Quarter century of memories: Rupert’s 3-point barrage brings QHS sideline to life

Sterling 4

Quincy High School assistant coach Tom Lepper gives Jack Rupert a bear hug after Rupert hit the last of his four consecutive 3-pointers against Sterling on Feb. 19, 2021. | Submitted photo

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman began covering the Quincy High School boys basketball program during the 1998-99 season, and since he recently wrapped up his 25th season following the Blue Devils, he put together a list of his 25 most memorable games. Here is today’s installment:

February 19, 2021 — Quincy 67, Sterling 35

QUINCY — Imagine the ruckus Jack Rupert would have created had there been any fans in the stands.

As it were, the 50 or so fans actually allowed into Blue Devil Gym on February 19, 2021, made enough noise — along with the Quincy High School boys basketball players on the sideline — to give Rupert’s moment in the spotlight a magical feel.

The celebration along the sideline helped, too.

Forced to condense its season to 15 games over a six-week span with no opportunity to play in the postseason because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the QHS basketball team struggled out of the gate, losing its first five games and fighting for a moment to make the game fun again.

That’s when Rupert emerged.

A run late in the first half had given the Blue Devils a seven-point halftime lead over Sterling, and Rupert made it a double-digit advantage when he drained a 3-pointer from the left wing just 49 seconds into the third quarter. He was just getting started.

He made another 3-pointer from the left wing, then switched to the right side of the floor in front of the QHS bench and buried two more treys. His four consecutive 3-pointers boosted the Blue Devils’ advantage to 44-26 and forced the Golden Warriors to call a timeout with 5:01 to go in the third quarter.

It was enough to propel the Blue Devils to a 67-35 Western Big 6 Conference victory as Rupert finished with 16 points and five 3-pointers made.

“I felt that rhythm coming,” Rupert said at the time.

He got swallowed up in it. And in assistant coach Tom Lepper’s arms, too.

After Rupert hit his fourth 3-pointer, Sterling called timeout and Lepper greeted Rupert coming off the court with a bear hug that lifted the senior guard off his feet.

It was the kind of moment and celebration the Blue Devils sorely needed.

“We were all having fun out there, playing as a team, going 100 percent,” Rupert said after the game.

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