall on Friday night at 8 p.m. and when asked what he was going to do to prepare his team for the final, ND coach Vin Laczkoski said he will treat it like he always does.
"It will just be another game," Laczkoski said. "We are just going to go ahead and get ready for the next one and do what we can to continue to move forward."
For much of the night, the Lancers were disorganized and had trouble making shots. ND also struggled to control the ball down in the paint.
"We had trouble shooting the ball straight tonight," Laczkoski said. "Luckily, we were able to make some shots in
overtime and get the
win in a great atmosphere."
In overtime, it was the clutch free-throw shooting of Lancers' sophomore Clint Davidson (8 points) and freshman Jesse McIntosh (11 points) that sealed the victory.
"Jesse is just a freshman and was put in a big spot tonight," Laczkoski. "It was nice to see him and others step up and get the job done for our team tonight when we needed it."
Mustangs' senior Max Garrett (28 points) offered some late-game heroics to force overtime.
With Warde down three and 10 seconds to go and with the ball at the top of the key, Garrett drained a 3-pointer to knot the game at 55.
"Going into this game, we knew that this opponent was a three-point shooting team,"
Laczkoski said."They move the ball quickly and we give them a lot of respect for that."
Dan Upchurch led the Lancers with 24 points.
"Danny is a very special player," Swaller said. "He has the ability to
take over a game by himself."
Patrick Hoffman is a correspondent for the Fairfield Citizen. Pat Pickens contributed to this story.
Notre Dame (3-1)
Clinton Davidson 8 points (3FGs and 2 FTs); Earl Coleman 17 points (8 FGs, 1 FT); Dan Upchurch 24 points (6 FGs, 1 3-pt, 9 FTs); Jake Heaton 2 points (1FG); Jesse McIntosh 11 points (2 FGs, 7 FTs); Jaylon Jennings 8 points (1 FG, 6 FTs)
Fairfield Warde (1-4)
Hunter Smaldone 3 points (1 3-pt); Michael Pehota 4 points (1 FG, 2 FTs); Mark Byrne 8 points (2 FGs, 2 FTs); TJ Tracey 4 points (2 FGs); Max Garrett 28 points (10 FGs, 2 3-pt, 2 FTs); Nicholas Cotto 10 points (4 FGs, 2 FT's); Brian Kerrigan 5 points (2 FGs, 1 FT)
Notre Dame 17 12 13 13 15 -- 70
Fairfield Warde 14 10 16 15 7 -- 62