By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
PALMYRA, Mo. -- Another mark in the win column wasn't what Quincy Notre girls basketball coach Eric Orne sought.
He wanted the Lady Raiders to show energy and enthusiasm against Palmyra Tuesday night.
QND dominated in the second half during its 74-45 win in Palmyra, but it wasn't the prettiest effort. The Lady Raiders turned the ball over 20 times and allowed the Panthers to hang around in the first half. With games approaching against Missouri powerhouses Harrisburg and Columbia Rock Bridge at this weekend, Orne knows his team will need better efforts to win.
"I look at it this way, that was probably our worst performance in three or four years," Orne said. "I thought,
defensively and offensively with the turnovers, we didn't have the energy or enthusiasm we need to have. Tonight, it basically showed what our coaches have been harping on. You have to come out each night, especially with the top-tier teams we're playing the next few days, you have to play better than you did. We did things we're not accustomed to. Even though we held them to 16 points in the second half, we gave up almost 30 points in the first half, that's something we don't do."
Lady Raiders point guard Kristen Gengenbacher, who finished with 14 points and four assists, said QND was in a funk in the first half.
"I think we weren't playing our game in the first half," Gengenbacher said. "We were playing their game, not getting into the flow of how we normally play. We had to slow things down, take a step back and set things up."
QND went ahead 8-3 early and never trailed. After the Lady Raiders stretched their lead to 20-9, Allie Dietrich and Evie Miles both scored for the Lady Panthers to slice the lead to 20-13 late in the first quarter.
Palmyra coach Chris Parsons said he was happy with how his team handled the press after a tough start.
"We handled their pressure pretty well tonight for the most part," Parsons said. "We had some silly turnovers against their press in the beginning. I think we handled the press well for the rest of the game. If we can handle their press and get down the court, we can handle anyone's press around here."
QND led 41-29 at halftime. Palmyra cut the lead to 10 when Katee Hinkle scored to open the half. For the rest of the quarter, the Lady Raiders suffocated the Lady Panthers' offense. QND only allowed Palmyra to score six more points and went into fourth quarter with a 57-37 lead.
"We always talk about the first three minutes of the second half being critical to any ball game," Orne said. "We did give up those two points, which I didn't like, but at the same time, I think we established ourselves and dictated the tone. We were able to dominate those three minutes, which turned the game back in our favor."
Gengenbacher led a balanced attack after halftime, with strong performances from Kassidy Gengenbacher (25 points and eight rebounds) and Jordan Frericks (24 points and nine rebounds).
"We didn't play very good in the first half," Kristen Gengenbacher said. "So we had to put that behind us and come out how we normally do. We kind of got on that run, we all know once we get on that run its hard to stop us, we were all really flowing well together."
Dietrich led Palmyra with 14 points, while Megan Hooper added 12 and Miles had 10.
Orne said QND needs to focus on developing confidence in each other.
"We're a team looking for our identity still," Orne said. "It's a team still searching for trust in each other. We have some young kids there, and I don't know that the trust is there."