Congratulations to Coach Doug Bruner on a great accomplishment. Well deserved coach!
Congratulations to Coach Doug Bruner on a great accomplishment. Well deserved coach!
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
QUINCY — Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas didn’t want the Blue Devils shying away from Chicago Corliss center George Conditt IV because they were scared to get their shots blocked.
Truth be told, Douglas welcomed a few swats.
“If he had zero blocks, we weren’t working hard enough,” Douglas said.
The Blue Devils made sure that wasn’t a concern.
Attacking off the dribble and challenging the 6-foot-10 Iowa State signee at the rim, Quincy turned a five-point halftime lead into a rout, ending the Trojans’ 15-game winning streak with a 66-41 victory Saturday night at Blue Devil Gym.
The critical sequence came over the final four minutes of the third quarter as a six-point game became an 11-point advantage thanks to the Blue Devils’ relentless nature. It started with Jirehl Brock tipping in a missed 3-pointer by Jaeden Smith and ended with Ben Amos catching a nifty pass from Aaron Shoot for a layup out of Conditt’s reach.
“We knew he was tall, and we knew he could jump,” Shoot said. “We tried to make it a point to get in there and still get looks. We didn’t want to settle for outside shots all night.”
Still, Conditt’s presence was undeniable.
He had two dunks in the first quarter and helped the Trojans build a 14-11 lead. However, Shoot drove to the middle of the lane on the final possession of the quarter, hesitated with his shot to get Conditt up in the air and buried a short jumper.
He did the same thing on the first possession of the second quarter, developing a blueprint for how to avoid a shot blocker.
“That’s one of things Coach talked about in the locker room. We had to get him off his feet,” Shoot said. “He’d either foul us or get a look at the basket.”
At the same time, the Blue Devils challenged the Trojans’ guards with the 1-2-2 zone defense. Corliss held the ball for more than two minutes on its first possession of the game and stayed very methodical offensively. Corliss scored just four points of the final 5:55 of the first half as Quincy turned a two-point deficit into a five-point lead. The Trojans committed three of their 18 turnovers in that stretch.
“Because we got it to the paint, it opened up a lot for us in the long room,” Douglas said.
Quincy scored 10 of its 12 field goals in the first half in the paint and had 42 points in the paint overall despite Conditt blocking six shots. The Blue Devils also had the edge on second-chance points, scoring 12 off eight offensive rebounds. The Trojans had five points off 10 offensive rebounds.
Conditt finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We told them, ‘Don’t shy away from him. Don’t change your shot. Don’t be scared to get your shot blocked,'” Douglas said.
No one was.
“You can’t be,” said Quincy guard Jaeden Smith, who led the Blue Devils with 15 points. “He’s going to block shots. He’s 6-foot-10. He should block some shots. But if you get your shot blocked, you just keep going in there. You can’t be afraid to attack.”
Nor could the Blue Devils shy away from pressure.
Corliss played in-your-shorts man-to-man defense from start to finish, but the Blue Devils turned the ball over just once in the first half and just five times overall.
Quincy shot 50.9 percent from the field and made 6 of 7 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the game.
“It was a whole team effort,” Douglas said. “I was proud of the effort they put forth.”
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
GALESBURG, Ill. — When Andy Douglas reached the bottom of his pregame list of talking points, he forgot why he wrote “pick and choose” on the dry erase board.
“I blanked,” the Quincy High School boys basketball coach said. “I had no idea.”
The Blue Devils had a clue what he meant.
Possession after possession, they picked the right time to attack the basket or to pass up a quality shot to get a better look. It led to the most efficient offensive effort of the season in Friday night’s 70-33 steamrolling of Galesburg in Western Big Six Conference play at John Thiel Gym.
“That was probably the best game we’ve had collectively as a team,” junior guard Jirehl Brock said. “Everybody was getting shots. There was no selfish play. There were a lot of two-, three-, four-pass possessions before a shot.
