Blue Devils create energy level necessary to maintain momentum against Silver Streaks


Quincy High School guard Ralph Wires runs the offense during Tuesday night's Western Big 6 Conference game against Galesburg at Blue Devil Gym. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Challenge accepted and met.

Coming off Saturday’s high-octane, high-profile victory over Imhotep Charter of Philadelphia in the marquee game of the Quincy Shootout, the Quincy High School boys basketball team was tasked with rekindling that energy Tuesday to face Galesburg, which it beat by 52 points in early December.

“Our pregame speech tonight was, ‘Are we satisfied with beating a good team on Saturday? Is that going to be the pinnacle of what we do this year?’” Blue Devils coach Andy Douglas said. “Obviously, the answer is no with this group.”

Despite allowing the Silver Streaks to score the game’s first five points, the Blue Devils responded by scoring 20 of the next 21 points and cruised to their seventh consecutive Western Big 6 Conference victory with a 77-35 triumph at Blue Devil Gym.

The atmosphere wasn’t as electric as Saturday, so the Blue Devils, ranked third in Class 4A, took it upon themselves to ratchet up the intensity.

“We can never let our foot off the gas,” Blue Devils senior guard Ralph Wires said. “We don’t want to be disrespectful or make them look bad, but at the same time, we don’t want to look bad either. So we’re going to go at you regardless if we’re up 30 or down 30. We have to keep the same energy all game long. That’s what good teams do.”

They sense, too, when they’re not meeting their own standard.

“After Galesburg scored five points, we realized we have to bring energy every possession from that point on,” junior guard Bradley Longcor III said.

By doing so, the Blue Devils (20-1) held the Silver Streaks (5-15, 0-7 WB6) without a field goal for 7 minutes, 35 seconds and allowed only 14 points in the first half.

“Every day we’re chasing greatness,” Douglas said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s practice and it doesn’t matter if it’s a game. When we step out here, our goal is to get better. They’ve been motivated by that all season.”

Motivation could have been lost at halftime with a 45-14 edge, but the Blue Devils refused to take it easy the final 16 minutes.

“It is pretty tough when we know we can get any shot we want,” said Longcor, who scored nine of his 14 points in the first half. “We have to work through that, get the best shot and keep pushing ourselves to be better.”

That started with the halftime conversation when Douglas and the coaching staff challenged the Blue Devils to execute in situations they could face against tougher competition.

In doing so, they extended the lead to 40 points heading to the fourth quarter.

Camden Brown led the Blue Devils with 16 points, while Keshaun Thomas added 13. For the second time in the last three games, Quincy invoked the running clock and got everyone on the bench involved.

“There were things offensively we really wanted to work on in the second half and we did,” Douglas said. “We wanted to get short-corner touches and work on things. We said at halftime, ‘We’re rushing things offensively, so we need to work on this, this and this.’ Give our guys credit. They see an opportunity to grow and they worked toward that in the second half.

“That’s the only way you chase and achieve greatness.”

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