HANNIBAL, Mo. -- It seems odd to believe that a basketball team played well on defense when allowing one player to score 30 points, but a case could be made for Quincy Notre Dame against Hannibal's Dezi Jones.
Jones scored 30 points on 12-for-26 shooting in Saturday's 62-57 loss to the Raiders in Korf Gym, and many of his points were on twisting drives through the lane against multiple defenders who were as many as eight inches taller than him.
QND sophomore Grant Hyer drew the assignment of guarding Jones for most of the first half, with seniors Alex Mast and Nick Schwartz taking more minutes against the Pirates' star in the second half.
"You're going to be gassed if you're the only person to guard him," said Schwartz, who finished with 18 points. "You're spending so much effort on the defensive end, and you're just worn out.
"Coach (Kevin Meyer) gave me a break before the game by letting Grant guard him, but in the second half, (Jones) came out guns blazing. I said I would give Grant a break, but it affected me on offense, too."
Schwartz scored only one basket in the second half while more of his defensive attention was focused on Jones.
Meyer was complimentary afterward of both Jones and his defenders.
"Dezi just does so many things special," he said. "He earned every one of those 30, but I thought we controlled the other guys. No one went off and got 15 or 20 points.
"Dezi has come so far. He does so many things creatively. I thought we did a good job isolating him. If we're going to go down, then (Dezi's) going to do it. Can you carry that whole load? I thought our guys did a good job with that."
Ray plays well as reserve
Meyer made two changes in the starting lineup against Hannibal. Collin Smith, who has been an effective 3-point shooter, started in place of Peyton Sheffield, and Hyer, who was assigned to guard Jones, started in place of Tommy Ray.
Ray didn't enter the game until the five-minute mark of the second quarter, but he had one of his better games. He took only two shots, making both, and didn't take any 3-point shots -- which he has struggled with this season. He also had four rebounds despite the limited minutes.
"Tommy was in attack mode," Meyer said. "He got to the basket, and he shared. He showed some maturity, and he gave us the boost we hoped we would get off the bench."
Playing to the Max
Sophomore Max Wedding had his best game of the young season. He scored four points and grabbed three rebounds, and he also blocked a couple of shots. He provided important minutes while giving breaks to senior post player Jonny Bottorff, who scored six points, had four rebounds and got several touches in the paint that often led to kickout passes for open shots.
"I thought Max was good," Meyer said. "He came in and got a couple of blocked shots, got a rebound or two.
"He's a pretty animated kid. He gets that rebound, and he wants to give you that tough look, but everybody is really grinning because you know on the inside, he's just giddy. He's smiling and bouncing. He's growing into that body, and he's finding a way to contribute."