“Not all of them went in, but a majority of them did.”
The Blue Devils (13-3, 4-1 WB6) set the tone by opening the game on an 8-0 run.
Facing Galesburg’s aggressive and physical man-to-man defense, Quincy point guard Aaron Shoot scored on the first two possessions, driving past his defender for a layup and pulling up for a 10-foot jumper in the lane. Ben Amos scored the next two times, dribbling into the lane and spinning around a defender for a bucket and scoring on a layup.
“When you’re attacking the rim and you’re being aggressive, it really opens up things,” said Shoot, who scored 17 points in the first half and finished with 22. “We saw a lot of mismatches, and we liked a lot of matchups with our guys. I had a good matchup, Ben had a good matchup, and we took advantage of it.”
A timeout settled the Silver Streaks (16-7, 2-3 WB6) down momentarily as they answered the Blue Devils’ opening salvo with a 6-0 run. However, Quincy scored on five consecutive possessions to close the quarter and built a 21-14 lead.
“We knew we had the potential to take over the game completely,” said Brock, who finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals.. “That’s exactly what we did.”
After scoring the first basket of the second quarter, Galesburg committed turnovers on eight of its next nine possessions. By the time the half ended, the Blue Devils outscored the Silver Streaks 24-7 in the second quarter and led by 24 points at halftime.
Quincy went 18 of 30 from the field (60 percent) and 6 of 12 from 3-point range (50 percent) in the first half.
“We’ve really hit that hard the last couple weeks of what a good shot is and trying to get them to understand it,” Douglas said. “Tonight it was like a light bulb went off. I can’t think of a bad shot we took in the first half. None of them were forced shots.”
The Blue Devils missed their first two shots of the third quarter, but it never opened a window of opportunity for the Silver Streaks.
Galesburg missed its first 11 shots of the third quarter, didn’t score until 1:20 remained before the fourth quarter and got outscored 18-4 to start the second half.
“They had the five best players on the floor,” Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds said.
The Blue Devils finished shooting 50.9 percent from the field without one of the top seven players in the rotation playing a minute of the fourth quarter.
“We were playing unselfish, sharing the ball and not worrying about who is getting the points,” said Shoot, who had four of the Blue Devils’ 13 assists. “When we’re moving it around, shots tend to fall because they’re in-rhythm shots.”
It helps to pick and choose the right time for everything. Even if Douglas didn’t remember why he wrote those words, the Blue Devils will expect to see that phrase on the board again.
“Aaron said, ‘You know you have to write that on the board every game we play now,'” Douglas said.
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
QUINCY — Jaeden Smith passed up a sure thing for a wow thing.
It didn’t work quite like he planned.
So the next time the junior guard found himself alone on a breakaway, Smith didn’t waste his chance to score and made certain the Quincy High School boys basketball team came away with a victory.
Smith turned a steal into a layup a minute into the fourth quarter Friday night, ending a five-minute scoring drought and re-energizing the defense as the Blue Devils dispatched United Township 61-48 in Western Big Six Conference action at Blue Devil Gym.
“Coach got on me about the pass to Jirehl (Brock) and told me I should have just finished it,” said Smith, who had 11 points and five steals. “We couldn’t get a stop on defense and needed to get points on the board to pick up our energy. I just did it that time, got the steal, got the points and got our team energized.”
He tried to do that midway through the third quarter, but the move backfired.
The Blue Devils (12-3, 3-1 WB6) led 45-32 when Smith snared a pass near midcourt and went in for an uncontested layup. Instead of taking the points, he tossed the ball off the backboard for Brock, who was trailing the play, to catch and throw down a two-handed dunk.
Brock’s dunk attempt hit off the back of the iron and caromed nearly to midcourt. He also was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and the subsequent free throw made by the Panthers’ Shamar Grant kickstarted an 8-0 run that pulled United Township within 45-40 less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.
“That play, we need to see the ball go through the rim,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “When you’re missing shot after shot after shot, but you’re getting good looks, you just need to see the ball go in the basket. We made the flashy play over the smart one.”
