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Louis Lesmond's eight 3's headline Notre Dame's air show victory over feisty Hawks

For his high-flying, rim-rattling, monster-slam dunks we at The Niles Bugle refer to Notre Dame's 6-foot-5 Paris France native Louis Lesmond,as "The Flying Frenchman."

Along with seniors Troy D'Amico and Anthony Sayles, Lesmond led the 2019-20 Notre Dame Dons to the Associated Press' Illinois State rankings No.1 spot.

On Monday night in Niles, Lesmond — instead of flying above the rim for two points — the Flying Frenchman was deadly from 20-30 feet away from the basket.

Burying a career-high eight three-point bombs and scoring 26 points, Lesmond led Notre Dame (14-2) past a feisty group of Maine South Hawks 53-37.

What started out as a boys high school basketball game between rivals Notre Dame and Maine South turned into an early-March edition of the Niles Air Show

Maine South's 6-foot-4 Nikola Zelenovic (19 points, five 3's) started the aerial marksmanship display with a pair of three-point bombs, scoring all eight Hawks points for an early 8-3 Hawks lead.

With Maine South leading 12-9 with a minute remaining in the first quarter, Lesmond and the Dons began their air attack with a bang.

Lesmond buried his second long-range three-pointer to tie the game at 12 after one quarter.

The Dons went on an all-out aerial assault with 18 second-quarter points — all on long-range three-point bombs.

Sayles for three, Lesmond's third triple from 22-feet. D'Amico from 20 feet.

Dons sophomore Sonny Williams, from 19-feet. Lesmond's fourth trey, this time from 25-feet and D'Amico's second long-range bomb from 21 feet.

Maine South senior Sean Gallery (10 points) scored to end an eight-minute Maine South scoring drought.

Notre Dame then went on a 21-0 run on seven, three-pointers.

The valiant Maine South Hawks (12-8) played Notre Dame even in the second half.

Lesmond added three more, even-further out three-point bombs, in third quarter as the teams played even with the Dons up 43-27.

Maine South Hawks' gun-slinger Zelenovic buried his third and fourth three-point bombs in the third quarter.

The never-say-die Hawks of Maine South, playing in their fifth game in six days, behind a Zelenovic five-point outburst, which included his fifth trey of the game, closed to within 43-32 with 7:06 remaining.

As he did on Saturday against rival Loyola, the Dons' super-soph Williams stuck a dagger into the Maine South hearts.

Williams' old fashioned three-point play gave the Dons a 46-32 lead with 6:25 left. Gallery scored to pull the feisty Hawks within a dozen at 46-34 with 5:40 remaining.

Burying his eighth three-pointer of the game, this time from Dempster Avenue, Lesmond finished off the valiant Hawks for a 49-34 lead with 5:20 left.

"In my high school basketball career, this is the most three-pointers, I have had in a game,"Lesmond said. "We all played well tonight and took care of our business. We shared the ball well and had a great team victory. Tomorrow we want to go to Marian Catholic and bring back the East Suburban Catholic Conference Championship all for ourselves."

The always reliable, future SIU Saluki, D'Amico had a double double, scoring 10 points and hauling down 10 rebounds, while handing out four assists.

"Maine South is a tough team," D'Amico said. "We knew it would be a tough game. On Tuesday, we are all ready to go down to Chicago Heights and beat Marian Catholic and take home the outright ESCC championship."

Maine South's 6-foot-6 senior Marko Anderson scored six points and eight rebounds.

"This was our 20th game, most in the state," Maine South coach Tony Lavorato said. "In the second half we played them even. Zelenovic stroked the ball well tonight. We just haven't been able to practice and one need's practice to run through what one may see in a game and how to react to it.

"This is our fifth game in six days. The kids are tired to and when you are tired it also makes it difficult to react and make the right reaction to your opponent. I'm proud of our kids for their effort tonight and for the whole season."

The East Suburban Catholic Conference in 2019-20 had co-champions, the Dons and the Spartans of Marian Catholic. On Tuesday night, Notre Dame (14-2, 7-1) will take on the second-place Spartans (6-5, 6-2) in Chicago Heights at 7 p.m.

A Dons' win equals a second consecutive ESCC title.

"Wow. Third straight rivalry game for us and Tuesday we go to Marian Catholic for an ESCC championship," Notre Dame coach Kevin Clancy said. "We took care of business tonight and Louis was unbelievable. Troy is always there for us and Sonny Williams is really gaining confidence with each game. Sonny's emergence makes us an even better team. We want the ESCC title all to ourselves."


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