RUSHVILLE, Ill. -- After halftime, the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team held a 33-14 lead on Monmouth-Roseville in Thursday's Class 2A Rushville-Industry Regional final.
The Raiders went on a 25-8 run in the final 12 minutes of the first half, but the Titans had no intention of giving up early.
Carly Gillen opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run for Monmouth-Roseville to cut the lead down to 13, but QND was able to keep the Titans at arms length the rest of the way and walk out with a 60-43 victory.
"We really just had to settle down and keep our composure on the floor," Raiders senior Sydney Hummert said. "Just run our offense well. When we did that, it really helped us."
The second-seeded Raiders (24-3) advance to take on top-seeded Knoxville (28-3) in the Macomb Sectional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Hangar. The Blue Bullets are coming off a 67-39 victory over Bloomington Central Catholic in the BCC Regional final, but QND coach Eric Orne thinks the Raiders have no pressure heading into Monday's meeting.
"Winning a regional sometimes when it's expected is very tough," Orne said. "Now we're playing with house money. We are back in the sectional. We're going to study our opponent and be ready to go Monday night."
The Raiders are excited to fly under the radar, too.
"A lot of teams haven't seen what we can do and how many scorers that we have," QND senior Shelby Reed said. "We don't just have two scorers. We have multiple girls that can score in double digits. The fact that we will be playing teams that don't know a lot about us can kind of lean on our side and show other teams that we're capable of a lot."
After Gillen's run to start the second half, the Raiders responded with a 7-0 run of their own. The first three possessions of the third quarter ended in turnovers for QND, and Orne implored the Raiders to be more aggressive.
The message sunk in with freshman Abbey Schreacke, as she drove and kicked to freshman Blair Eftink for an open 3-pointer on the left wing, then scored back-to-back buckets to give the Raiders a 20-point advantage.
"If we're more aggressive on the drives, then we open up more offense," Schreacke said.
Gillen wasn't done. She scored seven more points in the third quarter to bring the Titans within 14 heading to the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, after Gillen scored her 13th point of the frame, Orne switched to a box-and-one defense with McKenna Little shadowing Gillen and the rest of the Raiders playing a zone.
Gillen only scored two points the remainder of the game.
"We had to make some adjustments, and McKenna has been one of our top defensive players," Orne said. "She is a kid that says, ‘I'll take on the challenge,' and she did that tonight."
While the Titans (24-8) fought to get back into the game, Monmouth-Roseville coach Scott Weber thought the loss came down to being outscored 13-4 in the second quarter.
"You can't play a quality team like QND and score four points in a quarter," Weber said. "I don't care how good you played the other three. If you score four points in a quarter, you're not going to beat them."
Hummert killed the Titans in the first half with 15 points, including nine in the second quarter. In the second half, she only scored four points for a team-high 19. She stayed locked in, grabbing eight rebounds in the second half and 13 for the game.
"Coming up and getting those rebounds is a good feeling, and it helps our team," Hummert said.
Schreacke followed Hummert with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Little and Eftink each had seven points. Gillen led the Titans with 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Ryley Huston followed with 10.
It was a physical game throughout, with both teams fighting hard for loose balls and rebounds, but ultimately the Raiders were a little more physical.
"When you run into a team that plays fast and physical with you, it's a headbutt," Weber said. "Tonight their headbutt was a little bit stronger than ours, but I can't say how proud I am of these girls."
QND now heads to the sectional round for the second time in three years and only the second time since finishing third in state in 2014.
"I am so excited," Hummert said.
Class 2A Rushville-Industry Regional
Quincy Notre Dame 60, Monmouth-Roseville 43
Shelton 3 0-0 7, Cundiff 0 0-0 0, Luna 1 0-0 2, Huston 3 4-4 10, C. Gillen 7 6-6 21, Rexroat 0 0-0 0, Allen 0 0-0 0, Babcock 0 0-1 0, Moore 0 00 0, Braun 0 0-0 0, Wilson-Bahun 0 1-2 1, M. Gillen 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 13-15 43.
Peters 0 3-6 3, Schreacke 5 6-6 13, Hummert 8 3-5 19, Eftink 2 1-4 7, Little 2 3-4 7, Kenning 1 0-0 2, Schaffer 0 0-0 0, Reed 1 0-3 3, Ray 1 0-0 2, Lepper 0 0-0 0, Cornwell 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 15-31 60.
Monmouth-Roseville 10 4 17 12--43
QND 20 13 12 15--60
3-point field goals--Monmouth-Roseville 2 (Shelton, C. Gillen), QND 3 (Eftink 2, Reed). Rebounds--Monmouth-Roseville 31 (C. Gillen 15), QND 30 (Hummert 13). Turnovers--Monmouth-Roseville 20, QND 16. Fouls--Monmouth-Roseville 22, QND 13. Fouled out--Cundiff.