Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
OAK HILL — The fact that Ava Hassel and Taylor Schmidt are Notre Dame’s two main scoring options is no secret.
Hassel and Schmidt are two humongous reasons why the Titans are so good. However, if you take a deeper look, the pair’s teammates are what sets Notre Dame apart.
Thus was the case Monday in a non-league matchup at Oak Hill. Hassel and Schmidt once again led the team offensively. But the work their teammates put in on the defensive end, and on the glass, was just as imperative in a 53-42 win over the Oaks.
“I really think it’s just about playing your roles,” Notre Dame’s Claire Dettwiller said postgame. “Some people may be coming in for defense, some may be coming in for offense. It just depends on who’s on each night and we just try to work around what everybody’s doing best.”
Dettwiller led the team in rebounds and got into the scoring column multiple times. She was joined by Cassie Schaefer, Isabel Cassidy and Lauren Campbell in assisting Hassel and Schmidt.
However, early on, as a group, the Titans (17-1) couldn’t quite keep up with Oak Hill’s scoring.
The Oaks (11-8) consistently found open players and breezed to runout baskets. That gave them an early double-digit lead before Notre Dame made the necessary adjustments at halftime.
In the third and fourth quarters, with the Titans back into their half-court defensive set, the Oaks had problems scoring while Notre Dame chipped away at the lead.
“We didn’t give up as many runout baskets as we did in the first half. We did a terrible job of getting back on defense in the first half,” Notre Dame coach J.D. McKenzie said. “Offensively, we were stagnant for a little while and we weren’t able to get up into our press. We just talked at halftime and said that it started on the defensive end. So it was chip, chip, chip away at the lead. We played better in the second half, not as well as I’d like, but it was better.”
Oak Hill took its first lead of the ballgame with 6:20 left in the first quarter when Caitlyn Brisker completed a three-point play. Later, with 2:43 left, Olivia Clarkson made it a 13-7 lead with a putback bucket. Clarkson then pushed the edge to 19-13 with 28.7 seconds remaining.
In the second, Oak Hill’s Chloe Chambers made it 25-16 at the 5:08 mark before Brisker later scored to make it 29-16 with a coast-to-coast score.
With her team reeling, Hassel nailed a 3 to harness the lead back to within 10 points before Dettwiller later hit the front end of two free throws with just 2.7 seconds remaining, cutting it to 32-24 at halftime.
But as mentioned, after giving up many easy buckets in the first half, Notre Dame came out adjusted and ready to play in the second.
After Brisker scored three straight baskets to make it a 38-28 game with 3:35 left, Hassel and Schmidt hit back-to-back 3’s, shaving the deficit to 38-34. Hassel scored with 2:21 to go, making it 38-36, and Schmidt tied the game at the 1:29 mark.
The Titans then took their first lead since the first quarter with a free throw from Dettwiller, followed by a steal and score from Schmidt. That gave the team a 41-38 lead heading into the fourth and capped a 13-0 run.
“At halftime, we were talking about how they were getting back and how they were beating us,” Schaefer said. “So the switch we made, we just sent two people back instead of one, to make sure no one could get beat. I feel like the momentum changed after we got a few stops.”
After seizing momentum with the 13-0 run, the Titans used a 7-0 run in the fourth to take a 51-41 lead with just 3:59 left. From there, they grinded the clock and continued to scoring opportunities on the defensive end.
Schmidt led Notre Dame in scoring with 17 points while Hassel had 14 points, six rebounds and two assists. Dettwiller ended with five points and seven rebounds, Schaefer had six points, and Cassidy and Campbell each added five points to the mix.
For Oak Hill, Brisker scored 17 points alongside seven rebounds and four assists while Clarkson tallied 11 points. Chambers finished with eight points and seven boards.
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday as the Titans travel to New Boston and the Oaks try and get back on track at South Webster.
“It depends on which team shows up,” McKenzie said. “I thought we settled for shots in the first half and we looked like a team that was playing on the road against a very well-coached team. If we play with the intensity that we did in the second half, the sky’s the limit. If we play like we did in the first half, we won’t get very far. That’s just the way it is.”
Notre Dame: 13-11-17-11 — 52
Oak Hill: 19-13-6-5 — 43
Notre Dame: 17-47 FG, 7-12 FT, 9-23 3 pt., 21 rebounds (Dettwiller 7), 15 turnovers, 7 assists (Hassel 2, Schmidt 2). Scoring: Schmidt 17, Hassel 14, Schaefer 6, Dettwiller 5, Cassidy 5, Campbell 5.
Oak Hill: 19-44 FG, 5-8 FT, 0-4 3 pt., 31 rebounds (Brisker 7, Chambers 7, Ba. Howard 7), 20 turnovers, 9 assists (Brisker 4). Scoring: Brisker 17, Clarkson 11, Chambers 8, McCain 3, Ba. Howard 2, Br. Howard 2.