By Mat Mikesell Herald-Whig
QUINCY — The Quincy High School boys basketball team expects its defense to help it win games.
Saturday night, the offense did its part, too.
Quincy shot 52.3 percent from the floor to hand Class 4A No. 8 Geneva its second straight loss in a 63-45 victory at Blue Devil Gym. The victory was Quincy’s 28th straight at home, and the Blue Devils can extend that streak in next Friday’s game against Moline along with winning an outright Western Big Six Conference championship.
“We always talk about energy on the defensive side and that’s an emphasis in this program,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “But tonight we were energetic on offense. We were able to get the ball inside and crash the glass.
“Parker Bland was huge for us tonight with those offensive rebounds.”
Bland needed just five minutes to show the Vikings (26-2) he was going to control the basket area.
The Quincy senior forward corralled four offensive boards in the opening quarter, and he turned each into a putback. He scored 10 points in the first eight minutes to give Quincy (20-4) a 20-8 lead.
“We just knew we had to be more physical than them,” Bland said. “I definitely feel like we were able to do that.”
The Blue Devils made that an emphasis knowing the Vikings lost their first game of the season — a 62-20 overtime setback on Friday to St. Charles North — and could come into Quincy with more fire.
“We kind of wished we could have handed the first loss here,” Bland said. “Being able to jump on them early got them down on themselves and flustered. That helped to our benefit.”
Bland and sophomore guard Jaeden Smith combined for 20 of Quincy’s first 22 points. Smith scored the Blue Devils’ first six points on a pair of 3-pointers well beyond the arc.
“They were giving it to me so I took it,” Smith said. “My shot’s been on the last couple weeks. It’s never felt better.”
Bland didn’t attempt a shot in the second quarter, but made his first five shots of the third quarter to help Quincy build a 44-23 advantage with 4:07 remaining. He finished with a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds, five offensive.
Smith added 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and three assists.
“Bland just jumped up, grabbed it and put it right back in,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said.
Quincy led by double digits for the entire second half and shot 59 percent in the second half. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils held the Vikings to 37.5 percent shooting in the second half and 39 percent for the game.
“The word I’d use is efficient,” Douglas said. “We were efficient on offense and defense tonight.”