The Blue Devils went eight straight possessions without scoring after that.
“That missed dunk turned things around, and we got that little run,” the Panthers’ Jean Luc Wilson said. “If we could have made one or two more shots in that quarter, we would have won this game. We will sure use this as a momentum builder for our team. We proved we can compete with a great team on their court.”
Wilson, who had a game-high 16 points, scored from the high post immediately after Smith’s layup, making the score 47-42. The Blue Devils responded by scoring the next six points.
United Township (7-9, 0-4 WB6) committed four of its 21 turnovers in the fourth quarter, missed six of its final nine shots and had one player other than Wilson make a field goal in the final 11 minutes.
“When they started coming back, it was because we lacked energy,” said QHS point guard Aaron Shoot, who finished with 13 points, six assists and five steals. “Once we picked up the energy, we kind of calmed down and played tough defense.”
It was reminiscent of the way the Blue Devils played in the first half.
Coming off a two-week break — they hadn’t played since beating Edwardsville on Dec. 30 in the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic — the Blue Devils built a 21-10 lead by scoring on nine consecutive possessions in the first quarter. They finished the second quarter by scoring on six of the final nine possessions and led 37-24 at the break.
Quincy went 11 of 14 from the field inside the 3-point stripe in the first half but just 4 of 15 from 3-point range.
That’s why the Blue Devils started the second half with a concerted effort to get the ball inside. They made their first four shots in the paint, but then missed 11 straight shots.
“We have confidence in our guys,” Shoot said. “They missed a few shots, but I kept telling them, ‘Keep shooting it. Keep shooting it.’ Those were great shots. Those are shots we look for.”
They finally fell in the fourth quarter in order to put away a victory in the Blue Devils’ first game at home since Dec. 9.
“It was really good,” Shoot said. “It had been a long time.”
Congrats to Aaron Shoot as he joins a list of well deserving players on the All-Tournament Team.
2017 All-Tournament Team:
Ray’Sean Taylor- Cville
Keydrian Jones- Cville
Terrion Murdix- Southeast
Kobe Medley- Southeast
Jack Marinko- Eville
Terrance Hargrove Jr.- ESTL
Brenden Gillmann- Oakville
Scott Gowan- Rockford East
Aaron Shoot- Quincy
Isaiah Bowers- Lincoln
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — The Edwardsville boys basketball coaching staff decided to test Quincy High School’s lesser known shooters, specifically sagging off Collin Tenhouse each time the senior forward caught the ball 15 or more feet from the basket.
So when Tenhouse checked out of the lineup 31/2 minutes into Saturday’s fifth-place game of the 34th annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, the Tigers were forced to make a decision.
Loosely guard a different player on the perimeter to provide protection in the lane or play the Blue Devils straight up?
Edwardsville made the wrong choice.
Quincy junior guard Jirehl Brock, with Edwardsville’s RJ Wilson dropping off each time he caught the ball outside, made three uncontested 3-pointers, scored a career-high 21 points and also caused an equal amount of havoc defensively in the Blue Devils’ 69-58 victory at Vergil Fletcher Gym.
“They put a guy who wasn’t really comfortable playing out on the perimeter on us, and we kind of made them pay,” Brock said.
The Tigers paid dearly.
Brock drilled his first 3-pointer 11 seconds after Tenhouse checked out, kickstarting a 12-4 run to end the first quarter. He hit two more 3-pointers in the third quarter and then offered up his signature move — a steal at the top of 1-2-2 zone press that he converts into a breakaway dunk — late in the frame.
It was the start of a 19-6 surge that gave Quincy a 21-point lead with 4:16 remaining in regulation.
“They made a lot of perimeter shots we weren’t counting on,” Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo said.
The Blue Devils (11-3) also forced five turnovers during the first-half scoring splurge and four more during the second-half stretch. Overall, the Tigers committed 18 turnovers as the Blue Devils stayed active defensively the entire 32 minutes.
