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Hinton, Williams lead Curie past Dons in battle of AP Class 4A/3A No.1s

On Wednesday night in Niles, the CPS Red South-Central champion Chicago Curie, in a recent addition to each school's schedule, squared off with the East Suburban Catholic Conference co-champion Notre Dame.

In the latest Associated Press' Illinois Boys High School Basketball Rankings, Curie is ranked No.1 in Class 4A and Notre Dame is ranked No.1 in Class 3A.

Before a capacity crowd at Notre Dame, Curie (26-2) pulled away from the host Dons in the last minute of the game for a 76-69 victory. The Condors were led by 6-foot-4 senior Ramean Hinton (23 points, five rebounds) and 6-foot-6 senior Saiveon Williams, who scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half.

Curie's 5-foot-7 Nick Owens chipped in with 18 points, converting on eight consecutive free throws in the crucial fourth quarter. The Condors connected on 14 of their last 15 charity tosses.

Notre Dame (26-5) was led by 6-foot-8 junior Troy D'Amico, who nailed five shots from beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 29 points along with seven rebounds.

Dons' junior Anthony Sayles scored six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, while 6-foot-6 junior Louis Lesmond scored 12 points and hauled down 10 rebounds for ND.

With 6:56 left, Lesmond gave the Dons a 57-54 lead. After Williams scored inside, Sayles put the Dons back up by three, 59-56, with 6:31 left.

Hinton deadlocked the game at 59-59 with his third long-range three point bomb with 5:09 left.

With 4:41 left D'Amico's bank-shot for two gave the Dons their last lead at 63-61. With 3:30 remaining, the Dons turned over the Condors and D'Amico was fouled. D'Amico missed the front-end of the 1-and-1.

Hinton and Williams scored on three consecutive Condor trips down the floor giving Curie a 65-61 lead with 1:27 left.

Sayles answered with a three-pointer from downtown Niles to pull the Dons within 65-63 with 1:16 on the clock.

Owens and Hinton made 11 of their 12 free-throws to seal the victory for Class 4A's top-ranked Condors.

D'Amico (three), senior Jason Bergstrom (two) and Lesmond (one) dropped six long-range three-point bombs on the Condors, giving ND a 20-15 lead after one quarter.

D'Amico continued his all-out assault on Curie with seven second-quarter points, including his buzzer-beating, fourth three-pointer to give the Dons a 35-33 lead at the half.

With 2:27 left in the third quarter, Lesmond electrified the capacity crowd, including the raucous "Bull Den" Dons' student section, with one of his patented rim-wrecking slams for a 49-42 Dons lead.

"We went toe-to-toe with the No.1 team in Illinois," D'Amico said. "Curie is the best team we have played this season and I believe we will not see anyone better in the upcoming Class 3A state tournament.

"We really ran our offense well tonight. My teammates were able to get me great looks on my three-point shots.

I also was able to really finish strong going to the basket. I missed a crucial free throw - that hurt us."

"I just wiped the board," Sayles said. "We finished 26-5 but it doesn't matter now. We are 0-0 on the board and we are taking it one game at a time in the upcoming Class 3A state tournament."

"It was a great game between two great teams and Curie just beat us," Notre Dame coach Kevin Clancy said. "Our capacity crowd was awesome and we played well tonight but we didn't play as well as we could have. And to beat Curie we would have to play at our best .

"Troy was not only impressive with his outside shooting but I was really impressed with his inside moves to the basket. Anthony had a great fourth quarter and Louis played well even though he didn't shoot the ball well tonight."


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