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Notre Dame's Title Hopes Dwindle

February 10, 1988|JIM COLEMAN

After their team's rendition of "The Quarter" had all but destroyed the legend of "The Barn," Loyola High fans broke into "The Chant" Tuesday night at Notre Dame.

We own the Del Rey! We own the Del Rey! We own the Del Rey!

Who could argue?

Loyola secured no worse than a tie for the Del Rey League title Tuesday night, whipping Notre Dame, 84-69, at the Knights' dome of doom, affectionately dubbed "The Barn" by the home fans.

It was Loyola's first basketball championship in 10 years and, along with its football title last November, gives the Cubs Del Rey titles in two major sports.

Loyola (18-5, 9-2 in league play) subdued the Knights and their rowdy crowd by hitting 12 of 15 shots in the third period to stretch a 39-34 halftime advantage to 64-54 entering the fourth quarter.

The Knights' pressure defense forced eight Cub turnovers in the fourth period, but Notre Dame hit just 6 of 20 shots and never drew closer than eight points.

"To shoot 80% in a quarter of a championship basketball game is unreal," Notre Dame Coach Mick Cady said. "You've got to give them credit. They came into our gym, shut our crowd down, played a helluva basketball game, and won a championship."

Notre Dame (13-9, 9-3), which moves to the San Fernando Valley League next season, still has an outside chance at a share of the Del Rey championship if Alemany can upset the Cubs on Friday at Loyola.

Notre Dame led, 18-16, after one period as guard Brian Jones scored 14 of his 21 points, but the Knights converted just 5 of 16 shots in the second quarter to fall behind by five at intermission.

Notre Dame drew as close as 70-62 with 5:20 to play, but Loyola made 13 of 15 free throws in the fourth period.

Kenny Hicks led the Knights with 22 points, and Dave Fonseca added 11. George Jones had game highs of 24 points and 9 rebounds for Loyola.

Cady praised his team for the way it banded together after leading scorer Bruce Heicke went down three weeks ago with an ankle injury.

"After we lost Bruce we could have said 'That's the season,' " Cady said. "But to have the opportunity to play Loyola for the championship is a credit to our players."

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