Notre Dame had a mostly up-and-down season until the middle of the year, when it won 10 of its last 13 games. The Fighting Irish lost their sectional title game but went on the road and won in the regional co-final at Moorefield to advance to Charleston.
Cal Cistaro, a 6-4 junior forward, leads Notre Dame with 19 points and 11 rebounds per game while 5-8 junior guard Justin Goff averages 13 points, three assists and three steals and 5-8 junior guard Kolby Abruzzino contributes 12 points and three steals per contest. Drew Ridgway, a 6-4 senior forward, chips in 8 points, four rebounds and four assists.
"You start with their coach Jarrod West, who played at West Virginia,'' said Thompson. "He's played at the highest level of basketball there is. They've got two 6-foot-4 guys that can step out and hit the 3.
"They wouldn't be here without earning the right. It's not out of the realm that they can't beat us. I worry if they go zone a little bit on us and how we react and if we struggle shooting the basketball. We'll try to do what we do and that's press, man-to-man and speed them up a little bit and get some turnovers.''
Thompson said participating in the 100th boys tournament carries extra meaning.
"I was an assistant with Williamson when Curt [Fletcher] won it all in 2001,'' said the Tug coach. "It is a big deal. It's the time of year everybody goes to Charleston. The state tournament in West Virginia is like miner's vacation.
"They'll be plenty of people from Mingo County. Go in and soak it up. Play as hard as you can and hopefully you'll get a deflection, somebody kicks [the ball] out of bounds and you get a break.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.