Blue Devils go on the attack, get back in win column


Photo taken by Shelly Kraemer (SK Photography)

By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 13, 2015 1:05 am

QUINCY — Cameron Gay never hesitated.

When he noticed his 3-point attempt from the left wing might be off the mark, the Quincy High School senior guard bolted to get in position for the offensive rebound. Since no one on the Springfield boys basketball team deterred him, Gay gobbled up the board and made the putback less than 90 seconds into Saturday night’s game.

The Blue Devils kept right on attacking. Quincy pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, scored 11 second-chance points and rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 59-43 victory at Blue Devil Gym.

“What I always do is follow my shot,” said Gay, who had 10 points and four rebounds. “It’s what you’re supposed to do. You just have to have that mindset.”

It allowed Quincy (6-1) to control the game and the tempo. One night after trailing Rock Island the final 30 minutes, the Blue Devils never trailed, turned a six-point halftime edge into a 19-point lead by the end of the third quarter and stayed undefeated at home.

Better yet, there was no carryover from Friday night’s 15-point loss.

“At some point, you just have to let that go,” Gay said. “You have to move on to the next opponent.”

That meant being prepared for a Springfield team developing a reputation for attacking the glass.

The Senators had six offensive rebounds in the first six minutes and finished with eight offensive rebounds and five second-chance points in the first half. It allowed Springfield to trail only 29-23 at halftime despite shooting 34.6 percent from the field.

“They’re so aggressive shooting and so aggressive getting to the glass,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “You have to match that and take it away.”

In the second half, Quincy took everything away.

Springfield guard Isaac Nelson, who had 15 points, knocked down a pair of pull-up jumpers in the first 50 seconds of the third quarter, trimming Quincy’s lead to 31-27 before the Blue Devils locked in defensively. The Senators made just two field goals the next 11 minutes, 32 seconds, falling behind 55-31.

Springfield went 2 of 18 in that stretch, grabbing just three offensive rebounds. Both made field goals came on putbacks.

“We did a good job of stopping them from getting the shots that they wanted, whether it was penetration inside or driving and kicking to shooters,” said Douglas, whose defense held the Senators to 32.1 percent shooting overall. “Defensively, we locked up and we ended the play. That was crucial.”

Quincy outrebounded Springfield 40-27.

“No matter who shoots the ball, Coach wants us to have at least three or four guys rebounding,” Gay said. “We have guys who can do that.”

They also have guys who can finish around the rim. The Blue Devils shot 46.3 percent from the field, knocking down 8 of 12 shots in the third quarter when they outscored the Senators 19-6. Parker Bland had nine of his 15 points in the third quarter, but he insisted the defense is what fueled everything.

“We knew we had to keep them from getting to the middle,” said Bland, who added eight rebounds. “Every time they got to the middle, they’d kick it out. That’s how all of their plays developed. Once we got the middle contained, we were able to play off that real well.”

It led to holding an opponent to fewer than 50 points for the sixth time in seven games.

“We have to be able to guard our yard if you will,” Douglas said. “We cleaned up what we didn’t do well against Rocky, but we really didn’t put it all together until the second half.”