— Dave Phillips (@davephillips41) February 2, 2019
NEW HAVEN — Notre Dame-West Haven is still undefeated — but barely.
The Green Knights needed every second Friday night to improve their record to 15-0 as Connor Raines canned a wide open layup at the buzzer to give Notre Dame a 42-40 victory over Hillhouse in a Southern Connecticut Conference boys’ basketball contest before a sold out crowd at the Hillhouse gym.
“Anytime your team gets tested like this and you come out with a win, it’s a real positive,” Notre Dame coach Jason Shea said. “Teams like Hillhouse are the types of teams you have to beat to win a league or state championship and sometimes you have to do it on their court.”
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Tied at 40-40, Evan Scott Alexander had a chance to put Hillhouse ahead with 29.4 seconds remaining, but his jump shot from the left corner hit the left side of the backboard. Notre Dame got the rebound and decided to go for one shot.
Shea called back-to-back timeouts when he wasn’t happy with the setup on the court.
“After the first time out, we were looking to get the ball into the post,” Shea explained. “But after the second, but after the second time out we looked for Zach (Laput) to go hard and get Connor to roll.”
The Green Knights were able to get the ball to Laput at the three-point line. When he was triple-teamed, he located Raines just to the left of the basket where he put the ball in the basket for the victory.
“It was a fantastic find by Zach,” Raines said moments after he was mobbed in the corner of the court by his teammates. “My man (Cincere Lash) overhelped on Zach and I saw him leaving me, so I cut straight to the basket. Zach knew where I was, so he made the shot easy.”
It was the first close game for Notre Dame in a while, which Raines said will help the Green Knights down the stretch.
“I think it’s a huge win,” Raines said. “I’d rather have a game like this. It’s a learning experience. Hillhouse is a scrappy team and they are tough.”
Jocori Douglas led the way for Hillhouse (9-7) with 13 points, while Tazhon Daniels added 10.
“This was our game to win and we gave it to them,” Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton said. “It was a lack of discipline down the stretch. We’re young and we’re learning as we go.”
Notre Dame-WH 42, Hillhouse 40
A.Roundtree 1 1 0-0 5, J.Douglas 2 3 0-0 13, T. Daniels 2 2 0-0 10, K. Fuller 1 0-0 2, C. Lash 1-2 1, T. Kelley 3 0-0 9 Totals: 16-7-7-10 40
Z. Laput 3 2 1-4 11, C. Raines 2 4-7 8, J. Covington 1 0-0 2, B. Carrol 2 1 1-1 8, J.Kimbro 1 2 1-2 9, K. Hoob 1-2 1 Totals: 8 5 8-18 42
Notre Dame 11 12 2 16 — 42
Hillhouse 6 9 1 2 — 40