By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
CAMP POINT, Ill. -- The Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team overwhelmed Central with intense defense Friday night.
The Panthers were held scoreless for the first five minutes of the Raiders' 64-25 victory.
QND (7-0) never trailed and used five early turnovers to build a 12-0 lead during Central's offensive drought. Matt McPherson scored two layups, Chris Dietrich made two 3-pointers and Sam Douglas had a jumper during the run.
The Raiders' defense forced 23 turnovers.
"We just wanted to pressure them and force turnovers," Dietrich said. "They did a decent job controlling the ball and playing under control."
The Panthers (1-7) struggled with QND's press.
"One thing you don't want to do is get pinned on the sideline," Central coach Todd Plattner said. "For a little bit of a stretch of time, we were able to get into their interior defense and get shots. Their pressure defense from endline-to-endline is the best in the area."
Offensively, Central struggled to find baskets.
Jason Dormire scored the Panthers' first basket with three minutes left in the first quarter. Several turnovers by QND and a technical foul on Raiders coach Scott Douglas for a scorebook error cut the lead to 17-8 at the start of the second quarter.
Central, which had started in a man-to-man defense, switched to a zone and forced the Raiders to turn the ball over during that stretch.
"We turned the ball over, which is uncharacteristic of the team," Douglas said. "Part of it was what they were doing to us. They forced us into a couple scramble situations and we didn't handle that well. We turned it over and that led to some baskets for them and that got us frazzled."
The Raiders settled down after that.
"We just got a little sloppy," Dietrich said. "We needed to work the ball and play smart."
What ultimately killed the Panthers' momentum was their shooting. Central shot 26 percent from the field (8 of 30). The Panthers were focused on limiting possessions and kept the game at a slow pace. Adjusting took some time for a Raiders team that likes to play at a faster pace.
"Pretty good, that's a challenge," Douglas said about how his team handled Central's tempo. "They do a good job of making you play defense for an extended period of time. Most high school teams play defense that well for 25 seconds so if you an run offense and get people moving you can pop something easy for yourself."
QND pulled away by getting a strong performance off the bench and getting to the free throw line. Matt Doane scored seven points and helped the Raiders take a 32-15 halftime lead.
Alex Fitch finished with a game-high 12 points for QND and Cole Phillips had 12 for Central. McPherson had eight points and seven rebounds for the Raiders.