“A lot of that comes from the fact that’s Edwardsville,” Quincy point guard Aaron Shoot said. “Everybody kind of knows the history between Quincy and Edwardsville. We knew this could be one of the years we could get them. That motivated us a lot to intensify our defense.”
Quincy turned two of Edwardsville’s first three turnovers into points in building an 11-4 lead before Waldo called timeout with 3:44 to go in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils scored 17 points off turnovers overall and 10 points in transition.
“We had something to fight for, and it’s right in front of you,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “It’s one thing to say we’re fighting for a trophy game one, but when it comes down to it at the end, is it the trophy we wanted from the start? No, but it is what was right in front of us.
“I thought our guys did a really good job of focusing in on that and doing things offensively and defensively that we needed.”
In the second half, that meant taking better shots.
After shooting 37.9 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range in the first half, Quincy went 14 of 21 from the field (66.7 percent) and 7 of 12 from 3-point range (58.3) percent in the second half.
“With anybody, you see one go in, then you see another one go in and people start finding you in rhythm,” Brock said.
The ball movement and unselfishness made getting good looks easier. Quincy committed just six turnovers — three in each half — and had 13 assists, seven coming from Shoot. He and Jaeden Smith each finished with 12 points.
Jack Marinko led Edwardsville (9-3) with 21 points, but he went 3 of 9 from 3-point range and committed nine turnovers against a Quincy team that produced its most complete effort of the tournament.
“It was just the fifth-place game, but it was more than that,” Brock said. “Edwardsville is in our sectional and last year they got the first seed. We just know how good of a program they have and the fact it would be a really good thing to get a win against them.”
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
When Andy Douglas sat down — by rule, not by choice — he momentarily feared things could begin to unravel if the Quincy High School boys basketball team didn’t show some composure.
The most composed player on the floor made sure Douglas didn’t have to worry.
“Once again, it comes back to a word I use quite often, that’s leadership,” Douglas said. “Aaron Shoot got everyone together and said, ‘Hey, we’re not letting this one go.’
“He kind of had a look in his eye of ‘Coach, we got this. I’ve got this.'”
Three minutes remained in the third quarter Saturday night at the Pit in the annual renewal of the crosstown rivalry with Quincy Notre Dame when Douglas, the fourth-year QHS coach, slammed his fist down on the padding of the media table in disgust over a foul call on Shoot.
A long rebound of a missed 3-pointer turned into a fastbreak opportunity for the Raiders’ Tommy Ray. Hustling back defensively, Shoot slipped in behind Ray in hopes of causing enough of a distraction for him to miss the layup. Whatever contact occurred was enough to draw a foul call from official Mike Bromley.
Douglas’ response earned him a technical foul, and Bromley very demonstratively told the coach to sit down.
In a raucous environment, the Blue Devils could have been hijacked emotionally. Instead, Shoot made sure they stayed focused.
“Aaron said, ‘We’re not going to worry about it. We’re going to stretch our lead, and they’re not coming back,” QHS senior forward Ben Amos said. “Aaron was the motivator. He believed it, I believed it, and I think the team believed it.”
That’s the confidence a leader shining through.
“When we see Coach Douglas get fired up like that and put himself out there for the team, it definitely gets us fired up,” Shoot said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, it’s time to go now. Stop messing around and turn it on.'”
Ray’s four free throws tied the game at 34, but Shoot gave the Blue Devils the lead for good with a layup two possessions later. After Ben Amos was called for a foul blocking a Jase Wallingford shot on the next possession, Shoot corralled Amos and made sure he didn’t say or do anything to get hit with a technical foul of his own.
Shoot then fed Amos for a field goal from the block as he orchestrated a 9-0 run that gave the Blue Devils some breathing room.
