By CODY RIVERA
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
For one quarter, the Quincy High School girl's basketball team stayed close to St. Louis Metro High School.
In the second quarter, the Panthers pulled away from the Blue Devils, defeating them 61-30 Friday at the QHS Gym during the QHS Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Blue Devils were limited to five points in the second quarter, thanks to a bucket and a 3-pointer by junior Reagan Wellman. QHS coach Demond Dade said the Blue Devils' defense hurt them in the second quarter.
"We played pretty good defense except for that second quarter," Dade said. "We got out of sync. We allowed them to have several uncontested lay-ups. The score of the quarter ended up being 22-5. We can't have quarters where we allow teams to just run 17, 18 or 19 points unanswered, and that's what happened to us."
The Blue Devils (0-6) finished the first quarter on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 12-11. The Panthers then started the second quarter on a 10-0 run. Back-to-back buckets by Metro's Jordyn Norde stretched the lead to 16-11. Dymond Randle followed with back-to-back buckets of her own, then converted a free throw to give the Panthers a 20-11 lead.
"Right now, one of the things that our team is learning is to make the smart pass," Dade said. "What the girls are trying to do is try to make up for some things and try to make something happen instead of just allowing it to happen. A lot of that is just from having a young team."
Wellman, who finished with a team-high nine points, dropped in a bucket to end the Panthers' run, cutting the deficit to 21-13. Metro followed with another scoring, converting nine straight points for a 17-point advantage. Wellman sank her first of two 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 30-16. The Blue Devils would not score again in the quarter and trailed 34-16 at halftime. Dade said that he was impressed with how his team battled.
"We're learning, but we still have a lot of fight in this team," Dade said. "Late in the game, we still had players diving on the floor, trying to get steals and turnovers in a game that could very easily make you say ‘Ah, it's not worth it. Why even bother?' And we got girls who were still out there getting after it, and we will learn to execute."
In their first game of the day, the Blue Devils lost to East St. Louis, 67-31.