No. 7 Notre Dame-West Haven rallies to beat East Lyme 64-61

East Lyme — Connor Raines flashed a wry grin at the question, knowing he really couldn't answer it.

Raines, the senior from Notre Dame of West Haven headed to Division I Texas Rio Grande Valley next year, was asked to describe the foul call that sent him to the free throw line Saturday night with a few seconds remaining in a tie game.

"I can't complain," Raines said, chuckling, after his two free throws gave the No. 7 Green Knights the lead for good, during their 64-61 win over East Lyme, a game that felt like it belonged in March, not December.

East Lyme's Luke Leonard was called for a touch foul about 70 feet from the basket, causing come uproar in East Lyme's packed gym. It was Leonard's fifth foul.

East Lyme coach Jeff Bernardi, asked to comment on the foul call, said, "next question."

The call ended a wild night, during which East Lyme senior Dev Ostrowski scored 37 points, held Raines to nine, but still watched as his team blew a 15-point lead.

The Vikings led 44-29 early in the third period before Notre Dame used a 24-1 run to take an eight-point lead by the fourth period. East Lyme rallied to take the lead late, fell behind and tied the game with four seconds left on Ostrowski's runner in the lane.

"Dev is a really close friend and a fantastic player," Raines said. "East Lyme has a great team. The ECC is going to be dangerous."

Jaiden Kimbro led Notre Dame with 23 points while Leonard finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Vikings and Ostrowski added five rebounds and four assists.

"We scheduled a game like this to keep the kids focused in the preseason," Bernardi said. "Connor Raines is a tremendous player and I thought Dev did a tremendous job guarding him. We talk about Dev being an elite scorer, but one of the focuses this year is for him to be an elite defender."

Notre Dame used a box-and-one in the second half to slow Ostrowski, who had 25 points by halftime. His momentary drought allowed the Knights, coached by Connecticut College grad Jason Shea, to rally.

"Notre Dame's length really bothered us," Bernardi said. "It looked like a hybrid box-and-one and man to man. The length bothered our guards, who are short. They got a lot of deflections."

Bernardi knows Ostrowski's teammates must do more scoring as the season progresses, especially when the plan is to have Ostrowski guard the other's team's best player.

"I expect that they will step up," Bernardi said. "They showed it in preseason."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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