Strong finish to second quarter propels Quincy Notre Dame boys to easy victory at home


Junior guard Alex Dance was one of five Quincy Notre Dame players to score at least nine points in Thursday night's victory over Western. | MRN File Photo

QUINCY — The lead was in double digits ,but as the second quarter neared an end in Thursday night’s home tilt with Western, Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball coach Kevin Meyer wasn’t exactly comfortable.

“We had to challenge them a little bit during one of (Western’s) timeouts and tell them, ‘You’ve got to match their energy and go out and play,’” Meyer said.

The Raiders (12-8) answered the call, closing the first half on a 10-1 run to turn a 10-point advantage into a 43-24 lead at halftime. They carried the momentum into the second half and rolled to a 77-40 at The Pit, earning their third consecutive win.

“I thought that was a turning point for us,” Meyer said. “We finally took the fight to them.

“I thought things clicked tonight. We knocked down some big shots and got a lot of paint  touches.”

The Raiders, coming off a 51-41 victory at Illini West on Tuesday, had one of their best offensive games this season, especially from beyond the arc. They made 12 three-pointers, including five three-point field goals in the first quarter. Eight different QND players connected on at least one trey.

“We were focusing on getting paint touches, playing in and out, and not just passing around the perimeter, to get better looks,” said QND guard Ty Bozarth, who made three triples.

Every active QND player got in the scoring column except senior Jackson Meyer. The roars of the Raiders faithful, most notably the student section, hit their peak when fan favorites John Damm and Joe Warning scored points in the final minutes.

“That was awesome to see everyone kind of getting involved tonight,” said QND guard Alex Dance, who returned to the starting lineup in place of Conner Young (illness). “We shared the ball really well.”

As positive as the outcome was, it came at a cost. Aden Genenbacher, QND senior guard and second-leading scorer, injured his ankle in the second quarter and did not play in the second half. Meyer wasn’t sure of the injury’s severity and hopes a break in the schedule (the Raiders don’t play again until Feb. 2) is enough time for Genenbacher to heal.

“That’s tough to see. He’s just a great kid,” Meyer said. “We’ve just got to keep him in our prayers and make sure that he’s going to get healthy and bounce back pretty quickly.”

Beau Eftink led QND with 12 points off the bench, Jace Allensworth had 11 points, Noah Lunt tacked on 10, and Dance and Bozarth contributed nine points apiece. Western’s Mason Smith had a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the first half, while Jedd Abney added 12 for the Wildcats.

Meyer said he will to give his team a brief break since it will be eight days before their next game. The Raiders will play host to Madison and Winchester West Central (ranked No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press Class 1A poll) at next weekend’s KHQA-American Family Insurance Superfan Shootout.

“We’ve got to put a run together, because the next time we play is February and we want to be playing in March,” Meyer said. “You’ve got to play well in February to get ready to play in March.” 

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