Lunt helps Raiders overcome sickly week, scores 16 points in hard-fought victory over Madison
QUINCY — Kevin Meyer wasn’t sure what to expect from his Quincy Notre Dame basketball team on the opening night of the KHQA-American Family Insurance Superfan Shootout.
“We were kind of a walking Infirmary for part of the week,” Meyer said of the Raiders’ battle with sickness that spread through the squad.
What Meyer discovered was a team that didn’t seem to have many ill effects as QND (13-8) fought tooth-and-nail to secure a 54-47 victory over Madison on Friday night at The Pit.
As Meyer reflected on the outcome, he couldn’t help but think of Rocky Balboa from the famous “Rocky” films.
“One of his quotes was it’s not necessarily how hard you hit, it’s how hard can you get hit and keep moving forward,” Meyer said.
Barely a minute into the fourth quarter, the Raiders saw their seven-point halftime advantage evaporate as Madison took a 42-41 lead with 6:44 remaining. QND quickly answered with a Noah Lunt basket to take the lead for good.
“I think a month (or) six weeks ago, we probably stopped moving forward,” Meyer said. “I thought tonight we kept pressing, went back and took the lead and kept it from that point.”
Lunt played a key role, finishing with a game-high 16 points, including three baskets down the stretch. Lunt was quick to deflect the credit.
“I think it came from my teammates, who found me in the post,” Lunt said.
Meyer said Lunt’s voice in the huddle during timeouts kept the Raiders together when the wheels seemed close to falling off.
“I thought he put us on his back a couple of times,” Meyer said. “I thought he was phenomenal tonight.”
The Raiders’ defense held an explosive Madison (11-10) squad well below its season-average point total and kept the Trojans’ leading scorer Elijah Williams relatively in check. Williams averages 22 points a game and was limited to 13.
QND has won four games in a row and seems to be hitting its stride with a half-dozen games left in the regular season.
“There’s still another couple of gears that these guys can get to situationally,” Meyer said. “But they’re trending in the right direction. That’s awesome to see this time of the year.”
QND guard Conner Young is confident the upward trend will continue.
“We’re gelling together really well and knowing our roles,” Young said. “We’re finding trust in our stuff, and our stuff is working.”
The Raiders led 20-9 after the first quarter and held the Trojans to only two field goals in the opening eight minutes. However, Madison outscored QND 28-19 in the second and third quarters combined to make it a two-point contest heading to the final quarter. After briefly going in front in the early stages of the final frame, the Trojans could only muster five points over the better part of the last seven minutes of the contest.
Madison had three players finish in double figures. Jamerion Skinner had all 11 of his points in the first half, and Debyron Boyd added 10. For the Raiders, Jace Allensworth had 11 while Beau Eftink scored eight points off the bench and Aidan Klauser had seven.
QND has little time to rejoice. It caps the Superfan Shootout Saturday night against Winchester West Central, ranked fourth in this week’s Class 1A Associated Press poll.
“We’ve got to be ready,” Meyer said. “I think it’s going to be a good matchup and a good test for us.”
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