QND, Unity boys each dominate a half, but Raiders come out on top 78-66


Quincy Notre Dame's Jackson Connoyer drives to the basket for a layup during Tuesday night's high school boys basketball game at the Pit in Quincy. Unity's Melvin McMillen defends on the play. | David Adam

QUINCY — Charles Dickens famously opened his historic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” with the line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 

During the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team’s 78-66 victory over Unity Tuesday night, both coaches felt those emotions — in the opposite order.

In the first half, Kevin Meyer’s Raiders committed just two turnovers with only seven empty possessions on their way to a 44-25 lead. Eleven players got in the game, with 10 entering the scorebook in the opening 16 minutes.

“Value the ball,” Meyer said. “Making sure that you have positive possessions. Playing against teams like Unity, who are pressuring you and being physical, to only have two turnovers is a heck of an accomplishment.”

On the visitor’s bench, Unity coach Keith Carothers saw his team struggle during the first half with QND’s quickness.

“The schedule that we play, we don’t see speed like that all the time,” Carothers said. “I don’t just mean athleticism from individual kids. I mean, as fluid and as fast as they run their offense, we don’t see that.”

Better times happened for Unity in the second half.  The Mustangs buried seven 3-pointers and scored 41 points, eventually cutting the QND lead to six points in the fourth quarter.

“The kids individually made some adjustments,” Carothers said. “Just the way that they approached the game and how they guarded and how they reacted to different things.”

The worst of times for the Raiders came in the second half.

“In the second half, we played perimeter,” Meyer said. “We played pitch and catch. We had wide-open threes, but they weren’t after paint touches where we collapse the defense as we did in the first half.”

“The mindset is, yeah, we will take threes. But what threes? And that’s the catch. Are you mature enough to throw it into the paint and then let it come back out and take that three?”

Both coaches know the key as the postseason nears is to get as close to 32 quality minutes as possible.

“If you’re capable of playing at this level for a half, then you’re capable of doing it for a whole game, so we need to do a better job of that,” Carothers said.

“We don’t have anything easy from here on out,” Meyer added. “You’ve got to start putting some of those wins together. It’s a win of a possession, and then a win with a stop. It’s the wins within the game that will impact what happens on that scoreboard.”

Quincy Notre Dame (14-9) was paced by sophomores Jackson Connoyer with a career-high 16 points and Jace Allensworth with 14 points. Unity (13-12) placed three players in double figures — Melvin McMillen with 25, Ethan Voss with 16 and Cody Shaffer with 15. 

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