By Drake Skleba
For the Enterprise 

Notre Dame, high-flying Lesmond, fly past previously-undefeated Glenbrook South to win 42nd Hardwood Classic at Wheeling


Last updated 12/29/2019 at 12:10pm

In their 42nd Wheeling Hardwood Classic Basketball Tournament championship game the Dons of Notre Dame and the unbeaten Titans of Glenbrook South were deadlocked at 26-26 at halftime.

Led by their French-born junior forward Louis Lesmond, who scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half, Notre Dame (14-2) handed Glenbrook South (13-1) its first defeat of the season, 49-44. Lesmond's championship game heroics garnered him the Wheeling Hardwood Classic Most Valuable Player Award.

Lesmond, who had but five points at the half, scored the first 12 points of the third quarter for Notre Dame. Teaming up with Friday night's Dons' hero, junior All-Tournament Selection, Anthony Sayles (12 points, four assists, two steals), the duo, opened up the third quarter, in high-flying action.

Sayles stole the ball, made a Harlem Globetrotter behind-the-back dribble and threw a perfect pass, to Lesmond, for the monster, rim-rattling slam and a 28-26 Dons lead. After leading the highly-successful Notre Dame football team at quarterback this fall, Sayles knows a few things about throwing perfect passes.

"Louis and I work on that play in practice everyday," Sayles said. "It's nice to see our hard work in practice pay off in a huge way in a game."

Lesmond took over the game.

After Glenbrook South's All-Tournament Selection Dom Martinelli (25 points) tied the game at 28, Lesmond buried a three-point bomb for a 31-28 lead. Dons' all-tournament selection junior Troy D' Amico (10 points, nine rebounds, two steals) came up with a steal and lobbed the ball to the high-flying Frenchman for another monster slam and a 33-28 Dons lead

"Louis was unbelievable today for us," D'Amico said. "He just took over the game. It feels great to win this tournament. After not winning here last year, we really made it a goal of ours to win here this year."

Martinelli drove to the hoop for two baskets to cut the Dons lead to 33-32 with 4:17 in the third quarter.

Lesmond answered by burying another long-range three and teamed up with D'Amico for another thunderous dunk to give the Dons a 38-32 with 1:06 in the quarter. Turn-about is fair play, as Lesmond fed Sayles for an easy score to give the Dons a 40-32 lead after three quarters.

When asked what he said to Louis at the half, Notre Dame associate coach, Trey Boyle, impressed with his cosmopolitan response.

"I told Louis in French, "get out there and kick some (butt), Boyle said.

Excuse the French.

Glenbrook South would close to within 40-36 with 5:20 remaining.

Lesmond answered again with a dagger three pointer, six seconds later and the Dons led 43-36. Lesmond also hauled down seven rebounds added two steals, two assists, and rejected three Titan shots with his 22 points

Running their delay game to perfection, the Dons finished off the Titans 49-44.

"It is great for our school to win this tournament," Lesmond said. "All of us played well and worked hard, to win here, this year. My coaches at halftime told me to be more aggressive. t is a great honor to win the MVP award but I am more happy for our team, in winning the Hardwood Classic."

"We are sure glad we have Louis," Sayles added. "He does it all for us. A true MVP."

For the Dons, a second preseason goal has been achieved. In November, the Dons won the Lane Tech Thanksgiving Tournament Championship. If you guessed who the Lane Tech Tournament MVP was Lesmond, you would be correct.

A mighty East Suburban Catholic League championship is next up on the Dons' 2020 list. In March, the Dons want to play in Peoria for an Illinois High School Association Class 3A state championship.

"When we spoke after the Bogan win, I mentioned that we really wanted to come here to Wheeling and win The Hardwood Classic," Notre Dame coach Kevin Clancy said. "Sometimes Louis starts slow in a game but we turns on, he is simply outstanding as he was for us tonight and his MVP award is well-deserved."


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