By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Jordan Frericks had been anticipating this for nearly two weeks.
After Quincy Notre Dame's girls basketball team won its two biggest games of the season -- it beat Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge and Champaign Centennial in back-to-back games before Christmas -- the Lady Raiders enjoyed a 13-day layoff.
Thursday night, they got back to business. With Frericks spearheading a suffocating full-court press, QND went on a 13-0 run midway through the first quarter that propelled it to 75-29 victory over Pittsfield at The Pit.
"Coming back from the holidays, I knew all of us were anxious to have a game and we were kind of tired of practice," said Frericks, who led QND with 20 points. "So we all had the energy to come out and play a game. We also had to make a point that we couldn't play down to other girls' levels. We knew this game wouldn't be as hard as a lot of the other ones. We needed to step up and play our level of game and not sink to a lower (level)."
Frericks set the tone for that. With 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter, she scored on three consecutive possessions -- two layups came off back-to-back steals -- spanning just 11 seconds.
It sparked a 13-0 run that gave QND a cushion.
"I think it was just anticipation," Frericks said. "I know our energy level was up, it was just about anticipating and working hard with the other girls, getting good passes. We needed to get after it and work hard, even if we were up a lot. We still needed to put on the pressure and that's what we did."
QND coach Eric Orne said he thought the Lady Raiders played with good energy.
"It really starts with a good practice," said Orne, who got 18 points from Kassidy Gengenbacher. "We've had some good practices over break since we didn't play and I think we're kind of refreshed. We're coming off two big wins, and I think knowing we are going down to Highland Saturday, we wanted to come out and establish ourselves early. That energy level is something we need to sustain for the second half of the year."
The Lady Saukees (9-8) played without their leading scorer Shea O'Brien, who missed the game with appendicitis. Brittany Miller led Pittsfield in with 14 points.
Pittsfield coach Jeff Shireman said he didn't alter his gameplan much without O'Brien. Pittsfield struggled to take care of the ball and finished with 32 turnovers. The Lady Saukees also finished 9 of 28 from the field.
"We weren't taking care of the basketball," Shireman said. "We weren't ball faking. We were throwing it up in the air for them to steal it, and that's what they did. They got us tired. They're physical and a lot stronger than us."
The Lady Raiders held the Lady Saukees without a point for the final 5:06 of the first quarter and built a 19-4 lead. Miller opened the quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 19-7, before QND responded with a 20-0 run that pushed the score to 39-7. The Lady Raiders led 47-12 at halftime.
"It definitely helped knowing we had that break and this is our first game back," Lady Raiders senior Cassidy Foley said. "We definitely had a lot of energy. Those were two big games the last two and I think we definitely came out and showed we wanted to play again. We were ready to play."