David Adam

Beyond the Boxscore: QND to play for first conference title since 1987

Posted: Feb. 14, 2019 2:23 am Updated: Feb. 14, 2019 2:28 am

MONMOUTH, Ill. -- The Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team has a chance no team has had in more than 30 years.

Win an outright conference championship.

The Raiders play host to West Hancock on Thursday, and a victory would give them a 4-0 mark in their first season in the West Central Conference's North Division. The last time QND claimed a league title was during the 1986-87 season when it won the Greater Midwestern Conference crown.

"We're excited about that one," Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. "The guys have been looking forward to it. This group is playing well right now, and you won't see a more fundamentally sound team in the state of Illinois. It sets us up for a really great chance."

West Hancock is 21-2 after Wednesday night's victory over Keokuk, Iowa. The Titans and Raiders met last year in a semifinal at the Class 2A Farmington Sectional, with West Hancock winning 59-56. Junior forward Drake Hammel leads the Titans at 21.7 points per game. 

"I'm sure Drake's going to be nice and rested, and he's going to get a healthy dose of Tommy (Ray) and Nick (Schwartz)," Meyer said of his team's defense. "We might throw Tommy, Nick and Jonny (Bottorff), all three of them at him at once."

A dunk or not a dunk?

Grant Hyer had a fast-break opportunity during the second quarter of Wednesday's game that he tried to turn into his first high school dunk.

The sophomore guard made the basket, and he grabbed the rim as the ball went through to put the Raiders ahead 34-15. Hyer had a smile on his face as he was lobbying after the game for the basket to be counted as a dunk, but he won't get much support from his coach.

"No," Meyer said if he thought it was a dunk. "I told him as soon as he came over, "You threw it over the rim and you grabbed the rim, but no."

Sectional seeding

Meyer voted on Wednesday as the 10 teams in sub-sectional B of the Class 3A Springfield Southeast Sectional turned in their seeds. No. 3-ranked Springfield Southeast and No. 6-ranked Lincoln figure to get the top two seeds. One of them will be sent to the regional in Clinton, and the other will go to the regional in Jerseyville.

Taylorville (24-4) should receive the third seed. Only two other teams in the sub-sectional -- Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (16-8) and Quincy Notre Dame (18-6) -- have winning records.

However, Meyer wondered if the coaches in the Central State Eight -- Lanphier, Rochester, Jacksonville, SHG and Southeast -- voted together to give either Lanphier (13-14) or Jerseyville (11-16) more credit for playing a schedule with more Class 3A opposition than QND.

Clinton (8-18), Jacksonville (6-22) and Rochester (5-23) figure to get the bottom three seeds.

The seeds and brackets will be made available at 4 p.m. Thursday.

"You don't know what the CS8 coaches are going to do," Meyer said. "The monsters are Lincoln and Southeast. If you play for a title, you'll likely play one of those teams. That's our goal."

Hot in the Shoebox

A large Senior Night Crowd filling a brick gymnasium led to rising temperatures in Monmouth-Roseville's gymnasium called the Shoebox. 

Meyer said if you thought it was warm in the gymnasium, the locker room was worse.

"Add about 30 degrees," Meyer said as he soaked up the cold air from an open window after the game.

The only entrances to the locker rooms below the gymnasium was a door that led down a flight of stairs, much like the locker room scenes in the 1986 movie "Hoosiers."

"This is a fun place," Meyer said. "It had that exact feel like we were in Indiana. Just a really neat environment and a great crowd."