SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — The Spartans lost twice to Tri-Valley during the regular season.


With their season on the line, they didn’t allow the Bulldogs a third victory.


Shawn Seay scored a career-high 29 points while teammates Aaron Bailey and Trevor Hardy each added 14 points to lead No. 3 Notre Dame East Stroudsburg to a 67-50 victory over No. 2 Tri-Valley in the District 11 Class 1A boys basketball semifinal at Blue Mountain High School on Wednesday night.


The Spartans advance to Saturday’s title game against No. 1 Nativity BVM, which defeated No. 5 Lincoln Leadership Academy 58-38 in the second semifinal, at a time and location to be determined.


Notre Dame ES (12-12) was stout defensively, where it struggled in the first meetings against the Bulldogs. Its defense proved strongest when it mattered, closing the game on a 10-1 run over the final four minutes.


“I’m just happy for the kids,” Spartan coach Bob Mullen said. “They beat us twice. They had a lot of seniors out there. Our kids just played really hard defensively.”


The Spartans also limited their first-half turnovers. After combining for 19 first-half turnovers in the first two contests – nine and 10 respectively – Notre Dame had only two on Wednesday night.


“We talked about no turnovers and playing better defense, and we did,” Mullen said.


Both Mullen and assistant coach Mark Allison praised the team’s collective effort. Seven players scored, including two critical 3-pointers by sophomore Josh Quijada midway through the fourth quarter that helped the Spartans maintain a double-digit lead.


“Everybody contributed to this,” Allison said. “Guys off the bench, everything. It was everybody. It was a team win, no doubt about it.”


While Seay impressed with his offense, showing his abilities to drive to the net, shoot from the outside and hit eight of nine free throws, the defense remained the focus entering this contest.


“The two weeks after the regular season, we’ve been stressing defense in practice a lot because we felt that that’s we needed to improve the most to get ourselves to the championship game,” Allison said.


Bailey, the team’s leading scorer statistically with 21 points per game, was a key part in last season’s run to a district championship. While he took an offensive backseat to Seay Wednesday – due more in part to missed opportunities than lack of chances – he was thrilled to spread the ball around and watch his teammates nail the shots he knows they can.


“Our team is full of scorers, and I don’t think all of the teams really know that,” Bailey said. “And we know we can spread the ball, move the ball and just get easy buckets and easy shots.”


The focus on making stops won’t change heading into Saturday’s championship game.


“Coach always says defense wins championships, so that’s how we’re going to come out,” Bailey said.


District 11 Class 1A Boys Basketball Semifinal


No. 3 Notre Dame ES 67, No. 2 Tri-Valley 50


NDES 12 23 12 20 - 67


Tri-Valley 11 16 14 9 - 50


NDES 67


Natale 1 0-0 3, Torres 0 0-0 0, Saicharoen 0 2-2 2, Seay 10 8-9 29, Quijada 2 0-0 6, Bailey 5 3-11 14, Hardy 4 2-4 14, Medina 0 0-0 0, Wolf 0 1-2 1. Totals: 22 16-28 67.


Tri-Valley 50


Smith 2 0-1 6, Umbenhauer 0 0-0 0, T. McGrath 1 1-2 3, Flary 0 0-0 0, Ace 1 0-2 2, Ney 2 3-5 7, Kroh 0 0-0 0, C. Deeter 3 6-9 12, K. Deeter 6 3-7 17, Bowman 0 1-2 1, J. McGrath 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 14-30 50.