Fourth-quarter flurry enables Blue Devils to fight way past Rocks for critical WB6 victory

Quincy’s Dom Clay (14) lays the ball in off the glass during the Blue Devils game against the Rock Island Rocks Friday in Quincy.  Mathew Kirby/Herald Whig-Courier Post

Quincy High School's Dominique Clay lays the ball in off the glass during Friday night's Western Big 6 Conference game against Rock Island at Blue Devil Gym. | Photo courtesy Mathew Kirby

QUINCY — The words rolled from Bradley Longcor III in matter-of-fact fashion.

“We’re a good team,” the Quincy High School sophomore said.

And more times than not, good teams find ways to win games.

Friday night at Blue Devil Gym was a classic case in point.

Fueled by a scintillating second half at both ends of the floor, the QHS boys basketball team rallied to overtake Rock Island 61-55 in a Western Big 6 Conference game that keeps the Blue Devils in the thick of the conference race.

Quincy unleashed a 28-point fourth quarter, accented by 10 points from 6-foot-5 junior Camden Brown and a 15-of-16 performance at the foul line. That followed a combined 33 points over the first three periods. 

The Blue Devils’ hustling, in-your-face defense in the second half, coupled with a power-in-the paint approach on offense, both helped reverse a 29-24 halftime deficit and maintain Quincy’s perfect record (8-0) at home. The Blue Devils are now 13-2 overall and 4-1 in the WB6.

“We came out ready to play in the second half,” 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Keshaun Thomas. “We had no energy in the first half.”

Thomas scored 10 of his 12 points and ad grabbed five of his rebounds during the third and fourth quarters. His physical play in and around the basket set the tone for the Blue Devils, especially early in the second half.

“He’s a load,” Rock Island coach Marc Polite said of Thomas. 

Polite said Quincy, as a whole, took command of the interior following intermission.

“They attacked the lane more in the second half,” said Polite, whose team dropped to 11-6 and 2-3 in the WB6. “They just put their heads down and drove.”

Brown, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, agreed with Polite’s assessment.

“The first few minutes of the second half were key,” Brown said. “We picked it up defensively and that helped our offense. This was a big conference win. We have our confidence back.”

Quincy outscored Rock Island 14-3 in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 47-41 lead. The Rocks got as close as 50-47, but the Blue Devils scored eight of the ensuing 11 points to cement the victory.

Quincy, which was coming off a 57-53 loss to Decatur MacArthur (15-1) in the finals of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, stayed one game in back of Moline in the WB6. Moline (13-2, 5-0 WB6) knocked off United Township 56-47 Friday night.

Rock Island received a 25-point performance from slick-shooting guard K.J. Lamonte. He scored 15 of his points in the second half.

Quincy controlled the boards much of the game, ending with a 23-13 rebounding advantage.

“Our size began to make a difference (as the game wore on),” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said.

Douglas said the Blue Devils’ defense was arguably the overall key in Quincy’s reversal of fortune in the second half.

“A lot of our offensive opportunities were the result of what our defense was doing,” he said.

Longcor, averaging a team-high 14.2 points per game, led Quincy in scoring for a ninth time with 20 points. Longcor has now registered four 20-point games and boosted his QHS-leading 3-point field goal total to 28. He made three 3-pointers against Rock Island.

“We definitely knew we could not take a second conference loss,” Longcor said. “What did we have? Four players in double figures? Everyone has to contribute for us to be good.”

Quincy’s other double-figure scorer was 6-foot-3 sophomore Dominique Clay with 11. Clay also meshed three 3-pointers.

“It’s going to be someone different for us each night,” Douglas said. “We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things.”

Quincy is back in action Saturday night, hosting Springfield (6-11) of the Central State 8 Conference. Springfield fell to Jacksonville 55-37 on Friday.

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