By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
CARROLLTON, Ill. -- Defense was the name of the game for the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team Saturday night.
The Lady Raiders established themselves against Bethalto Civic Memorial with their full-court pressure defense. Even when they settled into their half-court defense during the second quarter, the intensity didn't change.
QND allowed the Eagles to score only five points during the second half of a 61-22 victory in the Carrollton Tournament championship game.
It's the sixth straight Carrollton championship for QND and the seventh in the past nine years.
This was slated to be QND's final appearance in the tournament.
"It was a good effort," Lady Raiders coach Eric Orne said. "Defense was definitely the key."
It was all week.
Top-seeded QND (18-0) allowed its four opponents at Carrollton to score only 24.3 points per game. Even more impressively, the Lady Raiders won by an average margin of 50.3 ppg.
The dominance was triggered by the defensive work of the backcourt, particularly starting guards Cassidy Foley and Kristin Gengenbacher.
"That made a difference in all four of our tournament games," Orne said. "It was a big key and a turning point for us."
The score was tied 5-5 before the Lady Raiders closed out the first quarter with a 16-0 run. QND led the third-seeded Eagles 42-17 at halftime.
Civic Memorial (19-7) was forced to make 20 turnovers. The Eagles, who had three 5-foot-10 starters, entered Saturday with a 10-game winning streak.
Jordan Frericks, the tournament most valuable player, finished with 21 points and six rebounds, while all-tournament team performer Kassidy Gengenbacher finished with 20 points.
The Lady Raiders will start a challenging stretch of three games in three days when they play Nashville in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.