Blue Devils spread scoring wealth in WB6 victory over Pioneers
QUINCY — Let’s be honest. Brutally honest.
The Quincy High School boys basketball team probably could have put 100 points on the scoreboard — and with relative ease — during Tuesday’s Western Big 6 Conference game against overmatched and outmanned Rock Island Alleman at Blue Devil Gym.
Instead, state-ranked QHS settled for a 65-28 victory in which its regulars played less than two quarters. The Blue Devils were content to allow the Pioneers to dribble considerable chunks off the game clock, especially in the second half.
A dozen different Blue Devils scored, with only Bradley Longcor III reaching double figures with 14 points — 11 of those coming in the first few minutes of the game.
Quincy, ranked eighth in Class 4A, only flexed its collective muscle during the first quarter when it stormed to a 27-9 lead en route to a 47-14 margin by intermission. The Blue Devils (5-0, 2-0 WB6) substituted freely and often.
“Give Alleman’s kids a lot of credit,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “During a season like this, a lot of life lessons are learned.”
Alleman, the smallest school in the WB6, has been beset in recent years by a falling enrollment and other internal problems. Its athletic teams have struggled, much like this year’s boys basketball club, which has scored 28 points or fewer in five of its eight starts and has reached 40 points just once. The Pioneers’ lone victory came against winless Abingdon-Avon 41-35.
Alleman coach Rick Thomas is not expecting any kind of major turnaround any time soon.
“We’re struggling, the whole school is struggling,” Thomas said. “It’s a challenge right now.”
The first two minutes of the game set the tone for the expected blowout. Quincy led 8-0 before many of the sparse crowd had even sat down.
“We wanted to try and use a zone defense against them, but that lasted about two minutes,” Thomas said.
And things just went downhill from there for Alleman.
Quincy players indicated they looked at Tuesday night’s game as a time to get ready for the upcoming Friday-Saturday home tests against Sterling and Batavia.
“A game like this is hard, but we knew what he had to do to get ready for the weekend,” 6-foot-6 sophomore center Keshaun Thomas said.
Thomas said the Alleman game was an excellent opportunity to concentrate on fine-tuning the team’s offensive schemes.
Dominique Clay, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who came off the bench to score nine points, felt the same. The Blue Devils’ big men spent the night sharpening their moves in and around the paint.
“We were working to get ready for the weekend,” Clay said. “We can still be better, much better.”
Reid O’Brien, who normally serves as one of the QHS playmakers, dropped through a season-best eight points, including two of the Blue Devils’ eight 3-pointers in the first half.
“We were focusing on execution tonight,” the 5-foot-10 senior said. “We just need to be a little more crisp.”
O’Brien feels Quincy is right on schedule as far the big picture is concerned.
“We’re probably at about a 7 or 8 (on a scale of 10) of what we will be,” O’Brien said. “We’re lagging behind a little, but not too far.”
Douglas said the Blue Devils’ defense still needs some upgrading, plus on-court communication.
“We’re not close to where we should be (in those areas),” he said.
Those items aside, Douglas had plenty of praise for Quincy’s overall performance, especially one area in particular.
“It’s really neat to see kids passing up shots to get (other teammates) involved,” he said.
That helped explain the bountiful scoring column that also saw Kamren Wires (7), Thomas (5), Cam Brown (4), Sam Mulherin (4), Isiah Talton (4), Seth Rupert (3), Ralph Wires (3), Nate Hetzler (2) and Bryson Bowen (2) log points.
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