Herald-Whig

Beyond the Boxscore: Wedding factor on defense for Raiders

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 26, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Dec. 27, 2018 4:35 pm

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Max Wedding's line in the boxscore from Quincy Notre Dame's victory over Champaign St. Thomas More won't impress many people.

He missed two shots from the field, and he missed his first three free throws before finally making one.

However, anyone who watched Wednesday night's game in the first round of the Small School Boys bracket at the State Farm Holiday Classic saw what a difference Wedding made.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore blocked three shots in the first quarter, finished with four and altered several others.

"He did things that don't show up in the box," Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. "Everybody wants to see a big guy score 10 to 12 points a game, but he changed a lot of shots. He kept a lot of points off the scoreboard."

Growing as a sophomore

Sophomore Grant Hyer scored a season-high 13 points for the Raiders against St. Thomas More, and he's become more of a scoring threat since moving into the starting lineup. He's averaged 8 points in his last five games.

Meyer also has been pleased with Hyer's defensive work, often assigning him to the opponent's best offensive threat, and Hyer has proven to be skillful at getting to the basket while limiting his turnovers.

Asked what has helped him improve on offense, Hyer replied, "Just finding myself. I'm not trying to take my guy (to the basket) on the first play of the game. Maybe I'll hit a jumper, and then later I'll take him off the dribble.

"When we have a high-volume offense going (like the Raiders did against St. Thomas More), when we're all getting good looks, that's when we play our best."

Balanced attack

The Raiders were balanced offensively in the victory against St. Thomas More, with Nick Schwartz leading four players in double figures. Senior Jonny Bottorff thought the team adjusted to playing on the college-sized floor at the Shirk Center, home for the Illinois Wesleyan basketball teams.

"The college court kind of helped us," he said. "We practiced at QU (in Pepsi Arena) on Saturday, and it helped us with our spacing. When we come together and share the ball, we can score a lot of points."

Noteworthy

QND's all-time record in the State Farm Holiday Classic is 53-23, and it has won nine of its last 11 games in the tournament. Only Bloomington Central Catholic (75 victories), Normal Community (73), Normal University High (73) and Thornwood (63) have won more games.