Notre Dame Academy falls to Sheboygan North
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – After an important victory three days earlier, Notre Dame Academy boys’ basketball coach Brian Bobinski was hoping his team would carry over that success into its home and Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) opener.
That didn’t happen.
Sheboygan North trailed in the opening five minutes but then took control and never looked back, earning a 64-36 victory over Notre Dame on Friday night.
The loss dropped the Tritons to 1-2 on the young season with the lone victory coming over Appleton East, 67-65, on Dec. 6.
“We had a really big win and really important win for us on Tuesday, and certainly we gained confidence from that, but we didn’t show up and play like the team that played Tuesday tonight,” Bobinski said. “To North’s credit, they came up here and they flat out out-toughed us, from a coaching standpoint, from a mental standpoint, from a physical standpoint. Good for them.
“They’re very well coached, they’re a good program. We swept them last year and I’m sure they were extremely motivated to come up here and beat us, and they definitely did.”
With only two players — Emmett Lawton and Ethan Wall-Atim — came who into this season having earned varsity minutes last season, the Tritons are a young squad. They showed that against the Raiders.
“We came into the game on like a high from the Tuesday game, I think, and we came in thinking we were going to win and obviously that did not happen,” Wall-Atim said. “We kind of just got shellshocked and they just took the reins.”
Sheboygan North’s half-court press gave Notre Dame fits. The Tritons had trouble getting the ball over the half-court line on numerous occasions. That led to easy baskets for North.
“Obviously, their press is very well executed, and they just got in our head and we got in our own head and they just kind of took over the game,” Wall-Atim said.
Lawton, a senior, came into the game averaging 28 points in the opening two contests of the season. He was held to just nine points in the loss.
“Certainly, their focus after Emmett’s performance in the first two games was to do everything possible to deny him good looks, and they did a very good job of that,” Bobinski said. “We have to learn how to handle that as well. Emmett had two very good games the first two games of the year and struggled tonight, and we have to have guys on our team who when teams are taking him away, step up and help out a little bit. Some of that’s a learning curve.”
Sophomore Adam Guyette also scored nine points and Henry Weber added six for the Tritons.
Max Tutas led all scorers with 23 points for Sheboygan North. Cale Buboltz chipped in 11 points.
Notre Dame (1-2, 0-1 FRCC) was up 8-4 at the outset as Lawton converted on a fastbreak layup. But that’s when everything went downhill quickly for the home team.
A 13-0 run for North (3-0, 1-0 FRCC) turned into a 31-12 spurt as the Raiders went into the locker room up 35-20 at halftime.
“They just came to play and we just came out soft,” Wall-Atim said. “They just took over, and we couldn’t come back. It’s a learning opportunity. We saw how good we could be on Tuesday, so we’ve just got to come back ready to play in practice on Sunday and just get ready to work again for Pulaski.”
North didn’t let up at all in the second half. The visitors outscored the Tritons 29-16 in the final 18 minutes.
“I think it’s a new group and it’s a new experience,” Bobinski said. “We went from losing by a big margin in our first game of the year to having a really good performance in game two. We don’t have a lot of depth right now, we still have some injured bodies, so I think we just relaxed a little bit too much as a group. It’s natural, you have a big win, you can start to feel good like those are just going to happen, but the reality is every single win you get has to be earned. From a collective group standpoint, hopefully we learned that lesson tonight.”
Wall-Atim said his team needs to work on “everything” to keep improving this season.
“There’s not really anything we can say we did really good in the game, so we’ve just got to get better at everything in practice,” he said.