Opening possession of second half sets tone for Panthers to pull away from Raiders

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QUINCY — Having chiseled a 10-point deficit down to two over the final 3 minutes, 45 seconds of the first half Friday night, the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team had a simple plan of attack for the start of the second half and keep the momentum rolling.

“We said, ‘OK, go out and get three stops,’” Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said.

Camp Point Central didn’t let QND get one..

On the first possession of the second half, the Panthers burned 45 seconds off the clock before Dean Hibbert buried a 3-pointer to kickstart a 10-2 run that ultimately carried Central to a 52-33 victory in West Central Conference play at The Pit.

“I thought we were really engaged defensively,” Meyer said. “We worked really, really hard and then they got that basket. And now all of a sudden, dang it, we’re down five and then things just start steamrolling.”

That’s because Central put the clamps on QND defensively, mixing half-court and full-court with a hybrid of a zone defense and man-to-man defense.

“Yeah, we’re mixing it up,” Central junior guard Nick Moore said. “We’re trying to keep the other team guessing. … It’s different. No other team really runs it. We have a lot of athletic guys. We can switch, bump, move, anything.”

After Tuesday’s victory against Western, despite it being the Panthers’ fifth straight win, they decided to change their identity defensively.

“We’d been pressing a lot early and we just didn’t feel like that was working for us,” Central coach James Barnett said. “So, you know, we started making some adjustments tonight. And we’re still learning, But you know tonight’s a big step in the right direction.”

The Panthers (6-1) held the Raiders (4-3)  to just 13 field goals and no 3-pointers. QND scored just 13 second-half points with a single field goal in the fourth quarter. Just two Raiders scored in the second half.

Jackson Stratton led the Raiders with 13 points, while Aiden Klauser had 12 points off the bench.

Central’s versatility defensively confounded QND.

“That’s why we’ve gone to that bump/switching type of defense,” Barnett said. “Because we do (have versatility). We’ve got five guys that can get out and guard.”

The Panthers also possess a balanced attack offensively. Moore scored 13 points, while senior Isaac Genenbacher had 12 while Drew Paben, a junior, chipped in 10 off the bench. 

“That’s one thing we really try and focus on,” Genenbacher said. “It’s not about each one of us. It’s about the team.”

Central plays Madison at the Rumble on the River at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at John Wood Community College’s Student Activity Center, while QND heads across town to face Quincy High School at 7 p.m. at Blue Devil Gym.

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