QUINCY -- In their season opener against McCluer, the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team had trouble responding when they were punched in the mouth on the way to a 60-32 loss.
On Saturday against Monroe City, the Raiders brought their boxing gloves.
The Panthers and QND battled back and forth throughout the game, but in the end it was Monroe City who landed the final blow and walked out of the Pit with a 60-48 victory on the second night of the QND Gully Transportation Tip-Off Shootout.
"We had to stay poised, coach was telling us that the entire day," Panthers guard Bryce Stark said. "Their crowd got a little wild, but we had to stay locked in and do what we do."
Monroe City (1-0) entered halftime with a 28-26 lead and quickly extended that to 35-26 just two minutes into the third quarter on a 7-0 run. QND coach Kevin Meyer took a timeout to settle his guys down, and they responded right back with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 35-32.
Against McCluer in the opener, the Raiders (0-2) shrunk in the third quarter as the Comets outscored them 22-6, but on Saturday they kept up with the Panthers.
"Yesterday I didn't feel like we had much drive, but today we really did," QND forward Zac Becker said. "When they started scoring on us we locked in right away and started scoring more."
The game remained close until four minutes left in the fourth quarter, as Monroe City clung to a 49-46 lead. Ethan Lehenbauer doubled that on one shot as he drained a three from the corner with 3:07 remaining, forcing a Raiders timeout.
That shot sparked an 11-2 run for the Panthers to close out and seal their first win of the season.
"It was a great team battle, both teams laid it out there on the floor and we were fortunate enough to be on top," Monroe City coach Brock Edris said. "We would get up by six or 10 points and QND would fight right back in. For a team that has only practiced a couple times as a full team, coach Meyer continues to do a great job with them and they continue to get better."
The Talton twins, Josiah and Joshua, led the Panthers to a victory with Joshua putting up 19 points and Josiah following with 15, including five in the fourth quarter.
With a brother like Panthers great C.E. Talton to emulate, Edris wasn't surprised to see them excell.
"C.E. made such an impact on our program and is a great role model for any of our kids," Edris said. "They are both their own individual and they both do some great things, we are fortunate to have a lot of guys who are able to contribute for us this year."
Logan Buhlig and Lehenbauer both finished with nine points for Monroe City as well.
Grant Hyer put the Raiders on his back and nearly carried them to a win. He finished with a game-high 22 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, and he pulled down eight rebounds, seven in the second half.
"I thought Grant was just phenomenal tonight, he was so good," Meyer said. "But he also was sharing the ball really well, getting the ball in the post and then pitching it out for a three."
Hyer has shown flashes of brilliance for QND so far, but the Raiders know it will take more than one player to get the job done moving forward.
"He's a great player, he can score for us and he can play great defense and is very aggressive," Becker said. "We're going to need a lot more key players to score too."
Monroe City 60, Quincy Notre Dame 48
MONROE CITY (1-0)
Josiah Talton 5 2-2 15, Joshua Talton 7 5-6 9, Buhlig 3 2-5 9, Stark 1 0-0 2, White 1 0-0 2, Battle 0 0-0 0, Lehenbauer 3 2-5 9, Ritter 0 0-0 0, McAfee 1 2-6 4. Totals 21 13-22 60.
Hyer5 12-14 22, Sheffield 2 3-6 7, Becker 1 0-0 3, Schutte 3 0-0 8, Marth 1 1-2 4, Hoyt 0 0-0 0, Bocke 0 0-0 0, Jacobs 2 0-0 4, Kite 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 16-22 48.
Monroe City 13 15 16 16--60
QND 15 11 10 12--48
3-point field goals -- Monroe City 5 (Josiah Talton 3, Buhlig, Lehenbauer), QND 4 (Schutte 2, Becker, Marth). Rebounds -- Monroe City 22 (Stark 5), QND 26 (Hyer 8). Turnovers -- Monroe City 11, QND 19. Total Fouls -- Monroe City 17, QND 19. Technical Fouls -- White. Fouled out -- Stark.