QND girls dominate final three quarters 43-9 to blow out defending Class 1A state champions
QUINCY — No rest for the weary?
Well, there is a bit of a respite now for the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team.
The Raiders completed a grueling five-games-in-five days sojourn with a dominating 52-25 victory Saturday night at The Pit over defending Class 1A state champ Okawville during the American Family Insurance-KHQA Superfan Shootout.
“After a long week, it’s nice to know we now have a couple of days off,” said QND coach Eric Orne, whose No. 4-ranked Class 3A club outscored Okawville 43-9 over the final three quarters and held heralded guard Alayna Kraus to 8 points — about 13 below her average and all in the first half.
Notre Dame (25-4) completed its week 4-1, running off consecutive victories against Pittsfield (55-37), Liberty (65-23) Clopton (45-39) and Okawville after losing to crosstown rival Quincy (47-24) on Tuesday.
“I felt a little fatigued (against Okawville), but we knew we had to keep pushing,” QND guard Sage Stratton said. “We knew we had two days off coming up.”
Orne had nothing but praise for his team — especially Stratton — after it dispatched Okawville (17-10), which came into the Shootout with four losses in its six games. However it had a combined four victories in six tries against teams from the rugged Southwestern and Mississippi Valley conferences, two of the strongest large-school leagues in the Metro East area.
“I can’t say enough about the defensive job Sage did on Kraus,” Orne said. “That was a Division I defensive effort. What (Sage) did was amazing. I don’t think Krause has been held out of double figures all season.”
Stratton, who also scored 10 points, was more than up for the challenge. Kraus entered the game averaging 21.4 points per game and has received interest from several NCAA Division I schools such as Pepperdine and Oral Roberts.
“We worked our rear ends off on defense,” Stratton said. “We knew this was going to be an extra hard (assignment) on defense.”
Kraus scored six of her points in the first quarter when Okawville burst to a 16-9 lead, but the Rockets never scored more than five points in any of the remaining three periods. QND led 24-18 at the half and 37-23 after three quarters.
Jenna Durst (16) and Tristan Pieper (13) combined for 29 points for the Raiders and outscored Okawville by themselves. Pieper led all rebounders with 8.
Stratton (12.8 points per game), Pieper (10.6) and Durst (10.2) all averaged in double figures this week for a QND lineup that produced a combined 10 double-figure performances across those five games.
Durst, one of five underclassmen who start for QND, said she is feeling more comfortable in her role as the season unfolds.
“I’m getting more and more confident,” said Durst, who scored QND’s first seven points. “I appreciate the confidence coach Orne and my teammates have shown in me.”
Durst has evolved from a pass-first approach to being more willing to shoot the ball — especially from 3-point range — as the season has progressed.
“Jenna has worked hard to get to this level of success,” Orne said.
Pieper said QND did not panic when it got off to a relatively slow start.
“We kept our composure,” she said. “In the second quarter, I think we could feel the momentum changing, and that was because of our defense. We were able to make a run, and a lot of that was because of the turnovers our defense was forcing.”
Notre Dame turned the game into a rout in the second half by forcing 11 Okawville turnovers and outscoring the Rockets 28-7 over the closing 16 minutes.
Orne also lauded the work of point guard Ari Buehler, who scored seven points — five in the second quarter when QND began to assume control.
“Early in the game, I didn’t think we were doing a good job on offense,” Orne said. “But then we started attacking them, and Ari deserves a lot of the credit for that.”
Orne said he entered the game with a lot of positive vibes.
“I had a good feeling,” he said. “The girls had a lot of bounce in their step going into this game. They take a lot of pride in the way they play.”
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