By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Kirk Kvitle may not know he gets under his son’s skin.
Now that he does, he may not want to stop.
Inspired by one of his dad’s pre-game pep talks, Martin Kvitle helped the Quincy High School boys basketball team get off to a more enthusiastic and productive start Saturday night as the Blue Devils turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 48-41 victory over Hinsdale South.
“He always talks to me and it makes me mad and motivates me too,” said Kvitle, the junior guard who scored seven of his game-high 20 points in the second half. “Every time, it gets me.”
This time, though, Kvitle shared the fatherly advice.
“He said Michael Jordan would develop extreme hates for somebody else,” Kvitle said. “That’s what I was telling (DeAngelo Dean) tonight. Act like one of these guys was coming into our house and threatening someone. I told him, ‘You have a sister. You know how mad you would get. Get it.'”
Defensively, the Blue Devils (11-6) played angry.
Quincy limited Hinsdale South’s top two scorers — 6-foot-8 senior forward Brock Benson and 5-11 senior guard Phil George — to a combined 18 points and forced them to go 6 of 25 from the field. The high-scoring duo had averaged 44 points over the previous six games with both setting career scoring highs during that stretch.
“I thought we guarded their best two players as well as we could have,” Quincy coach Sean Taylor said.
It helped his team got mad.
“You could tell by the look on everybody’s face we were ready to play,” said Kvitle, who went 10 of 12 from the free-throw line and finished with 20 points and four assists. “It worked.”
It changed the trend of sluggish starts.
Although the Hornets (9-8) scored the game’s first four points, the Blue Devils answered with Kvitle scoring off a backdoor alley-oop and Mason Fairley following with a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 5-4 advantage. Quincy never trailed again.
Trailing by five points at the end of the first quarter, Hinsdale South cut the lead to 18-16 on George’s runner with 4 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the first half. However, Quincy scored on seven of its final eight possessions of the half and led 30-21 at the break.
It is only the third time in the last nine games the Blue Devils have owned a halftime lead. The Hornets never got closer than five points in the second half.
“With the lead, you don’t want to be super, super aggressive,” Kvitle said. “We couldn’t let them maintain the tempo they wanted. We had to still come out and compete and make them feel like they had to rush shots.”
The Hornets did just that. Hinsdale South went 7 of 26 from the field (26.9 percent) in the second half as George went 1 of 10. He finished 3 of 19 from the field and missed all seven 3-point attempts, finishing with just 10 points.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils had three players in double figures as Fairley scored 11 points and Dean finished with 10.
It was a nice way to rebound for Kvitle and Fairley, who combined for just 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field and 2-of-9 shooting from 3-point range in Friday’s loss at Rock Island.
“Martin is becoming really comfortable running point,” Taylor said. “And Mason is playing with a renewed sense of confidence. He has a bounce in his step. He is just playing with a ton more confidence.”