By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Jan. 26, 2020 12:20 am
QUINCY — Turnovers and miscues by the Quincy High School boys basketball team cracked the door open just wide enough late in the fourth quarter for Centralia to see a glimmer of hope.
Then Lucas Reis slammed it shut.
The senior point guard made eight consecutive free throws in the final 1 minute, 16 seconds of regulation Saturday night, including the final four after the Orphans made it a two-possession game as the Blue Devils capped the third annual Quincy Shootout with a 62-57 victory at Blue Devil Gym.
“That’s just practice,” Reis said. “That’s where it all comes from. That and wanting the ball.”
It was the second night in a row Reis finished strong, going 5 of 6 from the line in the final 44.1 seconds of the 54-50 overtime victory against Rock Island. The weekend sweep gave the Blue Devils (13-6) some momentum heading into a crucial Western Big Six Conference game at Galesburg on Tuesday.
“This was a massive weekend for us,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “For as rough as we had it the previous couple weeks, for us to come out and play as well as we did against Rocky, for us to find a way and grind one out against Centralia and pull together, I think that’s huge.”
For the longest time, it didn’t appear like it would be strenuous at the end.
The Orphans (18-5) committed five turnovers in the first quarter, leading to seven points for the Blue Devils and a 14-9 lead. That cushion ballooned to 35-20 by halftime as Quincy made 7 of 10 from the field and scored on eight of the nine possessions they didn’t commit a turnover.
Reis, who finished with 19 points and four assists, hit three consecutive 3-pointers in that span.
“We have to get to the point where we’re understanding how it happened,” said Douglas, who got 19 points from Jeremiah Talton and 13 from Adonte Crider. “It’s not just a fluke when we go on runs like that. We’re doing things we need to do and executing our offense the way we need to execute it to get some of those shots.”
Replicating such efficiency takes practice.
“We have to execute in practice first to even get those to that in a game,” Reis said.
The Blue Devils have to eliminate the miscues, too.
The lead grew to 43-26 midway through the third quarter before the turnover bug hit. The Blue Devils gave the ball away on five of their final seven possessions of the third quarter and five times in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
“In a situation like that, we have to handle it better,” Reis said.
The pressure Centralia applied wasn’t unexpected.
“We knew at halftime they weren’t going to fold no matter how much they were down,” Reis said. “Coach said they weren’t going to go down easy, and they didn’t. Even when we came out in the third quarter firing, they didn’t fold.”
Behind Preston Johannes’ relentless attacking — the Orphans senior guard made nine consecutive free throws in the second half and was 13 of 19 from the line overall — Centralia trimmed the deficit to 53-47 with 1:24 to play and made it a four-point game on two separate occasions.
Reis simply wouldn’t allow the Orphans to get any closer.
“When you have a guy like that who wants to step up like that in crucial times, that’s huge,” Douglas said. “That’s huge for our team and our guys. We need a couple others. One of the things that could hurt is just relying on him all the time. We need a couple others to do the same.
“But he’s done a great job of being that guy for us. Whether it’s making plays or knocking down free throws, he’s been huge.”