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Notre Dame’s big season continues with rivalry win against St. Patrick

Anthony Sayles scored 17 points and kept the Notre Dame offense running smoothly en route to a 58-43 win over the Shamrocks.

Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles (2) takes the ball to the basket against St. Patrick.
Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles (2) takes the ball to the basket against St. Patrick.
Kirsten Stickeny/For the Sun-Times

Notre Dame wasn’t lacking scoring options when Anthony Sayles missed six games with an injury earlier this season.

But the extra dimension the junior guard adds is what makes the Dons an elite team.

Sayles scored 17 points Friday night and kept the Notre Dame offense running smoothly en route to a 58-43 East Suburban Catholic win over St. Patrick in front of a standing-room-only crowd in Niles.

Notre Dame’s Louis Lesmond took advantage of St. Patrick’s preference to play zone defense, hitting five three-pointers in the first half. The 6-5 guard finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs, and appreciated Sayles’ help.

“Anthony can do everything,” Lesmond said. “He drives, he guards, he rebounds, he gives me a lot of assists.”

Sayles also brings a take-charge atti-tude, a holdover from his time as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback in football.

“It’s not just his ability on the floor,” coach Kevin Clancy said. “It’s his leadership — bringing guys together. He’s got that quarterback/point guard mentality. He runs the show for us.”

Sayles is glad to be back.

“I feel like I haven’t lost a step,” he said. “Me being back for my team is obviously good, but they took care of business without me.”

That’s still the case for the Dons (24-3, 7-0), who never trailed against the Shamrocks (17-6, 5-2) and led by as many as 20 in the third quarter.

St. Patrick’s deliberate pace on offense, along with the zone defense, tends to keep the score down, but it didn’t bother Notre Dame.

“We do what we need to do to win,” Clancy said. “We do prefer to play a little quicker, if possible. But the 1-3-1 zone will slow you down. . . . And with a 15-point, 17-point lead, we’re willing to take the air out of it a little bit.”

The Dons have seen all sorts of styles this season, from the up-tempo approach favored by Public League teams to the slower-paced game favored by suburban schools. But Lesmond said he and his teammates are comfortable at any speed.

“That’s a great thing about our team,” he said. “We can control the tempo. When we want to push or press the ball, we can, and when we want to slow down against a zone, [we can]. We’re a smart team.”

The Dons also saw a zone in Tuesday’s win over Maine South, so they were ready.

“I think that helped us a little bit,” Clancy said. “Any time you shoot the ball like we did early to open things up, it takes a little pressure off.”

Caleb Corro scored 17 to lead the Shamrocks, and Dominic Galati added 14.