By Gavin Ems

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Nottingham Northstars (11-4) traveled to Lawrenceville on Tuesday night to face off against the Notre Dame Irish (8-7). Notre Dame went into this matchup with two straight wins, looking to add another victory to their streak. Nottingham fell to Haddonfield in their last match and would look to rebound from that loss.

Both teams were neck and neck in the beginning of the first quarter. Jordan Raba helped pave the way for Nottingham by putting points on the board, and Will Foley of Notre Dame was dominant as well. However, the Irish scored ten unanswered points late in the quarter to gain a quick 17-7 lead over the Northstars. Notre Dame’s impressive ability to hit long range three-point shots allowed them to gain such a lead. Nottingham fought hard but had trouble getting baskets to fall. Jordan Raba ended up having 10 of Nottingham’s 13 points at the end of the quarter. Noah Mathis hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to help Notre Dame increase their lead, which was 22-13 at the end of the quarter.

Dom Raymond hit a three of his own to start off the second quarter, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to six points. But Josh Gatete responded with a bucket in the next possession. From here on out, it was a shootout. Notre Dame was hot behind the arc, fending off Nottingham with three after three. But Raymond helped Nottingham stay just behind the Irish, putting up seven points in this quarter. Going into the half, Notre Dame led 33-24, with an impressive seven three-pointers made in the first half. Nottingham, behind by a decent margin but with a lot of gameleft to go, would have to adjust stay in the game.

Nottingham started to get hot in the third quarter. Dom Raymond, Donte Alexandre, and Jahmere Miller put points on the board to help close in on Notre Dame. Their offensive momentum combined with their tough defense to hold the Irish to just three points midway through the quarter. Eventually, the Northstars took the lead after Raymond hit a mid-range jumper. But, the Irish decided this was a good time to start getting hot on offense again, with a three-pointer from Julian Matera to quickly take back the lead. Eventually, Nottingham was able to tie the game back up again right as the quarter ended, each team with 42 on the board.

In the fourth quarter, both teams made sure to keep each other in check. When the Northstars would score, the Irish made sure to answer with a basket of their own and vice versa. However, the Irish were able to gain a five-point lead late in the quarter. ButRaymond cut that lead down to three after taking a trip to the line and sinking both. The Northstars had another opportunity to catch up after Raba was fouled behind the three-point line, making one of three foul shots. On the last shot, Raymond was fouled, which was Notre Dame’s fifth of the quarter, giving Nottingham the bonus. So, Raymond took yet another trip to the line and made both shots to tie the game up again at 51 apiece. After this, Notre Dame got some baskets to fall, as well as Nottingham. As the clock ran down with ten seconds left, each team tied at 54, Notre Dame had a chance to win the game, but were unable to do so. The winner of this game would be decided in overtime play.

The Irish started out in overtime with a quick bucket. However, the Northstars used their ability to draw fouls to slow the game down and get easy buckets to stay with them. After taking multiple trips to the line and getting baskets to fall down low, Nottingham was able to gain a seven-point advantage with 30 seconds left to play. However, Notre Dame wouldn’t go down without a fight. John Merluse was able to make a layup and draw a foul for an and one opportunity but was not able to capitalize on making the free throw. Eventually, time ran out on the clock, and Nottingham emerged victorious 64-59.

After the game, WBCB interviewed the Amaya’s Italian Eatery and Italian People’s Bakery player of the game, Nottingham’s own Dom Raymond. Raymond had 30 points in the face off against Notre Dame and did a superb job drawing fouls as he took eight trips to the line this game, only missing one. When asked about Nottingham’s success and what Mercer County fans should expect from the team, he replied with, “Just watch. We let people talk, but we don’t do any of that. We just play our game and play our roles. We are a hard team to beat.” They certainly are, as Nottingham will improve to 12-4, showcasing their excellent and talented team. As for Notre Dame, they will move to an 8-8 record. No loss is good, but this was certainly not a bad loss for them. They are a very young team, and to force a much older more experienced Nottingham team to overtime is an impressive feat.