Game Night Guide: Quincy High School to face Normal Community for sectional title

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Ralph Wires' ability to distribute, score and apply on-the-ball defensive pressure will benefit the Quincy High School boys basketball team in Friday night's Class 4A sectional championship game against Normal Community in Pekin, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

Class 4A Pekin Sectional Championship

Quincy High School (31-3) vs. Normal Community (29-5)

Where: Dawdy Hawkins Gym, Pekin High School

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Livestream: Pekin Community High School YouTube page

Radio: WGEM 105.1 FM

Scouting the Blue Devils: Led by the inside-outside combo of junior forward Keshaun Thomas and junior guard Bradley Longcor III — both first-team All-Western Big 6 Conference selections — and the defensive tenacity of senior guard Ralph Wires, this group is tied with the 1934 state championship team for the fourth most single-season victories in program history. Longcor is averaging a team-leading 16.1 points and has made 78 3-pointers, while Thomas is averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds per game and shoots 80 percent from the free-throw line. Wires has a team-leading 46 steals and five charges drawn. Overall, Quincy is allowing just 44.1 points per game and opponents shoot just 29 percent from 3-point range. The Blue Devils shoot 39 percent from 3-point range as a team.

Scouting the Ironmen: The preseason favorite in the sectional based on their size and experience, the Ironmen have used those strengths to their advantage to get to this point. Normal’s starting lineup features five players all 6-foot-4 or taller. Senior Noah Cleveland, a 6-foot-10 forward, sat out his junior year but returned to form a formidable frontcourt duo with 6-foot-11 senior forward Jaheem Webber, who has committed to Wright State. Senior point guard Braylon Roman is the Ironmen’s leading scorer at 15 points per game, while Niko Newsome, a 6-foot-6 senior who transferred from Bloomington, scored 20 points in the sectional semifinal against Moline and bolsters the backcourt. The Ironmen went 10-0 in winning the Big 12 Conference championship and are in the sectional title game for the second time in three years. Quincy beat Normal Community 56-51 in the sectional title game in 2022.

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