Blue Devils fend off Statesmen with emphatic closing kick, turn attention to tough weekend

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WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — The signs this youthful, yet talented Quincy High School boys basketball team is maturing come in glimpses where momentum is teetering or the Blue Devils’ unbeaten record is threatened.

Another of those moments came Tuesday night.

A 13-point second-half advantage against the defending Missouri Class 5 state champion had dwindled to two in the fourth quarter, and Webster Groves had the ball and the chance to tie or take the lead following a Quincy turnover.

The Statesmen missed an open 3-point attempt from the top of the key, and the Blue Devils scored on the ensuing possession as senior forward Sam Mulherin got position deep on the block and scored with 3:12 to play. It jumpstarted an 8-0 run and ninth-ranked Quincy finished the game on a 13-5 spurt to snare a 56-47 victory at Roberts Gym.

“Maturity shows its head in a lot of different forms,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “When teams make runs, you have to be able to handle those situations. You have to be able to handle runs of your own and keep your emotions in check.

“I thought our guys did a really good job of making plays. A lot of it started on the defensive end for us. We were patient. We executed well enough to pull it out.”

Webster Groves scored on seven consecutive possessions, pulling within 41-39 on Iziah Purvey’s putback with seven minutes remaining. A Mulherin layin off an offensive rebound with 5:10 to go pushed it back to a two-possession game before Purvey made two free throws with 4:43 to go.

The Statesmen (1-3) didn’t score again until just 14.3 seconds remained, going five consecutive possessions without success as the Blue Devils (8-0) forced three turnovers.

“I like the adjustments we made defensively,” Douglas said. “They were the aggressors for a majority of the second half, but we finally decided to get up and pressure a little bit, anticipate some passes, get some deflections. It led to some easy offense.”

Camden Brown turned a steal into a layup. Bradley Longcor III took a long rebound and scored driving the middle of the lane. And Brown finished the 8-0 run by taking an outlet pass from Dominique Clay and throwing down a dunk in transition.

Longcor finished with 17 points, going 5 of 6 from the line, while Brown had 12 points and Ralph Wires added 10. Purvey led Webster Groves with 15 points, while RJ Trevino added 11.

Now the Blue Devils can turn their attention to preparing for Friday night’s Western Big 6 Conference showdown with second-ranked Moline at Wharton Field House in Moline. Both teams are 3-0 and tied for first in the WB6, while the Maroons (6-1) have won each of their past five games by 18 or more points.

“We know what we’re up against,” Douglas said. “It’s going to be a heck of a task for our guys. We had this week circled on the calendar for a lot of reasons. This is an opportunity for us to have a little bit of a gut check — going to Webster Groves, going to Moline and playing QND at home. Our guys have done a good job of taking it one game at a time.”

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