Stratton reaches 1,000 career points as Notre Dame girls rebound after rare loss
QUINCY — When Sage Stratton dropped through a second-quarter field goal Wednesday night, the game came to an immediate halt.
Public address announcer Frank Cash then informed the crowd at The Pit that Stratton, a junior guard for the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team, had become the 17th player in the long and storied history of the program to reach 1,000 career points.
“I knew I was getting close, but I was not aware that basket (was the one),” Stratton said following QND’s 55-37 victory over Pittsfield. “It feels great.”
The 5-foot-7 Stratton, who finished with 11 points, was one of four Notre Dame players in double figures. She now has 1,006 points for the career.
“Sage’s accomplishment shows just how good of an all-around player she is,” QND coach Eric Orne said. “She’s a dynamic defender for us and also a big scoring option. Plus, she’s a leader.”
While Stratton’s individual achievement trumped the overall night for the Raiders, the victory itself was much needed after what had transpired the night before. QND (23-4) was thumped by crosstown rival Quincy High School 47-24.
“This was a good win after the loss (to QHS),” Stratton said. “We wanted to come out and take charge early against Pittsfield.”
That’s exactly what the Raiders did.
Notre Dame led 34-10 halftime and 43-19 after three quarters. Pittsfield (10-11) rebounded with a strong fourth quarter, scoring 18 points after being held to just 19 over the first three periods.
“Notre Dame’s got a lot of weapons, and we did not handle their defensive pressure well at the beginning,” said Pittsfield coach Matt Henry, whose team outpointed QND 27-21 in the second half.
Jenna Durst, who led the Raiders with 15 points, felt the team’s defense — especially early — was a turning point. QND forced 15 first-half turnovers.
Durst also felt the victory was sorely needed because of the club’s five-games-in-five-days stretch it is in the midst of — particularly after the one-sided setback to QHS.
“We’re staying strong,” Durst said.
Stratton emphasized QND is ready for this demanding week, which includes three more home games starting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against Liberty, then Friday and Saturday dates in the Superfan Shootout at 10th and Jackson.
“It’s nothing new for us,” said Stratton, pointing to similar scheduling challenges QND has faced in recent seasons. “This just helps us get ready for the (postseason) tournament.”
Tristan Pieper (12) and Ari Buehler (10) also scored in double figures for QND. Buehler was the game’s top rebounder with six.
Stratton says the balanced scoring Notre Dame normally displays is no accident.
“There is no selfishness on this team,” she said.
Orne says a balanced scorebook is always the goal at QND.
“That’s what we shoot for, and if we can keep doing this, we’ll be dangerous in the postseason,” he said.
Orne said he is still looking for “32 minutes of consistency.”
“That’s why I was a little disappointed in the way we played in the second half,” he said. “We want to be playing our best ball at this time of the year.”
The home victory for QND followed two losses in its three most-recent dates at The Pit. Before that stretch, the Raiders had won 26 straight games at home.
Freshmen Deeghan Allen (15) and Sophie Gengler (14) combined for 29 points for Pittsfield. They scored 21 of their points in the second half.
Henry said he has been pleased with the development of the two freshmen and pointed to the growing pains the Saukees have experienced. Five of their losses have been by five or fewer points.
“At this point of the season, we just have to try and polish things up,” he said.
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