QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- Through the season's first eight games the defending state champion, and undefeated Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team, had an average margin of victory of 34 points.
But the ninth contest turned out, as expected, to be much closer.
The Lady Raiders pulled out a 47-42 win over defending Class 5 state champ Rock Bridge during the marquee game of the four night Rumble on the River at John Wood Saturday.
They built a double digit lead in the first half and hung on to avenge last season's only loss.
Head coach Eric Orne says it was a team effort.
"It was nice just to see us play hard," Orne explained.
"Leading up to that game I just didn't think, as a team, we had played as smoothly or as up tempo as we could. It was nice to really show some heart and really gut one out there, especially at the end of the game."
Junior forward Mary Beth Hugenberg calls it a signature victory.
"I think it's totally changed the look of this team," Hugenberg indicated.
"I think (the win) put us on the map as a team that's going to come out and be competitive. We gained a lot of respect."
What's most important is the fact QND is getting help in several places, especially a junior class who's making strides it seems every game.
In wins over the weekend Hugenberg scored a combined 26 points and Kristen Gengenbacher made a key basket late against Rock Bridge.
"We all know that we have to take it to another level," Gengenbacher said.
"If Jordan (Frericks) or Kassidy (Gengenbacher) gets in foul trouble, or just needs a break, we all have to step up. We all need to be able to replace them somehow if they need to be. I just think it's a good opportunity for alot of us to step up."
Hugenberg added: "We lost alot of good players last year and someone had to step in, and I think we've done a good job at that. We had to step up. We (only) have three seniors, so we had to."
Now the focus turns to Friday's trip to 11-win Champaign Centennial who the Lady Raiders could face in the postseason.
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