Quincy Shootout: Eagles’ chemistry creates edge as they pull away from Dukes


The Liberty boys basketball team's bench reacts to Cannen Wolf burying a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer Saturday in the Quincy Shootout at Blue Devil Gym. Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The initial reaction was what Greg Altmix expected.

Thursday afternoon, the Liberty boys basketball coach informed his players they had added a game to the schedule with an appearance in the fourth Quincy Shootout at Blue Devil Gym.

“(The organizers) giving us a chance to come and play in this event really got us excited,” Eagles senior forward Breighton Klingele said. “We wanted to come out here and prove we could play.”

They just didn’t expect Altmix to tell them they were playing at 9 a.m., a mere 12 hours after a trip to Griggsville-Perry.

“Everybody was giving me funny looks, and they were like, ‘Really?’” Altmix said. “After it kind of hit them, they were like, ‘No problem.’ We were blessed to have the opportunity.”

The Eagles made the most of it, too.

Cannen Wolf’s 3-pointer from the right corner just before the second-quarter buzzer gave Liberty an eight-point halftime lead. The Eagles then systematically pulled away for a 62-48 victory over Dixon in the first of nine games Saturday.

“I liked how hard and how fast we played,” Liberty senior forward Logan Robbins said. “When they went on their little runs, we still stayed together. We still got down in defensive sets. We had to do it at the defensive end. We had to do the hard work to get out of this game with the victory.”

Ranked fifth in Class 1A, the Eagles applied their formula for success to the matchup with the Class 3A school.

That includes balanced scoring, engaged defense and unselfish play.

The Eagles had four players in double figures, led by Wolf with 17 points, limited the Dukes to single digits in the first two quarters and had 14 assists on 26 field goals.

“We have no problem with whoever shoots the ball,” Robbins said after scoring 12 points. “We’re just very trustworthy with each other.”

It’s keeping the Eagles in sync.

“I just liked how we played team ball and we were all working together,” said Klingele, who finished with 14 points. “We came together as one.”

The boost of Wolf’s 3-pointer helped, too.

Dixon had scored four consecutive points to make it a two-possession game before the Eagles patiently held for the last shot. Wolf caught the ball in the corner, elevated and buried his second 3-pointer of the game.

“It’s an amazing boost coming into halftime,” Robbins said. “That shot going into the locker room was a big momentum kicker.”

It set the stage for a 14-point third quarter.

“It gives us the energy to come out and get after it,” Klingele said.

That’s what Altmix wants to see moving forward.

“We’ve talked about which team is going to be consistent and which team is going to be able to put together 32 minutes come February,” Altmix said. “To be that team, we’ve been stressing communication. We’ve been stressing playing the basket. We’ve been stressing defense.”

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