By Gavin Ems

EWING, NJ – Wednesday night saw the Notre Dame Irish play against the Ewing Blue Devils. Ewing has been struggling lately as they have lost their last three games. Notre Dame on the other hand snapped their own three game losing streak last week with a win over Bordentown, and would ride the good momentum into this match up against Ewing.

Both teams kept it close in the first quarter. Notre Dame utilized their talent for the three-point shot to put points on the board with Noah Mathis and Charlie Schurr each sinking a three-ball.Terrance Traylor, Ewing’s sophomore star, got off to a hot start scoring six of Ewing’s 10 points this quarter, with Dariyon Doggett and Jamir Brown contributing with a bucket each. Ewing also played great defense against Notre Dame. They had a significant size advantage and utilized it with blocking Irish shots down low and forcing them to play long-range offense. Still, the Irish found ways to score, and lead 11-10 at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was a shootout, as both teams prevented each other from gaining a significant lead. The Irish continued to base their offense around the perimeter, moving the ball around until they could find an open shot and drawing fouls to take trips to the free throw line. The Blue Devils continued to dominate down low and did a good job keeping the offense going. Cameron James had six points this quarter for Ewing, and Merluse took great advantage at the foul line, shooting 4/4. Both teams put up 13 points this quarter, and the half ended with Notre Dame keeping their fragile lead over Ewing 24-23.

The third quarter started off with Merluse drawing a foul for anand one opportunity, which he made to secure a four-point lead over Ewing. In the next possession, Schurr hit another triple, increasing Notre Dame’s lead to seven points. Shortly after this, James scored two buckets down low to shorten that lead to three, keeping the Irish in check. It was after James’ second basket where things got a bit hectic, as Merluse suffered a broken nose in transition which left the Irish shorthanded on that play defensively. At the same time, the fire alarm went off in the gymnasium, forcing the game to stop until further notice. Eventually, the game continued after everything was settled. James scored another basket for Ewing, inching even closer to Notre Dames. However, Mathis responded with a basket of his own in the next possession, and a block on defense on the next play, his third straight. He commanded this quarter, scoring seven points and blocking shots on defense. Eventually, Notre Dame extended their lead to ten points until Kristian Thomas hit a three for Ewing at the end of the quarter. The buzzer sounded, Notre Dame up 39-32.

With the start of the fourth and final quarter, the game was still up in the air for both teams to grab. Ewing had some work to do to claw back, and the Irish looked to carry the momentum they gained from the end of the third into the fourth. Ewing had the opportunity to put four easy points on the board with James and Leslie Summiel each taking trips to the line. However, they collectively shot one for four on these two attempts, making it a bit harder on themselves to overtake Notre Dame. Will Foley drove into the paint on the next possession, putting up a layup to increase the Irish lead to eight points. Summiel took another trip to the line, sinking both this time and cutting Notre Dame’s leadto six. Joel Cineus scored a jumper on the next play, cutting down the Irish lead again to just four points. Will Foley drew a foul down low later in the quarter and sank both free throws to go up by six points. Both teams had five team fouls with three minutes left in the quarter, giving the bonus to each side. James split a pair at the line decreasing Notre Dame’s lead to five. Thomas drew a foul later on, and sank both at his trip to the line, After this, Traylor stole the ball at half-court and dished it back to Thomas, who scored a layup to cut Notre Dame’s lead to just one point with two and a half minutes left to play, making this game a real nail biter. But Mathis responded with a bucket on his own on the next play. This quarter was a story of foul shots, as James took yet another trip to the line, making both and cutting the Irish lead to one point. From this point, each team went back and forth scoring baskets. Eventually, Notre Dame gained a three-point advantage with 30 seconds to play. This is when Julian Matera took a charge down low on defense, a huge play for the Irish which turned the ball over. The quarter finally came to an end after a multitude of foul shots, the Irish emerging victorious winning this game 53-50.

WBCB interviewed Will Foley, the sophomore guard from Notre Dame and the Italian People’s Bakery player of the game. Foley had 17 points and was perfect from the foul line, shooting 10 for 10. When asked about how a win over one of the best teams in the Colonial Valley shows the maturity of this Notre Dame team, he answered, “Ewing is a great team. They’re top in the CVC. Monday and today really showed our maturity throughout the year. We’ve been battling against the best, but we couldn’t finish and folded early in the year. But, these past two games really show that we can battle.” As previously mentioned, the Irish took down Bordentown by ten on Monday night in a decisive victory. They have been impressive this season in their wins and losses. They beat Robbinsville, the 3rd ranked team in the CVC earlier in the season and forced Nottingham the 2ndranked team to overtime just last week before eventually falling to them. Foley has been impressive to watch, emerging as a leader on this Notre Dame squad despite being one of the youngest guys on the team. The Irish will move back to .500 with a 10-10 record and will take on Princeton in their next match on Friday. As for Ewing, this will be their fourth straight loss, their record moving to 13-8. They will face off againstRobbinsville in their next game.