QUINCY -- The first quarter was a breeze for the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team.
The rest of the game was a fight.
The Raiders turned the ball over 10 times in the second and third quarter while making just six shots, and they let the lead dwindle to 10 points before finally putting away Central 49-34 on Friday night in the Pit.
QND led 15-1 after the first quarter, and Nick Schwartz's layup and three-point play to start the second quarter extended the lead to 17 points.
However, Central's zone defense strangled the Raiders. After Schwartz's shot, QND made just five of its next 19 field goal attempts. An alley-oop lob to Hayden Neisen to beat the third-quarter buzzer got Central within 30-20.
"We knew we were going to go up against that zone. We worked on it Wednesday and Thursday, and then we acted tonight like we forgot what we were doing," Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. "That's the most physical team we've played all year, and they disrupted our sets.
"I told our guys that it doesn't matter that they're disrupting things. What's your cheat for that? What will give you the momentum to get out of it?"
It turned out to be the answer was driving to the basket.
Tommy Ray got things started with a three-point play. Jonny Bottorff scored off an assist from Reed Hyer, and Dylan Foley drove to the bucket for another basket. The Raiders (5-3) also got to the line in the fourth quarter, making seven of nine free throws after shooting just five free throws in the first three quarters.
"We've come out flat to start the third quarter this year, and it's something we've got to correct," Bottorff said. "We have to play with more energy. We have to start every quarter how we start a game, because we started tonight like we were shot out of a cannon."
Central opened the game as if it was shot by a cannon.
The Panthers (4-3) missed their first 11 shots and didn't score from the field until Lane Ippensen's offensive rebound putback with 5:52 left in the first half. They trailed 25-7 at halftime.
"We were flat. We were timid. We were on our heels. I don't know how to explain it," Panthers coach James Barnett said.
"We get into funks, and it's hard to get out of those funks. We tried to change defenses, we tried to run sets, and if they decide it doesn't want to go, it won't go. You can poke and prod all you want, but sometimes they're that stubborn mule who keeps holding on and won't go."
"We came out and played scared," Central's Kollen Hughes said. "We were shellshocked. That's probably the most physical team we've played this year. They put us in our place in the first half."
Central had the ball to start the fourth quarter and a chance to get the deficit into single digits, but a turnover led to Ray's three-point play. The Raiders eventually built the lead back to 19 points.
"We came back out and battled, but when you dig yourself a hole like that, it takes a lot of energy to get out," Barnett said.
"It was like we were diving for a loose ball, and we were already out of bounds," Hughes said.
Ray led the Raiders with 13 points. Jalan Vance had 11 for Central.
The sluggish play after the first quarter bothered Bottorff ... to a point.
"I said at halftime, 'Let's not win by 12 or 15. Let's win by 30 or 40,'" he said. "You just have to develop that mentality.
"There's still things to fix, but you're never disappointed with a victory."
QND 49, Central 34
Vance 4-9 2-3 11, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Ippensen 3-4 1-2 7, Neisen 5-8 0-0 10, Long 1-11 0-0 2, Jones 1-4 0-2 2, Hughes 0-2 1-2 1, Clampitt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 4-8 34.
QUINCY NOTRE DAME (5-3)
Foley 2-4 1-4 5, Hyer 3-4 0-0 6, Bottorff 2-3 0-0 4, Ray 4-11 5-5 13, Schwartz 2-8 3-3 7, Smith 3-4 0-0 7, Mast 1-2 0-0 2, Wedding 1-1 0-0 2, Sheffield 1-2 1-2 3, Hutson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-39 10-14 49.
Central 1 6 13 14--34
Quincy Notre Dame 15 10 5 19--49
3-point field goals--Central 2-17 (Vance 1-4, Jones 1-3, Ippensen 0-2, Long 0-6, Hughes 0-2), Quincy Notre Dame 1-9 (Smith 1-2, Ray 0-3, Sheffield 0-1, Schwartz 0-2, Bottorff 0-1). Rebounds--Quincy Notre Dame 30 (Ray, Foley 6), Central 24 (Ippensen 7). Turnovers--Quincy Notre Dame 14, Central 17. Fouls--Central 12, Quincy Notre Dame 12. Fouled out--Ippensen. Officials--Stefan Crider, Tony Fesler, Barry Wright.