By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Dec. 22, 2019 12:01 am
It never reached the point of panic, but the Quincy High School boys basketball team found itself on the edge of concern as its lead and the minutes remaining in the fourth quarter dwindled.
Time ran out before the advantage ever did.
Quincy Notre Dame chiseled a 20-point halftime deficit to just five in the waning seconds of Saturday’s crosstown showdown at the Pit before QHS senior point guard Lucas Reis corralled a defensive rebound with five seconds to play and ran out the clock on a 55-50 victory.
“I didn’t get nervous because I could see it out on the floor how we were coming together through that time,” Reis said. “We were talking, and we know we have a lot of things to fix offensively and defensively, but we came together to finish the job.”
It gave the Blue Devils their fifth straight victory in the city series and improved their all-time record against the Raiders to 50-5.
“I feel like this brought us closer together,” QHS sophomore swingman Jeremiah Talton said. “Because of that, in late games, we can play better and do the things we need to do.”
However, this was the first time since the series was renewed in 2015 the Blue Devils had to sort of sweat it out. The five-point margin of victory is the smallest in the last five meetings and one of only two matchups decided by single digits.
“It wasn’t one of those losses where you’re sad after,” QND junior forward Jack Marth said. “It’s something we feel we can build on. It’s a confidence booster heading into (the State Farm Holiday Classic).”
The first half didn’t mirror that.
Marth hit a 15-foot jumper to tie the game at 2 roughly 80 seconds into the game, but the Raiders (2-5) didn’t make another field goal until Grant Hyer, who had 12 points and five assists while playing on a sprained ankle, scored in the paint with 4:06 to play in the first half. In the 101/2 minutes before baskets, QND was outscored 23-5, missed six shots and committed eight turnovers.
“We were just rushing things,” said Marth, who had 10 points and four rebounds. “Their zone was a little too much for us. We were able to slow things down in the second half and get better looks.”
It was a 33-13 deficit not just because the Raiders went 3 of 17 from the field in the first half, but the Blue Devils were dynamic offensively. They jumped ahead 12-4 by scoring on five straight possessions and maintained similar rhythm in the second quarter, scoring five times in a seven-possession stretch that pushed the lead to 30-9.
The Blue Devils shot 54.5% from the field in the first half, while turning 12 turnovers into 14 points.
“Ball movement and player movement. That’s pretty much it,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “Against their zone, we did a really good job of being patient and dissecting it. We made some passes from the top of the key to the block to get guys open. We got guys shots where they needed to get shots.”
Those shots weren’t as available, nor did they fall with the same consistency in the second half.
The Blue Devils went 2 of 13 from the field in the third quarter, while the Raiders scored on four of their first six possessions and pulled within 11 points heading into the fourth quarter.
“Like the coaches always say, we’re going to throw punches, they’re going to throw punches,” said Reis, who led the Blue Devils with 16 points and eight assists. “You can’t win a fight on one punch. We were punching with them, and they were answering. They answered the whole game.”
The Raiders did it incrementally.
“The thing we kept talking about was being surgical,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said. “You have to make a cut here and make a cut there. It’s not going to be an axe. We don’t have a 20-point play, but we can score and get some things going and get ourselves back in the game.”
The Blue Devils didn’t make it easy, opening the fourth quarter by scoring the first seven points to extend the lead to 46-28. However, the Raiders’ Nathan Schutte made a pair of 3-pointers, Jake Hoyt buried a trey and QND turned a pair of QHS turnovers into baskets to finally trim the deficit to single digits with 40 seconds to play.
There weren’t enough possessions nor enough time to finish the rally, namely because the Blue Devils didn’t panic and give anything away.
“I felt like we had it under control on the defensive end, and that translated to good offense,” Talton said. “We made plays on both ends when we absolutely had to.”