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Niles- Dan Kienzle (left) Nazareth looks to pass around the pressure of Jake Maestranzi ND.The boys of Nazareth Academy travel to the home of the Notre Dame Dons for Friday night basketball.| Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Notre Dame’s Donte Stephenson was nicknamed ‘Scooter’ as a toddler and on Friday night he showed that the name still resonates.
Stephenson’s quickness keyed a 20-point night for the senior guard, including eight points in overtime to help No. 11 Notre Dame to a 63-53 over visiting East Suburban Catholic Conference foe Nazareth.
The Dons (14-2, 2-1 in ESCC play) have more than a few players unafraid to take a big shot and in overtime Stephenson took his turn in the spotlight.
“I just took it upon myself to step up for the team,” Stephenson said. “A lot of lanes were open to me early that I didn’t take, and in overtime I saw them and took them and it worked out for me.
“We don’t have that one big scorer. Of our top six, on a given night any one of us can have a big night.”
Notre Dame’s defense forced numerous turnovers in the first quarter and the Dons led 16-10 heading to the second. Nazareth (8-6, 1-2) took better care of the ball and used an 8-0 scoring run in the second quarter and trailed 24-23 at halftime.
“After the first quarter we settled down and played well in front of a hostile crowd on the road,” Nazareth coach John Bonk said. “I can’t ask for more from the guys.”
The Dons posted a 17-15 scoring edge in the third quarter and led 41-38 heading to the fourth. Scoring was difficult for both sides in the fourth before Nazareth’s Dan Kienzle (11 points) hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 47-47 and ultimately send it to overtime.
That’s when Stephenson scored six quick points to give the Dons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the extra period.
“We played defense in spurts in building the lead and then with our backs against the wall we made a couple plays defensively,” Dons coach Tom Les said. “I thought Scooter was really good tonight and Jake (Maestranzi) hit a couple big shots for us in the second half. But we’ve got work to do.”
John Bonk, Jr., led Nazareth with 14 points while teammate Tim Kuckailis had 12 points and nine rebounds. Matt Mooney and Eddie Serrano netted 12 points apiece for Notre Dame and Duante Stephens finished with 10 points.