Notre Dame's hot early shooting Feb. 11 staked the Irish to a girls basketball lead they would not relinquish.

Notre Dame's hot early shooting Feb. 11 staked the Irish to a girls basketball lead they would not relinquish.

A 60-43 ND victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A East Peoria Regional ended the host team's season.

The Irish hit seven of their first nine shots from the floor in the first 5 minutes, 19 seconds to take a 19-5 lead.

Nicole Montgomery had all 11 of her points in the second half to pace fourth-seeded East Peoria (12-16).

Maggie Maloff buried three 3-pointers in the opening quarter.

"For two weeks, we've been practicing for this game," EPCHS head coach Jay Bowman said. "We lost (Maloff) way too much right in the beginning."

Trailing by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, the Raiders got within nine on a couple occasions in the fourth.

There were costly turnovers throughout, preventing East Peoria from really dialing up the heat on No. 5 seed ND.

"Every time it looked like we were going to make a run, we got loose with the ball," said Bowman.

The only points of the opening period for the Raiders came on a Michaela Reedy basket and Sarah Kurth trey.

Reedy had all of her 10 points in the first three quarters. She was 3-of-6 from the floor and made each of her four free throws.

East Peoria quickly cut the gap to nine points as the second period commenced.

Ally Watson made a pair of foul shots before a Ciera Montgomery old-fashioned three-point play.

That started a Raider parade to the charity stripe. Despite no other field goals, the Mid-Illini Conference representative stayed in range by sinking 9-of-14 free throws from the 6:34 mark to 0:33.9.

The Irish were ahead, 29-17, at intermission as Matti Bielfeldt had 10 of her 14 points. She had a double-double with 11 rebounds.

A 7-0 ND spurt after a Reedy bucket to start the second half put East Peoria in a 36-19 hole.

Ciera Montgomery went to work. She was 3-of-3 from the floor the rest of the quarter and also snagged three rebounds as part of a nine-point night.

By the time Reedy scored off a turnover and Nicole Montgomery buried a 3 with 10 seconds remaining in the third, the Raiders were down only 42-32.

Nicole Montgomery converted two more hoops at the beginning of the fourth period to slice the East Peoria deficit to 45-36 with plenty of time to go.

But Caitlin Haisler responded for the Irish with three straight baskets to increase the margin to 15.

Eleven of Haisler's game-high 15 points came in the second half.

The Raiders tried for one final charge. A Jaycie Stealy deuce, followed by a Kurth trey, trimmed the girls' shortfall to 52-43 with 3:26 left.

But East Peoria did not score the rest of the way, and ND split eight free throws while getting buckets from their starting backcourt to advance.

The Raiders had trouble finding the right tempo.

"We did not know when to slow down and when to speed up," Bowman said.

East Peoria's Kylie Giebelhausen had a solid floor game, including a team-best seven rebounds, but could not get a field goal to fall.

The Raiders improved by seven wins from the 2011-12 season.

Check out an upcoming edition of the East Peoria Times-Courier and for a Raider girls basketball season wrap-up.