The winningest high school basketball programs of the decade: No. 16 Notre Dame

The Sun-Times is counting down the 50 high school basketball programs with the most wins during the decade.

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Notre Dame’s Troy D’Amico (0) dunks the ball against St. Patrick.

Notre Dame’s Troy D’Amico (0) dunks the ball against St. Patrick.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

When high school basketball fans think back to the 1980s, programs like Quincy, Providence St. Mel, East St. Louis Lincoln and the arrival of city powers King and Simeon are easy to think back on.

The 1990s brought us memorable basketball giants in Peoria Manual and Thornton, a few steamrolling Proviso East teams and the continued dominance of King.

The first 10 years of the 2000s included Glenbrook North, Peoria High and the beginning of a Simeon juggernaut.

Earlier this year we broke down the decade’s best teams and best players. Now, with every season of the past decade complete, it’s time to look at the Chicago area programs who won the most.

This list is comprised of the 50 winningest programs over the past 10 years, starting with the 2010-11 season and concluding with the 2019-20 season. Every team in every class throughout the Chicago area will be broken down in a variety of ways. But total wins, with winning percentage used as tie-breaker, determined the rankings.

We present No. 16 Notre Dame today and will add one program a day going forward.

16. NOTRE DAME: 218-89

Decade’s biggest storyline: This past season was not only a record-setting one for Notre Dame basketball, but it was one played at the highest level in Dons basketball history. 

Loaded with college-level players, including a trio of Division I prospects, Notre Dame played the toughest schedule it has faced in program history. All coach Kevin Clancy’s team did was win a school record 29 games while capturing an East Suburban Catholic Conference championship and the Wheeling Hardwood Classic during the regular season. 

The Dons dominated in the postseason, advancing to a sectional championship game while emerging as the team to beat in the Class 3A state tournament. Notre Dame was set to face St. Viator in the super-sectional, a team it beat 59-42 during the regular season. 

Over the course of the season, Notre Dame played in high-profile events and games and shined while beating the likes of DePaul Prep, Glenbrook South, Marian Catholic, Bogan, Fenwick, St. Viator and Morgan Park.

Sadly, part of the storyline to this memorable season as the best team in Notre Dame history is the fact the coronavirus pandemic ended it. 

Underrated highlight: When you consider the current roster that led Notre Dame to a record-breaking win total last season, the number of Division I players in this program will likely surprise people. 

The list includes Rodney Pryor (Robert Morris/Georgetown), Quinton Chievous (Tennessee/Hampton), Matt Mooney (Air Force/South Dakota/Texas Tech), Joe Mooney (UC-Davis), Anthony D’Avanzo (Southern Illinois), Jemearil Wilson (Lehigh), Dusan Mahoric (Illinois State), Troy D’Amico (Southern Illinois), Louis Lesmond (Harvard) and Anthony Sayles, the best unsigned senior in the state. 

The list of Division II and Division III players from Notre Dame is a lengthy one as well. 

Player of the Decade: Troy D’Amico (2021)

All-Decade Team:Quinton Chievous (2011), Matt Mooney (2013), Joe Mooney (2015), Anthony Sayles (2021) and Troy D’Amico (2021)

Notre Dame’s Joe Mooney shoots a three against Hinsdale Central.

Notre Dame’s Joe Mooney shoots a three against Hinsdale Central.

Sun-Times file photo

Other decade highlights:

-The 2015-16 team won 25 games and captured regional and sectional championships. It was the first sectional title since 1996-97 and only the second in school history. Notre Dame lost to eventual state champ Curie in a down-to-the-wire super-sectional at Northwestern. 

-Both Anthony Sayles (1,210 points) and Troy D’Amico (1,198 points) surpassed 1,000 career points during the their junior season. If a complete 2020-21 season would have been played, both were on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer (current Dons assistant coach Mark Heidersbach with 1,600 career points).

-Coach Tom Les stepped down following the 2016-17 season after a highly-successful 10-year run. Les, who won 209 games in his 10 seasons, was replaced by Notre Dame graduate Kevin Clancy (Class of 1998), whose team last year set the school record for most wins. 

-One of the great decade stories was the breakout senior season of Rodney Pryor. A little-known player in the early part of his career, the 6-4 Pryor came out of nowhere as a senior in 2010-11 and scored 640 points. Pryor went on to win the State Farm College Slam Dunk Contest on Final Four weekend in 2017 while playing for Georgetown. 

-While playing for Texas Tech as a grad transfer in 2018-19, former Notre Dame star Matt Mooney played an integral role as a starting guard for a Final Four team that lost to Virginia in the NCAA championship game. 

-Over the course of the decade, Notre Dame evolved into one of the best home court advantages for any team in the Chicago area. The well-known raucous student section at Notre Dame became a high school basketball highlight over the past 10 seasons. 

-The program won six regional championships in the decade (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020).

-In addition to the 2019-20 East Suburban Catholic Conference title won, the Dons also went a perfect 9-0 to win the ESCC championship in 2014-15. 

-The 2019-20 team made a whopping 267 three-pointers on the year. 

-The Dons made their mark over the holidays at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, winning the tournament five separate times over the course of the decade.

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