QUINCY — Based solely on the youthful aspect of the Quincy High School boys basketball team’s roster, composure isn’t an attribute most fans would associate with the Blue Devils.
After this weekend, composure might be one of their strengths.
With St. Mary’s of St. Louis constantly subbing players to run fresh bodies at Quincy and applying consistent defense pressure, the Blue Devils never buckled and capped a perfect weekend with a perfect flourish at the end.
They closed the game on a 14-3 run, putting a stamp on a 73-53 victory at Blue Devil Gym and the championship of the 50th QHS Thanksgiving Tournament.
“There were times we didn’t have a whole lot of experience on the court,” said senior swingman Jeremiah Talton, the tournament MVP whose minutes were slightly limited by foul trouble. “All of those young dudes really held their own. That really stood out a lot.”
Yet, when the Blue Devils needed a closer, Talton emerged.
The Dragons chiseled a 17-point deficit down to 59-50 with 4:36 remaining in regulation. Talton, a 6-foot-6 NCAA Division I prospect, pushed the lead back to double digits when he scored on a leaner in the lane with 4:05 to go.
After freshman Bradley Longcor III finished a layin in transition after a steal at midcourt, Talton made four consecutive baskets, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“They started getting momentum and I told myself I had to close it out,” Talton said. “I started taking shots and making them off great passes from the point guards and the wings. We crashed the boards hard, too, and it turned out well for us.”
Talton finished with a career-high 33 points, pushing his tournament-leading total to 87 points. He was named the tourney MVP for the second time, making him one of six QHS players to be two-time MVPs. Bruce Douglas was a three-time MVP.
It resulted in the Blue Devils’ 35th tourney title and 10th crown in the last 12 tries.
“It’s good to see the guys battle through some adversity this weekend and face some teams that got after it on the defensive side of things,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “It gave us a good meter to go back to and see where we’re at right now and what we need to improve on. Overall, just really proud of the effort all weekend.”
Longcor finished with 15 points and joined Talton on the all-tournament team, while seven players scored, six had assists and the Blue Devils shrugged off the mistakes, especially the turnovers.
“It’s good to know you have guys who are going to stay composed and keep their heads throughout the course of a game,” Douglas said. “While we had multiple times where we lost our composure a little bit, they did a great job of regrouping and putting a run together.”
The challenge will be to carry it over to a pair of road games next weekend. The Blue Devils start Western Big 6 Conference play at United Township on Friday before traveling to Centralia on Saturday.
“To be honest, we just have to keep getting better,” Talton said. “This was a test for us, especially with all the young guys, to come out and see where we stood. We know it’s only going to get harder and harder, especially with conference games. So we have to go harder than we did at the start of the season.”
50th QHS Thanksgiving Tournament
At Blue Devil Gym
Miller Career Academy 72, St. Mary’s 65
Quincy High School 54, Lake Forest Academy 36
Lake Forest Academy 73, St. Mary’s 57
Quincy High School 56, Miller Career Academy 47
Lake Forest Academy 61, Miller Career Academy 58 (OT)
Quincy High School 73, St. Mary’s 53
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