By THE HERALD-WHIG
DECATUR, Ill. -- Scott Douglas can appreciate the way Alex Fitch thinks, especially the way he looks at numbers and stats.
"He would love Strat-o-Matic," the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball coach told WGEM NewsTalk 105.1 FM, referencing the legendary tabletop baseball simulation game.
Fitch undoubtedly loves what the Raiders were able to do Tuesday night, too.
QND made its first five shots, enjoyed one of its best shooting performances of the season and earned a 55-41 victory over Decatur Eisenhower to reach the 20-victory plateau before regional play begins.
"I know, from a team standpoint, 20 (victories) was a big deal to him," said Douglas, whose team finishes the regular season with a 20-7 mark.
Fitch made it happen. Coming off a loss on the road to Mid-State Six Conference champion Peoria Notre Dame in which he scored just five points, Fitch rebounded with a 25-point effort. He went 9 of 13 from the field and 7 of 9 from the line with six rebounds.
It's the fifth time this season Fitch has scored 25 or more points.
"I liked his mentality," Douglas said. "Mentally, he was there tonight."
Offensively, the Raiders were in sync from the start.
QND jumped out to a 9-2 lead, hit its first five shots and pushed its advantage to double digits before the end of the first quarter. The Raiders' lead swelled to 31-18 by halftime as Fitch scored 13 first-half points.
"We got off to a good start and did exactly what we wanted to do," Douglas said.
About the only thing the Raiders didn't do was pull away.
The lead stayed in the 10-14 point range the entire second half as Eisenhower (3-19) used its athleticism and 13 points from Jabree Bond-Flournoy to hang around.
"They are really, really hard to bury," said Douglas, whose team plays either Geneseo or Rock Island Alleman in next Tuesday's Class 3A Galesburg Regional semifinals. "This is one of those classic games where you don't want one mistake to turn into five."
QND avoided that by being efficient offensively. The Raiders shot 54.1 percent from the field (20 of 37) after cooling off in the fourth quarter. They went 18 of 28 from the field (64.3 percent) over the first three quarters before going 2 of 9 from the field in the final quarter.
Fitch was the only player in double figures for QND as Matt McPherson finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Matt Doane scored seven points starting in place of Sam Douglas.