Schreacke, Raiders return to action with vengeance, topple another state-ranked foe

PAWS Schreacke 1

Quincy Notre Dame senior guard Abbey Schreacke attacks the basket during the first half of Saturday's game against Okawville in the Breese Central PAWS Shootout at Stan Eagleson Gym in Breese, Ill. | Photo courtesy Jeremy Chawgo

BREESE, Ill. — Rebounding for his all-state guard while she shot around at The Pit on Friday, Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball coach Eric Orne noticed something a little different.

Abbey Schreacke got her groove back.

Not that she ever truly lost it, but playing 14 games in the first 21 days of December had taken a toll. Going more than two weeks without playing a game was an injection of life.

“I think it rejuvenated her a little bit,” Orne said. “She kind of found her form again. You could tell she was on full go again. It’s a long season, and she’s been through a lot. Defenses are grabbing her and making life tough on her. She needed the break.”

Saturday, a rested-and-ready Schreacke enjoyed another record-setting moment.

The 6-foot senior scored 16 of the Raiders’ first 20 points and she finished with 32 points — a single-game record for the Breese Central PAWS Shootout, which is in its fourth year at Stan Eagleson Gym — in a 61-54 victory over Okawville, ranked third in the latest Class 1A state poll.

This was the first game for the Raiders, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A with an 18-1 record now, since beating St. Louis Cardinal Ritter 47-43 in the Rumble on the River on December 21.

“It felt great to be back on the court again,” Schreacke said. “We are off to a good start in the new year. It was nice to see how all of our sets worked against other opponents other than our own team at practice.”

Schreacke, the reigning Champaign News-Gazette state player of the year and the leading scorer in QND history, made her first seven shots to give the Raiders a 20-14 first-quarter lead. In fact, Schreacke’s first miss didn’t come until the second quarter.

Obviously, the break benefitted her game, but she was in the gym quite a bit during the two-week stretch.

“Not quite every day but pretty close,” Schreacke said. “If I wasn’t shooting, then I was lifting. I’m fortunate to have a selfless coach in Orne that is willing to open the gym for me in the mornings. I took some time to enjoy my holidays of course, too.”

With the holidays over, the focus becomes basketball and the pursuit of back-to-back state championships.

The manner in which the Raiders began the second half suggests that run is ready to roll. 

Sage Stratton and Blair Eftink made back-to-back 3-pointers, and Schreacke blocked an Okawville shot and then scored on a left-handed layin, forcing the Rockets to burn a timeout just 1:21 into the second half.

“I really thought we were in a good groove there,” Orne said.

Defensively, the Raiders had to contend with Okawville’s talented backcourt duo of Alayna Kraus and Briley Rhodes, but Orne complimented the effort of Stratton and Ari Buehler to kept the Rockets’ tandem in check.

“It wasn’t easy at times for them,” Orne said. “In the end, they locked down on (Kraus and Rhodes) when they needed to.”

Their reward is the chance to finally play at home in succession. The Raiders face Rochester at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Pit, the first of five consecutive home games. QND plays 10 of its final 11 regular-season games at The Pit with the other being played at Quincy High School on January 31.

“I’m super excited for this last stretch of home games,” Schreacke said. “It’s special to me to spend my last games ever at the Pit. The team always has a great time in our environment, and we are looking forward to putting on a good show for our home crowd.”

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