Raiders learn lesson, rally to edge Keokuk in overtime in regular season finale
KEOKUK, Iowa — A trip to Wright Fieldhouse in Keokuk and a 69-65 overtime victory provided the Quincy Notre Dame Raiders boys basketball team with an important lesson with postseason play starting.
“One thing we learned is that you can’t come out flat starting tomorrow,” Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. “You’ve got to come out right from the start, because if you don’t, then you’re going to be going home.”
With the score tied at 24 with 4:37 to go in the second quarter, Keokuk scored the next 12 points to build a 36-24 halftime lead.
“We came out flat in the first half.” QND senior Alex Connoyer said. “Then we talked about climbing in on defense and getting stops. We really we did that somewhat in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, our press really ramped it up.”
QND held the Chiefs scoreless on their first five possessions of the third quarter but couldn’t take advantage, trailing 46-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Meyer made a slight adjustment to the Raiders’ full-court press, and the momentum slowing started turning the Raiders way.
“Aiden Klauser and Braden Sheffield did a heck of a job at the front of the press, creating a bunch of issues,” Meyer said. “Then you had Wally (6-foot-8 senior Jakeb Wallingford) protecting the basket. We were able to get some steals and get some baskets to close that thing up and finally take a lead.”
Klauser provided the Raiders their first lead of the game at 55-54 with a three-point play at the 2:22 mark of the fourth quarter. QND built the lead to three, but Keokuk sophomore Blake Chase nailed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to play to send the game to overtime
Sheffield opened overtime hitting a 3-pointer. Connoyer and Wallingford added baskets on back-to-back possessions to push QND to the victory.
The Raiders (21-8) played with the shot clock for the first time in school history. Meyer felt it was to the Raiders’ advantage down the stretch.
“It gave us more possessions in the fourth quarter,” Meyer said. “If (Keokuk coach Zach Summers is) able to milk it down and run some stuff, then chances of coming back are tougher.”
The Chiefs (7-15) were led by sophomore Brenton Hoard with 30 points. Wallingford paced a balanced QND attack with 17 points. Sheffield added 15 and Connoyer chipped in 14.
The Raiders enter next week’s Class 2A Regional at The Pit with nine consecutive victories. However, when QND hits the court Wednesday night, records go out the window.
“We know that every team is now zero and zero,” Wallingford said. “We know if we have a mess-up like tonight and we’re not able to come back, then it’s over. So, we’ll be ready.”
Meyer can’t wait.
“We’re battle tested. I like what we’re doing,” he said. “We needed some tests at the end of the season, and we got those, and we got through him. I think the guys are ready.”
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