By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Alex Fitch understood what needed to be done.
He had to play big.
With 6-foot-9 center Matt McPherson sidelined Tuesday night with an ankle injury, the Quincy Notre Dame senior guard moved to the post, a spot he has excelled in previously. It was the last thing Kirksville wanted to see.
Fitch dropped 30 points, three points short of a career-high, and tortured the Tigers inside and out as the QND boys basketball team picked up a 71-47 win in the Gully Transportation Tip-Off Tournament.
The 6-foot-3 senior shot 71 percent (12 of 17) from the field and 60 percent (3 of 5) from the perimeter as he was determined to be aggressive from the outset.
"Games like this, we can't come out like the world is on fire like we did (Monday) night," Fitch said. "Being one of the leaders on this team, I know I have to step it up on a night like tonight. I had to be aggressive from the start and I know I didn't do that (Monday). But tonight, I did things better, and we got going as a team as the game went on."
While QND coach Scott Douglas didn't plan for Fitch to play the post, knowing he can do it in a pinch is a relief.
"The thing you have to remember is Alex Fitch was our best post player as a sophomore," Douglas said. "He's pretty good. That's not where we intend to use him all year, but the fact of the matter is he can be very, very effective. I thought our guys did a good job of finding him and putting him in the position to score."
The Tigers (1-1) kept pace with the Raiders early and cut the lead to 22-19 after Nathan Farnworth made a layup early in the third quarter. Fitch then made a 3-pointer to spark QND to a 11-0 run that ended with a slam dunk by Fitch that made the score 33-19.
Riley Walz and Chris Dietrich, who finished with 15 points, also scored during that stretch.
Walz said QND found its rhythm.
"We were making shots, Sam (Douglas) was in a groove and Alex Fitch had a great night," Walz said. "We kept moving, and it's hard to guard people when we keep moving. Guys got open for shots and we hit them."
The Raiders unloaded a barrage of 3-pointers in the third quarter to push their lead to 56-39. Fitch, Dietrich and Sam Douglas all made triples, while defensively, QND locked down and limited Kirksville to nine points.
"I think we did a little bit better job of controlling the dribble and making sure they had tough shots," Scott Douglas. "They made some tough shots in the first half to keep them in it."
Tyson Grgurich (13 points) and Chris Tenpenny (10) both scored in double figures for Kirksville. Matt Doane, Sam Douglas and Chris Dietrich all had four assists for QND.
What Fitch was most happy about was the Raiders' consistency.
"That's the product of having a game under our belt," Fitch said. "For the first game, you come out all fired up and you might have a let down. For the second game, everyone has been on the court before and you know how to keep it going consistently rather than having spikes of emotions."