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SHERMAN OAKS — It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Notre Dame boys basketball team.
The Knights had lost four of their last six games.
Gonzaga-committed Dusty Stromer has had cold shooting nights. New players Caleb Foster (headed to Duke) and Mercy Miler (committed to Houston) have been seen trying to take over games, ultimately resulting in losses.
Trying to mesh the pieces together in one season is no easy task for coach Matt Sargeant, but in Notre Dame’s 78-51 Mission League win over upset-minded St. Francis on Wednesday night, there were glimpses of the pieces starting to bond.
“That’s the difference between a team like Harvard-Westlake and a team like us,” Sargeant said. “They’ve had three years to build a continuity and identity of what they look like in the last four minutes of a game. We’re still figuring that out.”
Stromer and Foster each tallied 18 points and Miller added 17 in the Knights’ victory, which makes them 2-0 in the Mission League before a game with Alemany on Friday and a showdown with Harvard-Westlake at home Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Jackson Mosley led St. Francis (15-6, 1-1) with 11 points.
In a lopsided game, the ball moves and is shared. In tighter games this season, the recipe to win a close game is still being worked on. Question is, will the Knights (12-7, 2-0) figure it out in time?
“The guys have a sense of who has it going, who has an advantage on a particular play and when to attack,” Sargeant said.
Notre Dame has suffered six of its seven losses to nationally ranked programs this season.
Harvard-Westlake 63, Crespi 43: Brady Dunlap had 18 points and Jacob Huggins scored 16 points for the Wolverines (2-0 Mission). Freshman Joe Sterling had 28 points for Crespi (0-2 Mission).
Sierra Canyon 71, Loyola 52: Bronny James led the way with 18 points and Ashton Hardaway added 14 for the Trailblazers (2-0 Mission). Jaedyn Patterson had 14 points for Loyola (0-2 Mission).
Chaminade 67, Alemany 33: Ethan Johnson led the Eagles (1-1 Mission) with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
WEST VALLEY LEAGUE
Cleveland 77, Chatsworth 74 (OT): Kamari King tallied 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Justin Rosenbaum had 40 points and eight rebounds for Cleveland. Freshman Alijah Arenas had 40 for the Chancellors. Cleveland earned its first league win in three seasons under first-year coach Dagem Asfaw.
Birmingham 59, Granada Hills 46: Seniors Tyson Jackson and Kory Blunt each had 10 points in the league-opening victory.
Taft 85, El Camino Real 50: Keyon Kensie led Taft with 21 points. Adam Grissom notched 14 points and 12 rebounds.
EAST VALLEY LEAGUE
Sun Valley Poly 57, Monroe 54: Aaron Summerville had 15 points and Kevin Lara added 14 for the Parrots.
Grant 85, Verdugo Hills 62: Dilyn Martian and Jordan Taylor each had 14 points for the Lancers.
Viewpoint 78, Cate 45: Aeneas Grullon scored 23 points for the Patriots.
Northridge Academy 103, Fulton 19: Dylan Goosen had 29 points, including seven 3-pointers.