QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- This is the week the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team has likely had circled on their calendars for some time.
Starting Thursday in St. Louis the Lady Raiders face three state ranked opponents on three consecutive days.
First it's Nashville who's ranked third in Class 2A in the Coaches versus Cancer Shootout at Scottrade Center.
Then Eric Orne's squad returns home Friday to square off with Springfield who's positioned fifth in Class 4A. A day later it's a matchup with Rolling Meadows who considered the third best team in Class 4A, according to this week's Associated Press poll.
Orne says each squad brings something different to the table.
"It will be unique," Orne indicated.
"Nashville is going to try and slow it down and beat you 21-19. The next night Springfield High comes out and they're very balanced, they've very deep, and they're going to try and get up and down the court with us. And then we turn around the next night and play Rolling Meadows with three Division I recruits."
Senior guard Kassidy Gengenbacher has no problem with the tough slate.
"Having a challenge and going in there knowing it's not going to be easy and you have to grind for every point, and make them earn every point, it's exciting and fun," Gengenbacher said.
"(We) have a lot more energy going into games like this I think."
This isn't something new for the Lady Raiders.
The last two seasons they've scheduled perennial powers Incarnate Word and Edwardsville towards the end of the regular season as a way to prepare themselves for regionals and beyond.
"It definitely gets us ready because they are hard games," senior forward Jordan Frericks claimed.
"We don't know what we are going to see in the postseason, it could be bigger girls, smaller girls, or quick girls, and all three of these teams have those qualities."
According to Orne, "The amount of atmosphere and enthusiasm that's there, and it's a battle possession for possession each time down the court. I think the kids gear up for that and in that sense, it really helps us prepare for the postseason."
There is a worry of fatigue, playing so many games in such a short time. But Orne says how his team prepares in practice aids in alleviating that concern.
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