Blue Devils keep effort clean, head into matchup with Golden Warriors after dispatching Pioneers

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Andy Douglas didn’t want to take the air out of the ball entirely.

The Quincy High School boys basketball coach wasn’t going to play his starters longer than necessary either.

The 80-35 victory over Rock Island Alleman on Tuesday night at Don Morris Gym proved to be a study in how to execute and how to win the right way. The Blue Devils raced to a sizable halftime lead, emptied the bench in the third quarter and headed home still in the WB6 title chase.

“You want to keep it as clean as possible,” said Douglas, whose team beat the Pioneers 65-28 at Blue Devil Gym in December. “The last thing you want to do is disrespect them by holding the ball and not playing. We told our guys to play hard, work on the stuff you need to work on and keep it a clean game. And I thought they did.”

In fact, the Pioneers forced them to play hard, snaring a 5-2 lead out of the gate.

The Blue Devils, ranked eighth in Class 4A, responded by scoring 45 of the next 50 points and going into halftime leading 47-10.

“One thing we talked about was pitching the ball ahead, running our lanes and getting open looks at the basket,” Douglas said. “We did a pretty good job of that.”

Keshaun Thomas finished with 13 points for Quincy, while Isiah Talton had 10. The Blue Devils (19-3, 8-1 WB6) had 13 players get at least one basket apiece.

It quickly put Saturday’s 20-point loss to Kansas City Staley in the rear view. The setback to the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 6 ended the Blue Devils’ six-game winning streak.

“The biggest thing for us is staying on track,” Douglas said. “And after the weekend, getting back on track. We wanted to clean some things up offensively and execute better. Some of the little things we needed to work, we did do better.

“The first group did a really good job. The second group that came in did a really good job executing our stuff as well.”

It sends the Blue Devils back on the road Friday night needing a victory to set up a de facto WB6 title showdown with Moline on February 3. Quincy travels to Sterling (18-5, 6-3 WB6) this week with the Golden Warriors still in the title race, sitting two games behind the Blue Devils.

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