Tide turns on technical as QND uses late first-half boost to carry it to victory

QND blue

QUINCY — Floundering and frustrated, the Quincy Notre Dame basketball team was in desperate search of a second quarter spark during Saturday night’s affair with Beardstown at The Pit.

The Raiders found the flare from their opponent.

With less than three minutes left before halftime and staring down a double-digit deficit, QND forward Jackson Meyer was whistled for a seemingly harmless offensive foul on Beardstown’s Exauce Mulumba underneath the Tigers’ basket. However, Mulumba motioned toward Meyer and was whistled for a technical foul for taunting.

QND’s Ty Bozarth made the two technical free throws, which seemed to electrify a rather flat Raider team.

“I do think that kind of energized us a little bit,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said.

The Raiders went on to finish the first half on a 10-1 run and trailed 24-23 at halftime. QND carried that momentum into the second half to pull out a 65-52 win.

“We needed to pick it up,” Raiders guard Jace Allensworth said of the first-half struggles. “We came out (in the second half) and punched them in the mouth and took the lead.”

Allensworth played a key role in denying Beardstown’s upset bid on the road. The sophomore guard had a career-high 27 points.

“My teammates trust me,” Allensworth said. “When we need to get shots they try to find me.”

Allensworth was the lone Raider to finish in double figures.

“He’s a special kid,” Meyer said. “I think that he’s embracing his role. He and Aden (Genenbacher) are kind of the guys that we look for from a perimeter standpoint. We put the ball in his hands a lot and he made good decisions.”

Collectively, the Raiders (10-8) made their best statement on the defensive end. But it took longer for QND to lock in defensively. Meyer admitted the effort in the first half was far from what he expects from a consistent start-to-finish standpoint.

“Honestly, I thought we did a disservice to Beardstown starting out,” Meyer said. “We talked a lot about their athleticism, but they brought the fight. They really got physical and we kind of shied away from them for a little while. At halftime, we had to talk about going out and playing hard.”

QND forward Aidan Klauser, a standout wide receiver and defensive back for the Raiders football team last fall, wasn’t going to back down.

“Personally, I love it. It’s more of a fun game when it’s physical,” said Klauser, who added nine points.

The Raiders now turn their attention to finding a way to put 32 minutes of quality basketball together. In Friday’s loss to Principia (Mo.), QND was down 20 points at halftime and again got off to a slow start one night later.

“Maybe don’t wait too darn long to find the flow of the game and get engaged,” Meyer said. “Expect the worst, prepare for it, and then play with what you get out of it. Tonight we figured out we could compete against that toughness and then it steamrolled.”

Klauser simplified the mentality the Raiders need from the outset.

“You just got to be ready from the jump ball,” Klauser said. “You got to throw the first punch. If you don’t throw the first punch, you got to take one, and just be ready to bounce back.”

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