“That’s who he is,” Douglas said. “To dominate the ball the way he did in the second half was impressive. He pretty much keep running spread and saying, ‘Keep giving me the ball. If I get a shot, I get a shot. If I don’t and they send a double team, I’ll get it to the open guy.’ He made the right decision nearly every time.”
Such a presence is invaluable.
The Blue Devils won the championship of the 47th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament despite Shoot playing only one game after suffering a sprained ankle in the second half of the season opener.
It wasn’t until the following weekend when the Blue Devils suffered an epic loss at Moline and a heart-breaking loss to Oswego that Shoot’s leadership was truly missed. It pained him to sit idly by and watch it happen, so much so that after tweaking the injury again Friday night in the victory at Rock Island, there was no way he was going to sit again.
His direction and control proved invaluable.
“There were a couple times, myself included, where we got a little bit out of control and shot a couple of bad shots,” Shoot said. “In the second and third quarters, I tried to start getting us in spots getting us to execute good offensive plays. It led to easy buckets, and it kind of broke them down and slowed their pressure down. That’s what ultimately gave us the lead.”
Shoot wouldn’t let go of it.
“The way he’s fought through as much adversity as he’s already had to fight through, to come out tonight and put the team on his back and refuse to lose, that was huge for us,” Douglas said.
By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
Where and when the plan was hatched is inconsequential at this point.
All that mattered to Aaron Shoot and Ben Amos was finding the chance to execute it.
Prior to the fourth quarter Saturday night, there hadn’t been a moment set up for a rim-rattling dunk. Yet, in the closing minutes against Quincy Notre Dame, in front of a packed house at the Pit, it nearly happened.
With the Quincy High School boys basketball team leading by six, Shoot drove hard to the lane and had a chance to go at the rim with Amos trailing him from the high post. Shoot was fouled and never had the opportunity to toss an alley-oop off the backboard.
“He was looking at me and was like, ‘That was the one. Throw that,'” Shoot said.
Two possessions later, Shoot didn’t waste a second chance.
“As soon as I got the steal, I turned and looked at him,” Shoot said. “I didn’t look back again. I just took off, threw it off the glass and counted on him being there.”
Amos didn’t disappoint. Catching the ball with both hands, he hammered down a two-handed dunk that was exclamation point on the Blue Devils’ 58-46 victory, their third straight in the crosstown rivalry.
Moreso, it was the exclamation point on Amos’ arrival into the big time.
The 6-foot-5 senior forward has been efficient and effective all season as the Blue Devils’ primary — often only — big man. He came into the game averaging 11.4 points after a 17-point effort last Friday in the victory at Rock Island and was shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
Yet, he was faced with the task of taking on QND’s big men — 6-8 Jase Wallingford and 6-4, 290-pound Jonny Bottorff. Wallingford was coming off a career-high 19-point performance against Palmyra and Bottorff was considered the immovable force.
Wallingford and Bottorff combined for eight points and four rebounds and attempted just four field goals. Meanwhile, Amos made the first basket of the game on a jumper in the middle of the lane, scored the last one with the dunk and finished with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
He made it abundantly clear he can hold his own.
“One-hundred percent, he was the best big man on the floor,” Shoot said. “That’s no disrespect to the school across town. They have incredible big guys, too, and they all played well. I just think he won the battle. I have confidence in our players, and I think he was the best player on the floor.
“That shows his mental toughness and how far he’s come.”
A year ago, Amos was the first player off the QHS bench when the season began and started the final game during the QHS Thanksgiving Tournament. However, by the time the QND game rolled around, his minutes had dwindled. He finished the season averaging 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds.
It left a lingering doubt how Amos would handle the workload this season.
He’s erased all those doubts.
“He’s getting better and better every single game and you can see that,” Shoot said. “He’s in another zone right now. He’s really locked in.”
That shows up in the boxscore.
What doesn’t is his commanding presence in the lane and along the baseline defensively.
“You can look at 18 points and be wowed by that,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “What I’m wowed by is his defense. He had the best block of the night, which ended up being a foul, but you saw there he wasn’t going to let it be easy on anyone inside.”
