By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Feb. 28, 2019 12:30 am Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 2:21 am
BELLEVILLE, Ill. — The team that teetered on the edge of success all season found itself in a precarious position yet again Wednesday night.
It couldn’t make the one play necessary to tilt the outcome in its favor.
“That was us in a nutshell,” Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas said after his team trimmed a nine-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to one but never took the lead in a 53-45 loss to Chatham Glenwood in the Class 4A Belleville West Regional semifinals.
“We dug ourselves a hole, but fought like crazy to get it back. It came back to bite us in the end. That’s unfortunate because we’ve played so well and we’ve gotten over some of those things late in the season. This time, it came back to bite us.”
It’s not the first time. Of the Blue Devils’ 12 losses, 11 were by eight points or less.
“We stayed together no matter how down we got,” Quincy senior guard Jaeden Smith said. “Throughout the season, we were always there for each other. We always fought.”
It’s how the Blue Devils (14-12) won seven of their final eight games of the regular season to ensure they’d finish with a winning record.
It’s also why Wednesday’s effort was so frustrating.
Quincy’s struggles rebounding — Glenwood grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and 13 overall — and getting crucial stops were inescapable.
The Titans, who will face second-ranked Belleville West in Friday’s regional championship, fended off the Blue Devils with four second-chance points in succession in the fourth quarter and got six consecutive points from junior guard Luke Lehnen to turn a one-point lead into a seven-point bulge.
“We made a couple runs and had chances to be in the game, but we gave it away in the second quarter and late in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “That was the key to the game.”
That came after Quincy rebounded from a crushing blow.
Jirehl Brock turned a steal in the final seconds of the third quarter into a breakaway dunk to trim the deficit to 30-25, but he also was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim with three seconds left in the quarter.
Lehnen made 1 of 2 free throws, and Titans guard Jason Hansbrough hit an open 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to make it a 34-25 advantage.
“We struggled getting going offensively, and everything was difficult,” Douglas said. “(Glenwood) took care of the basketball against our pressure. It was off. Everything was a little off. Shots that normally drop didn’t drop. Steals or tips we normally get we didn’t come up with. That’s just how our night went.”
After freshman Jeremiah Talton made two 3-pointers as part of an eight-point run to start the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils were on that edge of success again.
Glenwood never folded.
“We’ve been there this season, and we’ve weathered a few storms throughout the season,” Titans coach Todd Blakeman said. “You knew Quincy wasn’t going to die. I’m proud of the way our kids came back and handled themselves and stayed composed.”
Class 4A Belleville West Regional
Chatham Glenwood 53, Quincy 45