Overtime victory moves QHS girls basketball team into logjam atop WB6 standings
QUINCY — When asked if Quincy might just be the team of destiny in this season’s Western Big 6 Conference girls basketball championship pursuit, Taylor Fohey thought long and hard before answering.
Then she smiled.
“I feel it coming,” said the 6-foot junior who dropped through the game-winning basket in the Blue Devils’ 31-29 overtime victory against Rock Island Alleman on Thursday night.
Quincy has not won a WB6 title since 1998 and has just three to its credit since the league first recognized girls basketball as a varsity sport for the 1978-79 school year.
The victory over Alleman moved Quincy into a four-way tie for first place in the WB6. The Blue Devils, Galesburg, Geneseo and Rock Island are all 6-3. Alleman and United Township are each one game back at 5-4. There are five conference games remaining.
A few minutes after Quincy (15-8) had held off Alleman (15-11), word reached the Blue Devils that Geneseo had downed Galesburg 58-49 to help create the logjam atop the WB6.
“It feels amazing to be in first place,” said QHS junior guard Leila Dade, whose 14 points paced Blue Devils.
Quincy coach Brad Dance tried to put a wrap on not only the current position the Blue Devils find themselves, but the season as a whole.
“It’s a long year, but I feel we’re about right where we should be at this point,” Dance said. “Every game is important. It’s do-or-die time.”
Fohey drained what proved to be the game-winning basket — a 5-footer from the left side of the lane — with 13 seconds remaining. That allowed Alleman enough time for one final surge.
Pioneers junior guard Audrey Erickson, who led all scorers with 16 points, drove the right side of the lane in the closing seconds but lost control of the ball. The turnover sealed Quincy’s fifth straight win and second of the season over Alleman. QHS defeated the Pioneers 37-34 in early December.
Fohey’s basket represented the only points scored in the four-minute overtime.
Fohey said she wanted the chance to hit the big bucket.
“I was calling for the ball and hoping for the best,” she said.
Mission accomplished on both counts.
Fohey said the fourth quarter had been frustrating for the Blue Devils, who went more than seven minutes between baskets. QHS opened the quarter with a field goal from junior guard Leah Chevalier to take a 26-20 lead, but Alleman scored the ensuing seven points to go up 27-26 with under a minute remaining in regulation.
Dade buried a 3-pointer and Alleman’s Clair Hulke swished two free throws in the final 30 seconds of the quarter to send the game into overtime.
“I got a little nervous in the fourth quarter when the lead was slipping away,” said Fohey, who ended with 11 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. “We have survived a lot of games this season, but we have also let some slip away.”
Supporting Fohey on the boards were Haley Schertel (9) and Asia Seangmany (7). QHS outboarded Alleman 33-30.
Dade felt the way she and her teammates have matured as a unit is making a difference in games of this nature.
“We have learned how to share the ball more, and we have learned where (teammates) like to get the ball at (important times),” said Dade, who hit two of Quincy’s three 3-point field goals.
Dance has been pleased with Quincy’s defense most of the season — the Blue Devils have held eight opponents in the 20s — but is now liking what he sees offensively, despite only scoring 31 points against Alleman.
“We’re getting more confidence at the offensive end,” Dance said. “We’re getting more good looks. A lot of them just weren’t dropping tonight.”
Quincy had averaged 52 points per game over its last four starts coming into the Alleman game.
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