Marooned in Moline: Blue Devils fall out of first place in WB6 with loss at Wharton Field House
MOLINE, Ill. — How a game of such magnitude elicited such minimal energy from his players left Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas as dumbfounded as it did irritated.
“There was just a different look on their face than we’ve seen out of the group,” he said.
It wasn’t a good look.
Facing Moline at Wharton Field House on Friday to kickstart a three-game gauntlet to decide the Western Big 6 Conference championship, the Blue Devils squandered a six-point halftime lead and allowed the Maroons to dictate how the game-ending sequence played out in a 42-41 loss.
The setback came just 11 days after the Blue Devils, ranked third in Class 4A, beat the Maroons by 17 points at Blue Devil Gym.
“I don’t know if you win a game and you think you can knock them off again with ease or what, but we had no energy,” Douglas said. “We played well enough to be up in the first half, and I thought we’d get things going defensively in the second half and we just didn’t.”
Now, Quincy (25-3, 10-2 WB6) must beat Rock Island twice in a three-day span to win its second conference championship in the past three seasons and 25th overall.
The Rocks (22-6, 11-1 WB6) beat Alleman 71-30 Friday night to take over sole possession of first place. Rock Island comes to Blue Devil Gym on Tuesday night before the teams wrap up the regular season at the Rocky Fieldhouse on Thursday.
“We’re going to have to play a heck of a lot better than we did tonight to think about having a chance of knocking Rocky off,” Douglas said.
Leading 27-21 at halftime, the Blue Devils extended the lead to eight when Camden Brown scored the first basket of the second half. The Maroons (23-5, 10-3 WB6) responded with an 8-0 that tied the game at 29 with a little more than five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Quincy, which scored just six points in the third quarter, went nearly five full minutes without scoring before Brown made a shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 33.
It didn’t create any needed momentum.
“Our execution was poor,” Douglas said.
The Blue Devils managed just eight points in the fourth quarter and the game was tied at 41 with less than 90 seconds to play when the Maroons decided to hold the ball for the final possession. Moline junior Trey Taylor held the ball for 1 minute, 13 seconds before Maroons coach Sean Taylor, the former QHS coach who is 12-4 against Quincy in his eight seasons at Moline, called a timeout with 10 seconds to play.
Off the inbounds play, Trey Taylor handed the ball to teammate Braden Freeman, who drove the left side of the lane and was fouled by Brown with five seconds to play.
Freeman made the first free throw, but missed the second. Quincy’s Bradley Longcor III dribbled the ball to midcourt, where he collided with Moline’s Arthur Abbey and couldn’t get off a desperation shot before the buzzer.
The Quincy sideline looked for a foul call on the final play but never got one.
“We got the ball into our playmaker’s hands,” Douglas said. “They called a foul on Camden going straight up on Freeman, but they didn’t make a call on Bradley getting plowed over at halfcourt.”
Longcor finished with 19 points, scoring all eight of the Blue Devils’ point in the fourth quarter, but no other Quincy player scored more than five points. Trey Taylor led the Maroons with 16 points, going 6 of 6 at the free-throw line, while junior guard Marcus McQueen had 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The Blue Devils travel to Jacksonville at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the final non-conference game of the regular season.
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