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Friday, March 7, 2008

Notre Dame moves on

One of the incredible atmospheres of the entire boys' basketball season is gone until next year, but the student section at Notre Dame-West Haven literally lifted the Green Knights into the Class LL state tournament quarterfinals. Notre Dame prevailed 81-71 over Holy Cross-Waterbury.
Of course, Notre Dame center Greg Mangano had plenty to do with the win: a career-high 43 points in his final home game, along with 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. He made all kind of shots against the Crusaders' over-matched defense.
I'm getting goose pimples as I write this next part becuse it is the true beauty of what a home-court advantage should be all about: the student section bum-rushing an exhausted Mangano, with hands high over head, mere moments after the game ended. It was a sight I cannot do justice writing here, but if you were there, you would understand.
And this is coming from someone who picked Holy Cross to win before the tournament started.
Now Notre Dame gets to take on another group of Crusaders - Trinity Catholic - Monday night at Fairfield Ludlowe. Trinity is the better team, but Notre Dame has made a believer out of me. This will be a ball game in the fourth quarter. The matchup between Mangano and Trinity's Tevin Baskin is really intriguing.
Oh, and by the way: veteran Notre Dame head coach Gary Palladino is going for career victory No. 500.

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