HAMDEN >> For the approximate 1,000 people who were on hand to see No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven play Friday night, they got to see why everyone is raving about Green Knights’ point guard Tremont Waters.
For those left out at Hamden High due to the sellout, there will be plenty of other opportunities to see the senior bound for Georgetown University. You will get plenty more chances to see him play. Just arrive a little earlier.
Waters finished with 28 points, 24 of those in the first half when the game was still in doubt. Notre Dame cruised past Hamden 85-66 in a game that was sold out more than an hour before tip.
“He’s electric out there when he gets going,” Notre Dame coach Jason Shea said about Waters. “You almost see him change the crowd over (to his side). That’s how good he was in the first half. Some of the things he does I’ve never seen a high school player do before.”
In one stretch, Waters either scored or assisted on 26 of Notre Dame’s 31 points in the first half that turned a deficit into a comfortable 40-24 lead not even at the midway point of the second quarter. Waters finished with five assists.
“I had to pick it up and help my team, stay focused stay positive,” Waters said. “I scored a few buckets and got my team back in it.”
Waters scored the last 10 points of the first quarter, the last basket a deep 3-ball just before the buzzer sounded. He also had the last seven of the second quarter.
On one basket alone, he had the Notre Dame faithful literally jumping out of the stands.
Hamden (2-3) actually jumped out to an 8-0 lead. But Notre Dame (5-0) quickly began to chip away and the Green Dragons committed their seventh team foul just past the midway point of the first quarter.
The Division I matchup of waters and Hamden’s C.J. Seaforth (Iona) never materialized. Seaforth picked up three fouls in the first and had just four points before halftime. He finished with 14 points overall.
“Its tough, he is a great guard,” Seaforth said about Waters. “I came out really slow and then I was in foul trouble. I have to play basketball and not worry about fouling.”
Center Eric Lloyd was also in foul trouble in the first half and that spelled trouble for Hamden.
“It’s hard when its seven to one in fouls early and they are in the one and one (free-throw situation),” Hamden coach Jarrad Beck said.
Mike Brooks added a double-double (15 points and 15 rebounds) and Tim Dawson contributed 19 points for the Green Knights. So as opponents know already, its not just the Waters show at Notre Dame.
Shea noted how he stressed the importance on the defensive end, his big guys being able to guard the perimeter against Hamden’s smaller guards, then pounce on the backboards.
“It’s an advantage for us to play our big lineup against the small guards. Our bigs were able to guard the perimeter. Being able to do that gave us an advantage on the glass on both ends,” Shea said.
Said Beck: “He’s not an average kid, so when you guard (Waters), sometimes it takes another guy to address him. That leaves it open (underneath), then its 6-6 (Michael Brooks) 6-5 (Connor Raines) and 6-7 (Jalanni White). People see the score and the highlights, but really it’s those second-shot opportunities that expanded the lead. Against a player like that, the margin for error is so slim.”
NOTRE DAME-WH 85, HAMDEN 66
ND-WH 25 26 15 19 – 85
Hamden 18 16 12 20 – 66
NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN (85)
Tremont Waters 12 0-1 28, Jalanni White 5 0-0 10, Tim Dawson 6 6-9 19, Mike Brooks 5 5-6 15, Connor Raines 2 1-1 5, Chuck Dikko 2 0-0 4, Evan Blue 1 0-0 3, Jaiden Kimbro 0 1-2 1. Totals: 33 13-19 85
CJ Seaforth 3 7-7 14, Aidan Carpenter 4 0-2 9, Jaylen Ricks 4 2-2 10, Ronnie Ellis 5 5-8 17, Andrew Kirschenbaum 3 0-0 6, Douglas Daniels 0 2-2 2, Nate Morrison 2 1-2 5, Trevor Brandi 1 0-0 3. Totals: 22 17-23 66
3-point goals: Notre Dame-West Haven 6 (Waters 4, Dawson 1, Blue 1); Hamden 5 (Seaforth 1, Carpenter 1, Ellis 2, Brandi 1); Records: Notre Dame-West Haven 5-0; Hamden 2-3
Notes: Waters 5 assists, Brooks 15 rebounds.