Blue Devils survive Bulldogs’ 3-point barrage to finish perfect week
QUINCY — How much has the Quincy High School boys basketball team improved from a season ago?
Quincy’s 64-61 victory over Batavia on Saturday night at Blue Devil Gym completed a 3-0 week that also included wins over Sterling and Rock Island Alleman.
Three victories, five days.
Those three wins match the Blue Devils’ victory total for all of last season when they struggled to a 3-12 finish. Quincy now rests at 7-1 following the victory over Batavia (6-2).
“I think teams have been taking us for granted because of our record last year,” said Keshaun Thomas, a 6-foot-5 freshman who was on the floor for the majority of second-half minutes against Batavia (6-2).
If Thomas’s assessment is correct, look for opponents’ collective view of the Blue Devils to start changing real soon, if it has not already.
Quincy, which had built what looked to be a comfortable 52-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter, saw Batavia climb within 59-55 with a little less than three minutes to play. But a deep 3-pointer from junior guard Reid O’Brien, a pair of free throws from senior playmaker Terron Cartmill and some aggressive defense down the stretch helped cement the latest victory.
Batavia misfired on a pair of shots in the closing seconds, thanks in part to some tight, chest-to-chest defense both on the perimeter and down low.
“I like where we are right now as a group,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “The guys are confident, and they have a little bit of a swagger.”
Douglas feels his team is probably ahead of where he may have originally hoped for at this point of the season, but is quick to point out the Blue Devils are only eight games into the season.
“We’re not anywhere near where we can be,” he said. “Our expectations are high.”
Jeremiah Talton, the 6-foot-6 senior who is the Blue Devils’ top scorer and equally at home on the perimeter as he is driving the baseline, agrees with his coach. Talton is pleased with his effort so far this season, but far from satisfied.
“I think I can do some things well, but I can be better,” said Talton, who scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers.
Talton, who registered 81 points in this week’s three games, collected all of his points against Batavia in the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, he served as a combination decoy and playmaker.
“Jeremiah does a great job setting everyone else up,” Douglas said.
Douglas said the extra attention the Batavia defense paid to Talton wound up as an overall plus.
“That left the other guys open,” he said. “We have to have the other guys step up.”
And they did.
Quincy had five players not named Talton score during the final eight minutes to cement its third straight victory. Bradley Longcor III was the only other Blue Devil in double figures with 12 points.
Ethan Ivan led Batavia with 22 points. Four different Bulldogs combined for 15 3-pointers.
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