Schuckman: Lady Raiders create dynasty all their own

Posted: Feb. 28, 2013 5:16 am Updated: Apr. 11, 2013 12:34 pm

Quincy basketball fans know how to define a dynasty with one set of numbers.


From 1978-82 -- better known as the Bruce Douglas era -- the Quincy High School boys basketball program reached the Class AA state tournament three times, went 33-0 in winning the 1981 state championship, ran off 64 consecutive victories and finished with a 123-5 record.

No four-year stretch by an area boys team has ever been better. It's going to be difficult to find a four-year stretch that ever will be.

Even now, more than 30 years since Douglas graduated and the era ended, fans speak of it with reverence.

Thirty years from now, the tone and tenor of the conversation about the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball program likely will be the same.

The Lady Raiders have created a dynasty to call their own.

For the last four years, QND has compiled a 122-5 record, made four consecutive state tournament appearances, rattled off 51 consecutive victories and put itself in position to become the first girls team to win back-to-back state championships in different classifications.

Two games remain -- QND will face Morton at 2 p.m. Friday in the Class 3A state semifinals and then play for either third place or the championship on Saturday -- with the chance to enhance what is already a remarkable run. Add another state title to the mix and this dynasty becomes legendary.

Regardless of how it ends, it's an unparalleled run that reminds many of QHS's dominance.

As distinctly different as the two eras are, they are remarkably similar.

You think of swagger, staying power and superstars when you think of both.

Although Douglas was the lynchpin of QHS's dynasty, he was complemented by some of the most talented players in school history. Four players who were a part of era finished their careers as 1,000-point scorers. Four played at NCAA Division I schools. Each one -- Bruce, Keith and Dennis Douglas and Michael Payne -- has been inducted into the QHS Blue Devils Sports Hall of Fame.

When they walked in a gym, people knew it.

They anticipated it. They waited for it.

Most nights, they were treated to a show. During that four-year stretch, the Blue Devils scored 100 or more points six times and topped 90 points 20 other times.

The Blue Devils didn't walk into a gym expecting to win. They strolled in knowing they would win.

It's how the Lady Raiders have traveled, too.

Over the last four years, they've won 39 games by 40 or more points. Twenty-six of those they've won by 50 or more. They've taken on all-comers, big and small. This season alone, they will have played two teams that reached the final four in their respective class in Illinois and another in pursuit of a state title in Missouri.

All in all, the Lady Raiders have beaten seven state-ranked teams this season.

Not only have they relied on the program's all-time leading scorer -- Jordan Frericks owns the mark with 1,907 career points -- but they have a 1,700-point scorer in Kassidy Gengenbacher, and there have been a host of talented complimentary players.

Over the last four years, Frericks and Gengenbacher have played alongside two NCAA Division II basketball recruits, a point guard who went on to play D-II soccer and girls who understood their role.

They benefitted from a coach who knew what roles needed filled.

As distinctly different as the teams are, the coaches are, too. Yet, they're strikingly similar.

Jerry Leggett was flamboyant and inventive. Eric Orne is stoic, stern and demanding. What they both knew, though, was how to prepare their teams for anything.

Look at the success it brought.

In 14 seasons at QHS, Leggett went 330-77. In 13 seasons at QND, Orne has gone 331-73.

Together, they brought notoriety and a lot of state hardware to the Gem City.

Time won't forget what the coaches and players accomplished. Time will only enhance it.

It will remind us of exactly what the Lady Raiders have done.

That's create a dynasty of their own.




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