Posted by mschuckman – January 10, 2013
When the Quincy High School boys basketball players learned they had cracked the Class 4A state poll, there was a moment of pride.
“We’re surprised we’re No. 8, but we worked hard for it,” senior guard Cole Abbey said.
They know they can’t be satisfied by it.
“That’s just a number,” senior guard Martin Kvitle said. “We can’t look at that and think that’s it. We have bigger, better things we need to have on our minds.”
Still, Quincy’s first state ranking since Illinois went to a four-class system should be motivation to make the second half of the season just as memorable as the first.
The Blue Devils (11-2) strung together an 11-game winning streak — the second-longest streak in Sean Taylor’s 10 seasons as head coach — while reaching the championship game of the 29th annual Collinsville Schnucks Holiday Classic and starting Western Big Six Conference play 3-0.
“I want them to appreciate it because it says something about how they’ve developed as players and as a team,” Taylor said. “When it’s all said and done, you better bring it on Friday and Saturday nights. I know it’s cliche, but it doesn’t matter what you’re ranked when the ball goes up.
“It’s a good reward for everything they’ve done thus far, and hopefully they’ll work to improve even more.”
Quincy finds itself in familiar company. Edwardsville is ranked fifth, Belleville East is sixth and Rock Island is seventh. Throw in No. 4 Chicago Heights Marian Catholic, which visits Blue Devil Gym this Saturday, and the Blue Devils can gauge just how well they stack up.
“We have the chance, I think, to be really good,” Kvitle said.