Notre Dame Living Up to State Ranking

Local Sports

The excitement around the Notre Dame basketball team is electric. The state ranked Irish are one of the top contenders in the Big 12 conference and Class 3A thanks to an unselfish attitude.

“Exciting is just seeing the guys play for each other. We got some guys that obviously score more than others,” Notre Dame head coach Tom Lacher said. “But we’ve got guys who have sacrificed their personal stats for the good of the team. We just have guys that are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

Notre Dame has frustrated its opponents this season with a stout defense, allowing under 40 points per game on average. It’s the hard work on the defensive end that has led the Irish to success this season.

“The way Notre Dame likes it is hard work and making teams have difficult times on the court,” Notre Dame senior Joe Gustafson said. “This year we’ve been successful doing that, and it’s been the first time in a while we’ve had this much success, so it’s nice to be able to do it in my last year.”

PND sprung into the state rankings the first week of January, and they enjoy having the target on their back. They use it as motivation to better prepare for each game.

“Yeah, it doesn’t really mean a lot. Pretty soon here, everybody will be zero and zero,” Notre Dame junior Connor Dillon said. “Maybe it will help us for seeding, but we will have to play some good teams down the road.”

“You can’t rest on state rankings, because really in the long run, that’s not getting you anything,” Lacher said. “You’ve got to prove yourself every night.”

The Irish are hoping they can prove to be the best team in the Big 12 and in the state once March Madness has played in Peoria.

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