Notre Dame coach: It's going to take everything we have (to beat Charleston)

Notre Dame boy's basketball coach Paul Unterreiner shouts instructions to his team during the Bulldogs' win over Cape Girardeau Central Saturday in the semifinals of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
Jacob Wiegand ~ Southeast Missourian

In several ways, the Notre Dame boy’s basketball squad defied logic in its victory over Cape Girardeau Central Saturday in the semifinals of the 75th annual Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.

Of the 22 games that had been played through three days of the event, not a single lower-seeded team had prevailed until the Bulldogs demolished the Tigers 70-54.

Also, Cape Central had not lost to Notre Dame in seven consecutive outings dating back nearly four years (Feb. 2, 2016).

Notre Dame will have to ignore history once again tonight.

The No. 3-seed Bulldogs (9-2) will face top-seed Charleston (8-1) in the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m. at the Show Me Center.

The game will follow the consolation bracket championship (Kelly vs. Advance, 3 p.m.), the fifth-place game (Oran vs. Delta, 4:30 p.m.), and the third-place game (Cape Central vs. Jackson, 6 p.m.).

"What we have to work on (before playing Notre Dame) is playing smarter in certain situations,” Bluejay coach Danny Farmer told Saturday. “We've got to be better playing in the half-court."

Charleston has been pretty good in those regards against the Bulldogs.

The Bluejays have beaten Notre Dame four consecutive times, including three times last season.

“I know what everybody else knows about Charleston,” Notre Dame coach Paul Unterreiner said Saturday, “they are really good.”

Charleston is experienced (Farmer returns five of his top six players from a year ago) and talented.

“They got the one seed in the (SEMO) Conference Tournament for a reason,” Unterreiner said. “They didn’t win that, but I promise you, they don’t like to lose to us.”

The Bluejays have multiple weapons that concern Unterreiner. They placed six players (Terridean Bogan, Sam Bledsoe, Almareion Williams, Isaiah Gillespie, Rico Coleman, and Blessin Kimble) in double figures in their Christmas Tournament opening win over Scott County Central, while Bledsoe, Bogan, Elmer Davis, and Kimble did so in a second-day win over Scott City.

“They have a Hall of Fame coach over there,” Unterreiner said, “They have sharp-shooters everywhere. They have a heckuva post (in Kimble). They can handle it.

“It’s going to take everything we have to have a chance. We’re just excited to have the opportunity to win the Christmas Tournament.”

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