Opportunity to stay with defending state champs eludes Blue Devils in regional championship loss

Q 6

Quincy High School freshman forward Jada Brown, left, gets in position for a rebound during Thursday's Class 4A regional championship against O'Fallon in O'Fallon, Ill. | Photo courtesy Paul Baillargeon, Archview Photos

O’FALLON, Ill. — Brad Dance could feel how much the missed opportunities hurt.

The Quincy High School girls basketball team trailed defending state champion O’Fallon 15-10 in the first quarter of Thursday night’s Class 4A regional championship, but had it not been for squandering a couple of offensive chances, the Blue Devils could have been ahead.

“I told (assistant coach Brad Bergman) that we were chasing six points now because we missed three baskets we normally would have made,” said Dance, in his fifth season as Quincy’s head coach. “Even the girls felt they should have made those.”

A three-point play by Jada Brown pulled the Blue Devils within 15-13, but that agonizing feeling Quincy could have been ahead and dictated pace of play existed.

“You’re chasing those points against a defending state champion and that makes it tough,” Dance said.

The Blue Devils couldn’t reel in those points or the Panthers.

Second-seeded O’Fallon extended its lead to 31-19 by halftime and kept third-seeded Quincy at arm’s length before pulling away down the stretch for a 55-40 victory.

The Blue Devils finish the season with a 25-7 record, matching the 1997-98 team for the most single-season victories in program history. The seniors were part of back-to-back 20-win seasons and finished in the top three in the Western Big 6 Conference the last two seasons.

“There’s not a lot you can say after a game like that,” Dance said. “We talked about what they did for the program the last four years and the standard they set for future players and future teams. … It’s a good group that really played well defensively, and that’s what we hung our hat on for the last five years.”

Senior forward Taylor Fohey and freshman forward Jada Brown led the Blue Devils with 13 points apiece.

O’Fallon (26-7) will face either top-seeded Alton or fourth-seeded Edwardsville in next Tuesday’s Normal Community Sectional semifinals.

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