By RJ Walters / Daily News Sports Editor
As published in the Feb. 4, 2009 edition of the Hillsdale Daily News
Quincy likes to walk the ball up the court, while Hillsdale is obsessed with running the ball up the floor, making the opposition pay for costly turnovers.
Tuesday night the Hornets were the ones actually turning the ball over more often than not, but they kept running and gunning and Quincy couldn’t keep up.
Senior point guard Mitchell Gabriele turned in his usual stellar performance with 30 points, 10 assists and seven steals and the Hornets overcame 24 turnovers in an 86-55 rout of the Orioles.
Usually an easy win to improve to 7-3 on the season would cause for celebration, but not in the Hillsdale locker room, where they have their sights set high this season.
“You would’ve thought we got beat in the locker room. The guys realize as much as the coaches do that we really didn’t play very well defensively. Our containment was bad, I thought we gave up too many layups and too many offensive rebounds and that’s a concern for us,” Hillsdale head coach Brad Felix said. “Obviously we’re scoring points, I’m just concerned that when we get against a team that can stop you from scoring 60-65 you’ve got to win with your defense and we’ve struggled all season long.”
Struggle is a relative word though and the Hornets hardly struggled on offense. They used a 12-0 run to start the game and 8-0 burst right out of halftime to give them a majority of their cushion.
On the evening the Hornets shot 53 percent from the field and drained eight 3-pointers and Felix admitted that shooting has been something he’s been stressing more of late.
“I don’t want to take credit but I have to say I’ve committed more time to shooting in practice then I probably have ever done in my career,” he said. “You’re always ‘X’ing and ‘O’ing in practice and kind of get away from just shooting the ball a little bit.”
Senior Nick Kelley scored 17 points, mostly on bunnies that he has had a tendency to miss as of late, and pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.
Scott Lantis pitched in 10 points, Kyle MacDonald put in nine, including two 3-pointers and Kurtis Condon scored seven.
For Quincy, effort was never a question, but it was a constant battle to find open shots they could knock down. When they were trying to stay close in the second quarter they couldn’t finish several offensive putbacks and throughout the game their jumpers just wouldn’t stick.
Nonetheless, Quincy head coach Ritch Adams thought it was a good learning experience for his boys, especially since it didn’t count in the conference standings.
“I thought we learned a lot. I think Hillsdale plays a little bit more intense than we’re used to seeing night to night and I thought after about the first three minutes we matched them pretty well,” he said. “I thought the big difference was they lit it up from outside and we had trouble buying anything from outside.”
Adams said he was pleased with his team’s defensive effort for the most part, but admitted Gabriele was at times more than his team could handle.
“We didn’t do a very good job of stopping him, but we’re not the only ones and it’s not like he had a bunch of open layups. We had guys there and he knocked them down anyway,” he said.
Dustin Truitt had a strong outing for the Orioles with nine points and 11 rebounds and Eric Stetler led Quincy with 12 points.
“We usually run more sets and are patient offensively and against them it’s just tough to do. If you’ve got a guy in your face you’ve just got to dribble past him and make a play,” Adams said referring to his team’s performance on offense.
Felix said the Big Eight is just a different style of basketball than his team is used to seeing and despite wishing for a little more out of his defense, it was still a win to be proud of.
“We’re all talking about what we didn’t do well, but it’s not that grim, it’s still a good win for us,” he said. “They have a winning record and are having a good season and we beat them handily. We’ve got to be happy about that.”