Douglas was referencing the foul called on Amos as he tried to block Wallingford’s shot late in the third quarter.
Amos’ reaction showed he felt he blocked the shot cleanly, but instead of getting irate with the call, he made quick amends. Wallingford missed both free throws, and Amos scored from the block on the ensuing possession. It was part of an 11-1 run that gave the Blue Devils control.
“He kept his emotions in check,” Douglas said. “For the most part, our guys did a good job of that. It’s an emotional environment. It’s an emotional weekend. We did a decent job of holding things in check, and that comes back to seniors showing their leadership.”
By doing so, it opened up the opportunity to have a little fun.
Shoot and Amos had the perfect plan in place for such an occasion.
By David Adam Herald-Whig
QUINCY — For the second consecutive year, a technical foul turned the tide in the annual basketball showdown between Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame.
A technical foul on Blue Devils coach Andy Douglas led to four consecutive free throws for the Raiders and a 34-34 score with three minutes to play in the third quarter. However, QHS buckled down and didn’t allow a field goal for the next 6 1/2 minutes and went on to win 58-46 on Saturday night in the Pit.
QND was leading last year’s game 39-38 late in the third quarter when an offensive foul against Jacob Mayfield was followed by a technical foul. The Raiders eventually lost their momentum and lost 68-50.
QND was trailing 34-30 on Saturday when Jacob Ary’s jump shot was blocked by Tommy Ray. Mac Little swatted the rebound ahead to Ray, who missed a layup while being harassed by Aaron Shoot. Official Mike Bromley called a foul on Shoot, and when Douglas protested, Bromley slapped him with the technical.
“I didn’t think Aaron hit him,” Douglas said. “I thought he swiped at the ball. I was a little upset about that. I told the coaching staff, ‘What’s it going to take to get a foul called on our end of the court?’ I found out.”
This time, the technical foul gave the Blue Devils reason to regroup — and redouble their defensive efforts. Shoot gathered the team to talk while Ray made his free throws.
“I was wondering if we were going to stay composed, but I knew we would because of our senior leadership,” junior guard Jaeden Smith said. “We know how to play together and play hard.”
The Blue Devils closed the third quarter with seven straight points. Shoot stole the ball for a layup, then found Ben Amos for a basket. His pull-up jumper from the free-throw line was followed by an Amos free throw.
“(The Blue Devils) got together, and they got their composure,” Raiders coach Kevin Meyer said. “We didn’t lose our compusure, but we were like, ‘Oh, hey, we’re tied.’ There was a little different sense of urgency on the other side.”
Smith opened the fourth quarter with a layup on a pass from Jirehl Brock, and after Ray split two free throws, Shoot scored with 6:31 to play to give QHS the biggest lead of the game at 45-35 with 6:31 to play.
Meanwhile, the Raiders went 13 consecutive possessions without a basket until Ray made a 3-pointer with 4:27 to play. Amos closed the Blue Devils’ defensive run by blocking shots by Ray and Little, then forcing Ray into a difficult shot along the baseline.
“We’re very aggressive defensively, and a lot of teams QND faces play more relaxed zones,” Amos said. “We pressure off the first pass, and it wasn’t something they experienced at our tempo.
“If they do get by us, I’m back there.”
The Blue Devils’ zone choked off any sort of inside advantage the Raiders have enjoyed against several opponents season. Jase Wallingford, Jonny Bottorff and Clay Venvertloh combined for just six shots and 11 points.
“Honestly, I don’t really know why we didn’t get it inside,” Wallingford said. “They were just flying around. If we do get it in there, everybody collapses and we get more open shots, but they just did a good job and stopped us from what we do best.”
QND made just six 2-point shots in the game, none coming in the second half, and turned the ball over 21 times.
“We were stagnant, flat-footed, in the first half,” Douglas said. “I told them to extend a little bit (in the second half). Don’t be afraid to anticipate some passes. I thought we had a little more bounce and a little more energy.”
