Schuckman: Hawks taking things personal in hopes of getting off roller coaster ride


Quincy University assistant coach Tim Walsh, left, and head coach Steve Hawkins applaud the Hawks' defensive effort in Saturday's game against Southwest Baptist at Pepsi Arena. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The trend needs to end.

The only way to do that is to take losing personal.

So the Quincy University men’s basketball team’s coaching staff slapped those words across the dry-erase board in the locker room following last Wednesday’s 80-66 loss at Rockhurst.

“It’s been on the board all week,” sophomore point guard Isaiah Foster said. “We went back and watched the film and it was embarrassing. We don’t play like that. We have to get it together.”

They did so in Saturday’s 66-50 victory over Southwest Baptist, but it continued a disturbing trend in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. Quincy’s loses the mid-week game and bounces back to win the Saturday affair.

“On one hand it makes for a nice Saturday night and a nice Sunday that you take off,” Quincy coach Steve Hawkins said with a half-hearted smile. “On the other hand, it would be better to do this after a sweep.”

That hasn’t happened yet in three GLVC weekends, which is why the Hawks are staring at a middle-of-the-pack finish yet again. Currently, Quincy is tied with McKendree for seventh in the 14-team league with a 3-3 record, although there are too many games to be played to start talking about conference tournament positioning.

The problem is if the lose-win roller coaster continues, the Hawks will run out of time to say they can still get it flattened out.

That makes this week’s pair of home games vitally important. Quincy (8-6) plays host to Truman State (4-8, 1-3 GLVC) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Upper Iowa (8-4, 3-1 GLVC) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“We have to stay level-headed,” Foster said. “We’re young, so if we win a few games or win a game here or there, we get too overexcited. We have to keep level-headed. Prepare, recover and get in the gym so we keep the roller coaster rising and not dipping until the end of conference play.”

Saturday’s victory is an example of what the Hawks can do when they stay focused.

They limited the Bearcats to 17.9 percent shooting from 3-point range and help Southwest Baptist’s Drenin Dinkins, the team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game, scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting from the field.

QU coach Steve Hawkins called it the best his team has followed the scouting report all season. Now is the time to duplicate that effort.

“Keep a solid mindset and stay steady,” senior guard Zion Richardson said. “Stay steadfast in our approach. Make sure we’re in the gym. Make sure we know our plays, Make sure we’re studying the scouting report and getting prepared.”

And keep taking the dips in the roller coaster ride personal.

“Every game should be personal,” Hawkins said.

He challenged the Hawks to look at themselves, not the opponent, when taking the losses personal.

“It’s about your pride. It’s about your effort. It’s about your concentration,” Hawkins said. “If you don’t do that, you should be disappointed in yourself. That’s where we have to get to. The consistency in our work and the consistency in our preparation is where we get inconsistent.

“We can’t be tricked by winning, and there are times we have been. We have a long ways to go as a basketball team. We’re nowhere close to our ceiling. We have to eliminate the inconsistency.”

A GLVC sweep would be a step in the right direction.

“We’ll give that a shot this week,” Hawkins said. “It’s needed.”

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