Turnovers, miscues leave QND boys basketball team with empty feeling after quarterfinal loss

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A game of chase morphed into a game of giveaway Wednesday night.

After opening the State Farm Holiday Classic with an aggressive, transition-based effort offensively that led to its highest scoring game of the season, the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team allowed two many empty possessions to derail it in a 65-51 loss to Rockford Lutheran.

The Raiders committed 22 turnovers, five of those coming in the first four minutes of the second quarter when the deficit grew to double digits.

“Lutheran did a really good job of disrupting us, and we were altering shots thinking we were going to get fouled,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said. “They’re so quick. Even when we thought we had an opening, it closed really quick.”

QND (6-5) will face El Paso-Gridley at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the fifth-place bracket. The winner plays for fifth place at 7 p.m., while the loser plays for seventh place at 8 p.m.

“We came up here to play really good competition, and we still get that,” Meyer said. “But can we win in the afternoon? We have to win that first game to get the taste out of our mouth and give us a chance to go 3-1. That’s the tough one. We have to be prepared for that one.”

Minonk Fieldcrest and Kankakee Bishop McNamara await on the other side of the bracket.

“The winner’s bracket was loaded,” Meyer said. “There were seven teams that legitimately felt they had a chance to win a gold ball going into today.”

The Raiders were one of those teams, but the inability to string stops together consecutive stops or consecutive field goals proved to be their undoing.

Despite falling behind 25-15 in the second quarter, QND chiseled the deficit to five points when Aden Genenbacher made a 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:20 to go in the half. But Lutheran answered as Vontez Dent hit a 3-pointer on the next possession.

“We get stops, but then we don’t score,” Meyer said. “When we scored, we didn’t get stops. It was the perfect storm of those two things not gelling together.”

Although the Crusaders didn’t take full advantage of the Raiders’ miscues — Lutheran scored just 13 points off QND’s 22 turnovers — those were possessions without a chance to score or create momentum.

“You know you left a lot of points on the table,” Meyer said.

Not even a spirited start to the second half in which the Raiders allowed just two points in the first four minutes was enough to overcome it.

“I thought we played really hard in the third quarter,” Meyer said. “We got down and started chasing, and they are so darn athletic that their transition game kicked back in. That was the difference in the ballgame.”

Jackson Stratton and Alex Connoyer led the Raiders with 14 points apiece, while Dent had 21 points as the Crusaders finished with four players in double figures.

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