CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Defense gave Notre Dame an early lead at home Tuesday night, and it helped them preserve a lead in the final minutes.
In a preview of a potential Class 4 District 1 showdown, the Lady Bulldogs held on to defeat Dexter 60-50.
Defensive pressure from Notre Dame caused problems for the Lady Bearcats in the first quarter. In the first eight minutes, Notre Dame forced seven turnovers and scored several transition buckets to jump out to an 18-10 lead.
After making some offensive adjustments in the second quarter, the Lady Bearcats were able to minimize their turnovers and gain some ground on Notre Dame.
With 1:56 left in the first half, Dexter took a 25-24 lead on a Brittany Harris two-pointer, capping a 5-0 run.
Notre Dame's Allyson Bradshaw, who finished with a game-high 18 points, responded with a 3-pointer. This sparked a 9-0 run for the Lady Bulldogs, which was fueled by solid defense and consistent shooting.
"Our game is built on defense and transition, and fortunately we were able to do that a little bit at the end of the first half," said Notre Dame head coach Renee Peters.
Notre Dame finished the half with a 33-25 lead.
The Lady Bearcats made another run in the third quarter, outscoring Notre Dame 15-11. With one minute left in the period, Dexter's Harris hit a layup to cut Notre Dame's lead to one point, 41-40.
Notre Dame sank a layup, then picked up a quick steal and knocked down one of two free throws to close out the third quarter leading 44-40.
In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame was once again able to use their pressure defense to pull away from the Lady Bearcats.
"We're a pressing team, and we continued to do that," said Peters. "The girls stepped up and did a good job for us."
Dexter committed 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter, giving Notre Dame the opportunity to extend their lead.
"We got wore down a little bit toward the end," said Dexter head coach Chad Allen. "Notre Dame is really deep, and they've got some great players. We just didn't take care of the ball as well as we should've in the fourth quarter."
Despite being given the opportunity to put the game away for good, Notre Dame did not fully take advantage of those chances.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled from both the field and the free throw line in the fourth quarter, missing 7-of-15 attempts from the charity stripe.
Notre Dame had a balanced effort offensively, with four players reaching double-figures. Although they pulled out the win, the Lady Bulldogs struggled from the free throw line throughout the contest, shooting only 53 percent.
Allen was happy with his team's performance, despite the loss.
"I thought we played extremely well tonight, especially here at Notre Dame," Allen said. "It's always a tough place to play."
Dexter was led by senior Abbie Warren, who finished with 17. Harris finished with 11.
Notre Dame improved to 20-4 on the season while Dexter fell to 14-9.
DEXTER (50) -- Katelynn Frazier 6, Lauren Ward 9, Shelbie Hessling 5, Brittany Harris 11, Erika Mouser 2, Abbie Warren 17. FG 19 FT 9-15 F 21. (3-pointers: Ward 1, Warren 2. Fouled out: none.)
NOTRE DAME (60) -- Katherine Blasiney 4, Allyson Bradshaw 18, Jane Morrill 12, Brooke Bohnert 10, Meghan Dohogne 14, Summer Burger 2. FG 21 FT 16-30 F 19. (3-pointers: Bradshaw 2. Fouled out: Dohogne.)