David Adam

Beyond the Boxscore: Meyer wants to get team healthy by weekend

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 12, 2018 2:45 am Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 11:42 am

PALMYRA, Mo. -- Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball coach Kevin Meyer hopes his team can get healthy quickly before a home game on Friday against Central and a trip to Blue Devil Gym on Saturday.

Senior Dylan Foley, averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds through six games, suffered a small fracture in his thumb near the end of Saturday's victory at Hannibal, and he did not dress for Tuesday's 64-58 loss to Palmyra.

"He had X-rays (Monday), and we're going to see if he can get it taped," Meyer said. "He's a warrior. I have a hard time believing we're not going to see No. 4 this weekend."

Sophomore guard Grant Hyer, who has started the past two games, played with a noticeable limp in the second half before he finally stayed on the bench at the end of the game.

"It's his right ankle," Meyer said. "He tweaked it earlier. I'm not sure if he had his brace with him tonight. We've got to get him iced up and get him going."

Foley and Hyer are two of the Raiders' better defenders, and Hyer likely would have seen plenty of time guarding Palmyra's Bill Nunnelly, who scored 23 points on Tuesday.

"With Dylan out and Grant was hobbled, that meant Nick (Schwartz) had to play a ton of minutes," Meyer said. "A guy had to leave their man tonight to help stop Bill (who kicked out to Peyton Abbott for the go-ahead 3-pointer), and that hurt us."

Nunnelly's ‘best game by far'

Bill Nunnelly figured to be a key player for the Palmyra boys basketball team this winter after averaging 7.1 points per game as a junior.

His first five games, however, were a little underwhelming. He scored just 38 points and never reached double figures. The low point was a five-point effort in a 65-46 loss to Monroe City last Saturday.

Nunnelly repeatedly broke down QND defenders on drives to the basket Tuesday night. He made nine of 14 shots from the field and five of six free throws for 23 points. He made the assist on Peyton Abbott's go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, and he grabbed a critical offensive rebound with 12 seconds left and scored to put the Panthers ahead 62-58.

"He's got the capability," Panthers coach Ryan Wood said. "It's his best game by far.

"I thought during the summer, ‘He's going to turn some heads this year.' He's just lacking a little confidence at the beginning. I just tell him, ‘I want you to get to the basket. It doesn't mean you have to score.'"

Nunnelly is confident about his ability to beat defenders off the dribble.

"I can do that any time I want," he said. "At the start of the season, I'm just trying to find my groove."

Reserve help

Two juniors who had not scored a point in very limited action this season provided solid minutes off the bench on Tuesday.

Zach Becker, a 6-foot-2 forward, had four layups. He missed three, but Meyer was pleased that he worked his way free around the basket to get good close shots. He also collected three rebounds.

David Hutson, a 6-foot guard, was assigned to guard Palmyra's Ragar McKinney during his time on the floor. McKinney, who had 16 points, had three baskets in the first quarter but didn't score again from the field until the fourth quarter. Huston also contributed a basket and two free throws.

"They were really good," Meyer said. "If we call your number, here's your moment to go in and shine, or I can run and hide. And I thought they played well. We've got to find ways to build more confidence for those guys."

Big night for McKinney

Beating Quincy Notre Dame for just the third time in school history made Tuesday special for the Palmyra boys basketball team.

It was even more memorable for McKinney.

He had played the last two seasons against his cousin, Mac Little. The girls game featured his cousin, Mackenzie Little. playing for QND while his sister, Rylie, played for QND. His mom, Carrie, is an assistant coach for the Palmyra girls team, and his father, Brian, is a QND graduate. During the girls game, Brian sat with his sister, Kelly (Little) and his mother, Ann McKinney, who was wearing her prized shirt adorned with a Palmyra logo and a QND logo.

McKinney had 16 points and nine rebounds, and he drew a critical charging foul in the final seconds against QND's Nick Schwartz to protect Palmyra's lead.

"It's always been on my bucket list to beat QND," Ragar said. "It's great to do it my senior year."