FAIRFIELD — They say it’s extremely difficult for one team to beat another three times in one season.

But for Notre Dame of Fairfield, it was easy.

After posting a pair of double-digit wins over Stratford in the regular season, the Lancers did the same in the quarterfinals of the SWC tournament Friday night, using game-changing runs in both the second and third quarters to open a 25-point cushion before coasting to a 79-56 victory in the quarterfinals at the Lancers gym. ND-Fairfield, now 19-2 overall, advances into Monday’s SWC semifinals at home against No. 4-seed Immaculate at 7 p.m.

“It’s definitely hard to beat a team three times. They’re a good team,” Lancers junior forward Nori Davis said, who scored 20 points. “But when we play our game, it’s very hard to beat us. And we went out and played our game.”

And that “game” is getting out into transition, attacking the basket and working overtime on defense. There aren’t too many teams that can match the Lancers speed when they get out into transition, and whenever an opponent tries to keep pace, it’s only a matter of time before they start making turnovers, taking bad shots and getting beat on the boards. When final buzzer sounds, it all adds up to another blowout win for the Lancers.

“We tried to control the pace,” Stratford coach Tim Swaller said. “They had that run in the second quarter and from there, we’re playing catch-up. I don’t think we rebounded that well. We missed a lot of layups ... a lot of layups. We missed a lot of free throws. But credit (Notre Dame). They’re a good team, Tyler (Bourne) played great for them tonight. When you get behind like we did, it’s hard to play from behind.”

Bourne, a junior guard, dominated the game at both ends, scoring 26 points and playing some terrific defense. He scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Lancers took an 18-point lead (64-46) into the final eight minutes and put the capper on the 23-point win with a drive to the hoop with 1:22 to play.

“They all work together,” Lancers coach Chris Watts said of his three-headed monster of Bourne, Davis and Josh Reaves (11 points). There are two great elements to championship basketball, you have to love doing it and you have to love who you’re doing it with. And I think for us, those two elements are coming into play.”

Holding a 42-29 halftime lead, the Lancers put together a 16-3 run to open a 58-32 lead, and with 3:58 left in the third, Notre Dame-Fairfield led 60-35. Ballgame.

“We like to play fast and we know that they do too,” Swaller said. “They’re very good at it. We knew the press was coming, we knew it was going to be tough to handle the pressure ... we just weren’t successful.”

Bourne had 26, Davis added 20, Reaves had 11 and Anthony Mongillo scored 10 for Notre Dame-Fairfield. Jack Ryan led Stratford with 18, Naje Mitchell added 12 and Nate Shields had nine.

“Just setting the pace defensively by making them have to attack the rim instead as opposed to being able to set up (in the half court) helped us a lot,” Watts said. “That allowed us to get out in transition and get some easy ones because we started to force the tempo.”

celsberry@ctpost.com

NOTRE DAME 79, STRATFORD 56

STRATFORD (8-13)

Cameron Peters 2 0-0 4, Nate Shields 3 2-6 9, Joseph August 0 0-0 0, Prince Carter 3 1-3 7, Antonio Sciarappa 0 0-0 0, Naje Mitchell 5 0-0 12, Jack Ryan 6 5-6 18, TJ Green 2 0-0 4, Zach Fedak 0 0-0 0, Javier Hernandez 0 0-0 0, John Bike 1 0-0 2, Connor Anstis 0 0-0 0, Aaron Christy 0 0-0 0, Sean Carroll 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 8-17 56

ND-FAIRFIELD (19-2)

Damion Medwinter 1 1-2 3, Tyler Bourne 10 3-4 26, Woodley Monnexant 1 1-4 4, Colin Burke 1 0-0 2, Anthony Mongillo 4 0-0 10, Stone Appleberg 1 0-0 3, Nori Davis 8 1-3 20, Rodney Medor 0 0-0 0, Philip Conner 0 0-0 0, Xavier Giddiens 0 0-0 0, Josh Reaves 4 3-3 11, Alejandro Sanchez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 9-16 79

STRATFORD 12 17 17 10 — 56

ND-FAIRFIELD 20 22 22 15 — 79

3-pointers: ND-F — Bourne 3, Monnexant, Mongillo 2, Appleberg, Davis 3; S — Shields, Mitchell 2, Ryan