“I give (the Blue Devils) a ton of credit,” Meyer said. “They did a good job of rotating. We have to get the ball in the middle (of the zone) quickly, and we have to attack before they rotate, but we didn’t do what we wanted to do. We moved the ball side from side, and that wasn’t good for us.”
The Raiders eventually cut the lead to six points on three occasions in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.
Little had 12 for the Raiders. Shoot had 23 for the Blue Devils. Amos scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots — as well as advice for his coach the next time a technical foul might be coming.
“Keep doing it,” he said with a grin. “It’s a motivator. It puts a spark in us tonight. We took it upon ourselves, and we all stepped up.”
By MARC NESSELER
Special to The Herald-Whig
ROCK ISLAND – Alleman coach Kyle Murray figured that Quincy High School would come out fired out for Friday night’s boys’ basketball matchup at Don Morris Gymnasium.
However, he couldn’t have fathomed that the Devils would have THAT kind of start.
Quincy scored the first 18 points and Alleman didn’t score until 100 seconds were left in the first quarter as the Blue Devils cruised in their second week of Western Big Six road tests, winning 66-50.
“Let’s face facts. We knew Quincy would come out fired up, especially after last year’s upset (by the Pioneers at Morris Gym),” Murray said. “Plus they had their best guard (Aaron Shoot) back, so that’s going to give them confidence, and they way they shot gave them even more confidence. It just snowballed.”
Throw in the fact that Quincy suffered its worst WB6 loss ever last week against Wharton Field House against Moline and, yeah, the Blue Devils (4-2, 1-1 WB6) were highly motivated.
Quincy coach Andy Douglas, though, said there was even more to that stunning – and Morris Gym silencing – start.
“I think it was the energy here. It’s a very unique atmosphere,” he said. “This is a special place where their fans generate a lot of energy, and our guys created their own energy.”
Quincy hit nine of its 10 first-quarter shots in building a 21-4 lead. That carried over into the second quarter as well, as the Blue Devils finished the half with a 15-of-22 showing. One of those misses came at the halftime horn by Jirehl Brock, only his second miss of that half. He finished with team highs of 16 points and five rebounds.
Brock also was the focus of attention in the game’s final minutes when he went down hard after a shot attempt and took a knee to the head. He suffered a deep gash above his left eye, with Douglas saying he was fine “after they Krazy Glued it.”
The night was going to be memorable for Alleman with the halftime Hall of Fame inductions of Peter Callas, Mike Ebner, AJ Ledbetter and the 1998 softball team. However, it looked as if, basketball-wise, it was going to one to quickly forgettable.
Instead, Alleman (6-2, 1-1) bounced back to make a representative showing, outscoring Quincy by two points outside of that 18-0 start.
“One thing our guys know is that you can’t go back on your heels. You’ve got to be aggressive with your play,” Douglas said. “At halftime, they knew that with two quarters left, anything could happen.”
To get to the finish with a margin close to the start, Quincy got strong bench play. Adonte Crider had 11 points, Zarious Smith-Palmer added six and Lucas Reis had four. The latter two were Quincy’s last reserves.
To get the game down to an 11-point deficit before Quincy had a five-point game-ending run, the Pioneers counted heavily on Andrew Barrett. He finished with game-highs of 17 points, all but two of those in the second half, and nine rebounds.
“We knew we would hit some adversity at some point,” Barrett said, pointing to the game’s outset. “In a way, it’s good to get that out of the way. We knew Quincy was going to be tough coming out of that Moline game (a week ago), but we showed we can play with a lot of teams” by the way the Pioneers battled back.
“We made some adjustments to pick up the pressure in the second half,” Murray noted. “I think we caught Quincy off-guard with that.”
The Alleman coach says his team must get used to teams coming in as the Blue Devils did.
“To go from the hunter to the hunted, we have to be mentally prepared,” he said. “Teams will come after us.”