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Notre Dame senior Eddie Sorrano after taking a dive during their game against Benet Academy on Friday, January 4, 2012, in Niles, IL. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media
Notre Dame boys basketball coach Tom Les said he is expecting a big game from senior Eddie Serrano when Nazareth comes to town Friday.
“My guess is, he won’t be happy when he comes to play, and someone will pay for it on Friday,” Les said.
The player’s unhappiness stems from the team’s 42-41 loss to ESCC rival Benet on Friday, which ended with the 6-foot-4 Serrano on the free-throw line with a chance to tie the score with .1 remaining on the clock.
Serrano, who finished with eight points, coolly sank the first foul shot. But, after a timeout, his second free throw hit the back rim and bounced out. The Notre Dame forward buried his head in his jersey as Benet (15-3 overall, 1-0 conference through Friday) celebrated the victory over the Dons (13-2, 1-1).
Though nobody was blaming Serrano for the defeat — the Dons let a 10-point halftime lead slip away — the proud senior said he felt responsible. However, speaking two days after the contest, Serrano also said he quickly realized the event could offer lessons about basketball and life.
“To be honest, it was devastating. I took it pretty hard. (After the game) I was lying on the trainer’s table (in the locker room) and thought I wouldn’t leave the gym,” said Serrano, who said he had rushed his second foul shot. “Everyone was rooting for me, and I let them down. That was really tough for me. But pushing forward, you can’t dwell on failure. You learn from it and must remember to turn it into a positive.”
Serrano said his phone was flooded with messages of encouragement from teammates and classmates after the game. But those who know the Chicago native well said they expect Serrano to bounce back quickly.
“Eddie’s a winner,” Les said. “He’s a competitor. I don’t have to worry about him. When it doesn’t go your way, it’s how you react. He’ll be fine. He’s a good free-throw shooter. He’s a winner. I’ll take him (in that spot) all day.”
Serrano’s mental fortitude is matched by his physical strength and toughness, which is why he’s often asked to guard bigger players. That was the case against Benet when, in the absence of injured 6-6 teammate Justin Halloran, Serrano was tasked with defending Benet’s 6-9 junior Sean O’Mara.
O’Mara was held in check for three quarters, before exploiting a worn down Notre Dame squad for seven fourth-quarter points.
Serrano, who hopes to go to medical school one day, said he’s currently getting some attention from coaches at Division II and III college programs.
Notre Dame teammate Matt Mooney, who has committed to Air Force, said Serrano would be a nice addition to a good college team.
“Eddie is probably our biggest leader in practice and on the floor during games. He hustles and goes all out. We all look to him and take after that,” Mooney said. “He might get overlooked because he doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. But (Serrano) does all the hard work. (College) coaches should take a look at him. I’m not joking about that.” ~.