Blue Devils head into postseason facing gauntlet of formidable foes


The Quincy High School boys basketball team opens postseason play at 6 p.m. Wednesday against sixth-seeded Alton in the Class 4A Edwardsville Regional. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Let the gauntlet commence.

Wednesday night, regional play begins in the Class 4A Pekin Sectional, which is arguably one of the toughest boys basketball postseason paths from top to bottom. Of the 16 teams split into two sub-sectionals, 14 have winning records and every team has at least 11 victories.

There are seven 20-win teams, three teams with five or fewer losses and five teams that have been ranked in the Associated Press top 10 at some point this season.

The collective winning percentage of the 16 teams is .653.

How does that compare to the Aurora East Sectional, which feeds into the Normal Super-Sectional along with the winner from Pekin?

There are 18 teams in the Aurora East Sectional with a combined winning percentage of .562. Ths sectional features seven teams with losing records, four of which have single-digit victories. The top end of the sectional is loaded with the likes of Bolingbrook and Waubonsie Valley.

There are eight 20-win teams in the sectional, three with four or fewer losses and four ranked in the final AP top 10 of the season.

Call it a gauntlet, too.

So just how challenging will a single team’s postseason path be?

Take Quincy High School for example. The Blue Devils were ranked in the top 10 all season, hovering at No. 3 a bulk of the second half of the year and were No. 5 in the final poll. They finished with a 28-3 record and won the Western Big 6 Conference championship.

And they are the No. 2 seed in the sub-sectional behind Collinsville, which beat Quincy in the championship game of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.

The Blue Devils face sixth-seeded Alton at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals of the Edwardsville Regional. The Redbirds are 16-14 and their final four losses of the regular season were by three points or less, including a 47-46 loss to Collinsville in their final game.

With a victory, Quincy would face either O’Fallon, which is 20-10 and knocked the Blue Devils out of the postseason last year, or Edwardsville (19-11) on its home floor.

The sectional semifinal likely would be against Collinsville (27-4) or Belleville East (20-11). Awaiting that winner in the sectional championship could be Normal Community (26-5), Moline (25-6) or Rock Island (23-8).

Should Quincy survive all of that, a 25-win, state-ranked opponent will be waiting at the super-sectional.

That’s a gauntlet.

No matter which team emerges from the super-sectional and reaches Champaign for the Class 4A state tournament, that spot will have been earned.

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