Friday, Dec. 31, 2010
By Dick Quagliano
Quintin Chievous and Notre Dame continue to impress. Both found a way to reach back as the No. 19 Dons knocked off Niles North 61-50 in the championship game of the Hardwood Classic in Wheeling Thursday.
Chievous, who has yet to commit and has drawn interest from Indiana State, Detroit Mercy and Oregon State, helped lead the Dons to their first Wheeling tournament title by scoring 17 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.
"The bottom line is that people come to see you when you win," said Chievous, who was named tournament MVP. "We have been playing real well."
"He does a great job out there every night," Notre Dame coach Tom Les said. "We had different guys step up each night, but Q is solid out there."
Notre Dame (13-1) got off to a fast start. Led by Chievous, the Dons scored the game's first seven points, on their way to a 12-2 lead with 3:51 left.
Niles North (9-5) then put the clamps on the Dons defensively, holding them scoreless for nearly six minutes.
Meanwhile, Abdel Nader (18 points, seven rebounds) got the Vikings going on offense. Niles North ran off nine unanswered points during the stretch and Nader's trey put the Vikings up 16-15 early in the second quarter.
Niles North increased its lead to 24-17 before Notre Dame got its offense in gear. And thanks to a banking three by Chievous, the game was tied at 26 at the half.
Notre Dame used that as a springboard to start the second half. With Rodney Pryor (15 points, eight rebounds) penetrating, the Dons opened with a 9-2 run and a 35-28 lead. The Dons continued the pressure as the lead increased to 42-30 after three quarters.
Niles North was not done. Led by Nader, John King and Malachi Nix (15 points), the Vikings ran off 15 unanswered points to lead 45-42 on Nix' trey with 4:52 to play.
Notre Dame tied it Chievous' three-point play and went ahead on Eddie Serano's basket. Niles North tied it for a final time at 47 on free throws by Nix with 3:55 to play.
But it was all Notre Dame from there as the Dons ran off 12 in a row to put the game away.
"We never lost our composure," Chievous said. "We really stepped it up at the end."
"It was a game of runs," Les said. "We did the things we needed to to win the game at the end."