Raiders set up showdown with Titans for WCC supremacy by finishing off Rockets
QUINCY — The game featured all the ingredients of a blowout.
The Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team used full-court defensive pressure to hold Rushville-Industry without a field goal attempt during the opening four minutes Saturday night and created more turnovers (11) than points allowed (10) in the first half.
The Raiders stretched their 21-point halftime lead to 24 less than three minutes into the second half and must have had visions of a running clock dancing in their heads.
Only it took them longer than expected to put away the Rockets.
Down 38-14 with a little more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Rushville-Industry rattled off 13 consecutive points and eventually narrowed the deficit to nine early in the final period before QND finally pulled away for a 61-45 victory Saturday night in The Pit.
With the win, their seventh in eight games, the Raiders improved to 16-9 overall and 7-1 in West Central Conference play. If they can topple West Hancock, which is unbeaten in WCC play, on the road Tuesday night, they will guarantee themselves at least a share of the league championship.
However, QND players were not in a celebratory mood after the tougher-than-expected contest.
“First half, we got it where we wanted it and the second half we came out way too flat and now we’re kind of frustrated,” senior guard Aden Genenbacher said. “We’ve got a day off (Sunday) to help get our minds right. Obviously, we can’t be doing this against West Hancock.”
Despite misfiring on eight of their first 12 shots, including all four 3-point tries, the Raiders bolted to a 10-0 lead on the strength of their defense and strong work on the boards that created second-chance opportunities.
It took the Rockets nearly four minutes to get off their first shot after turning the ball over five times, and another minute before forward Bennett Fretueg finally ended their scoring drought, the only basket they recorded in the opening period.
QND led 21-2 two minutes into the second quarter and were ahead 31-10 at halftime.
“We walked in at halftime, and we only gave up 10 points and the bulk of those (5) are from the free-throw line,” Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. “We were feeling pretty good about that.
“But then I think we got a little complacent in the third quarter. Our shot selection was good. The guys were in rhythm, and we got point-blank shots, but it felt like there was a lid on the basket. The shots just didn’t fall for us and did for them.”
QND led 38-14 after two free throws from Aiden Klauser with 5:16 to go in the third quarter. That’s when the 6-foot-1 Fretueg went to work.
His free throw, a putback of his own missed shot and a 3-pointer from the top of the circle made it 38-20. Another 3-pointer by reserve Rylan Reimolds, a transition layup by Reed Fretueg and two free throws by Carter Fretueg capped a 13-0 run to make it 38-27 with 1:21 to go in the quarter.
An inside bucket by Jace Allensworth with 8.7 seconds left, the only field goal the Raiders registered in the final seven and a half minutes, pushed the advantage to 40-27.
“They get any bucket they wanted, and we just couldn’t find any on the offensive end,” Genenbacher said of the scoring drought which witnessed QND miss nine straight field goal tries.
Rushville-Industry pulled within 42-33 when Bennett Fretueg grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 6:32 to play. He scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half but missed the free throw after being fouled on the play.
After the teams traded turnovers, Genenbacher scored on an inbound play under his own basket and sank a free throw. Nine seconds later, Allensworth stole the ball near midcourt and drove for a layup to put the Raiders on top 47-33.
The Rockets (9-15, 2-6 WCC) managed to stay within 11 points until Noah Lunt tipped in an errant shot and put back his own miss on consecutive possessions, and Klauser turned a turnover into a layup.
Rushville-Industry, which finished with nearly as many turnovers (24) as field goal attempts (26), managed just six free throws during the final three and a half minutes. The Rockets made just 12 field goals and went 17 for 28 from the free-throw line overall.
Genenbacher and Allensworth finished with 12 points apiece for the Raiders, who went 24 for 56 from the floor and 5 of 18 from 3-point range and turned the ball over just eight times.
“It’s the time of year when you still celebrate wins while still fighting to get better,” Meyer said. “We’ve talked about being able to play meaningful ballgames at the end of the season. This game was meaningful because if we don’t take care of business, then we don’t get to go compete Tuesday night against the No. 1 seed in our regional on their floor in a playoff atmosphere for a conference championship.”
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