Blue Devils’ bench brigade embraces opportunity for playing time with right approach

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GENESEO, Ill. — None of the Quincy High School boys basketball players played more than 13 minutes Tuesday night, nor did they log a single minute of the second half.

None of them complained about it either.

The starters staked the Blue Devils to an insurmountable lead, exited the game in the second quarter and watched the bench brigade receive its most minutes of the season in finishing off a 71-26 victory over Geneseo in Western Big 6 Conference play.

The six players who shared the floor the final 19 minutes outscored Geneseo 29-14, with sophomore reserve Mark Louthan sharing game-high scoring honors with starting point guard Ralph Wires with 11 points apiece.

“We have some guys who are playing well and we have a talented team,” said Quincy coach Andy Douglas, whose team is ranked 10th in Class 4A. “So it’s difficult to give guys minutes. You put some of these guys in different years, and heck, they might even be starters. With this group, they don’t see the floor as often.

“It’s good because they still come to practice everyday and put in the same amount of effort, the same focus, the some work. It’s good to be able to reward those guys.”

The beauty of it for Douglas was watching those players — senior Bryson Bowen, juniors Isaiah Talton, Seth Rupert and Nate Hetzler, freshman Milton Whitfield and Louthan — was the unselfishness and willingness to share the ball.

“We talked a lot about it Saturday morning when we were going through our walkthrough preparing for Springfield,” Douglas said. “Obviously, we had some time Monday to watch some film and discuss our offensive flow. It was really good to see those guys come and execute the way they did offensively.

“I thought they were very patient. Sometimes you get out there and it’s take the shot, whatever shot you can get. They were extremely patient and worked the offense, which was good to see.”

The starters had done the same thing.

Despite missing their first four 3-point attempts, the Blue Devils (15-2, 5-1 WB6) were able to grab offensive rebounds off each and turn those into six second-chance points. Quincy missed five of its first seven shots overall before finding its rhythm.

A 4-2 lead turned into a 15-2 advantage as the Blue Devils scored on five consecutive possessions. When Douglas emptied his bench with three minutes remaining in the first half, the Blue Devils led 42-10 had scored on 18 of 21 possessions.

During a stretch of scoring on 10 consecutive possessions, sophomore guard Dominique Clay threw down two dunks and buried a 3-pointer. He scored all nine of his points in that seven-minute stretch.

“We mentioned it a couple times to stick to what we needed to do,” Douglas said. “It’s continuing to tell them it’s about us and not the team we are playing. That’s every team that we see. It’s about how well we execute. Up as much as we were, you want to do it the right way. You don’t want to completely destroy the team. You want to do it the right way.

“I didn’t think our guys were too flashy or too over the top. I thought they won with class.”

Quincy wraps up the first half of the WB6 season by playing host to Galesburg at 7 p.m. Friday at Blue Devil Gym with the chance to stay within one game of the conference lead.

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