Tom Agan worked hard to get easy baskets.
Notre Dame’s 6-foot-5 senior forward scored 24 points, most of them within a few feet of the basket, to lead the Crusaders past Susquehanna Valley 65-48 in a nonleague boys basketball game Friday night at Notre Dame High.
Agan had 11 points in the first quarter and 17 at halftime, helping the Crusaders to a 33-16 lead at intermission. He, Nate Niles and Darius Garvin also did a strong job on the defensive boards, holding the Sabers to one shot on most of their possessions.
“When we rebound and make our outside shots, it makes it easier down low,” said Agan, who struggled late in the game with a sore toe.
Niles, a 6-4 senior, was Notre Dame’s top rebounder with seven, followed by Agan’s six. Niles also produced 14 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers.
Crusaders coach Bill Hopkins pointed to his two big men as the keys.
“Tom Agan is a great finisher on the glass. He made them pay for pressing us,” he said. “Nate Niles gave us a 1-2 punch.”
Notre Dame (7-1) scored 10 straight points in a span of less than four minutes of the first quarter to turn a 6-6 tie into a 16-6 advantage.
The Crusaders continued extending the lead through the second and third quarters, going up 56-31 heading into the final period.
Susquehanna Valley (5-2) came out on a tear in the fourth, scoring the first nine points on three 3-pointers.
Sophomore guard David Matthews had two of those treys and later made a wild scoop shot that pulled the Sabers to 56-42 with 5 minutes, 10 seconds left to play. But he was injured near his own basket a short while later and did not return, finishing with 18 points.
“They like to play fast,” Hopkins said. “(Jason) Fiorentino and Matthews are good guards.”
Susquehanna Valley coach Mark Ward was also impressed with Notre Dame’s backcourt.
“They get good guard play and they have bigs,” he said. “I know they compete in the IAC. They’re good enough to play in the STAC.”
Ward attributed the Sabers’ slow offensive start to lack of practice and playing time because of the holiday break.
He did like the way his team limited the high-scoring Garvin to nine points.
But the 6-2 senior guard contributed in other ways, collecting three assists and three blocked shots.