State-ranked Blue Devils able to enjoy long road home following another WB6 victory

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EAST MOLINE, Ill. — The American actors’ union strike that delayed the production of television shows and movies is making it increasingly more difficult for Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas to find new films for entertainment on long bus rides.

“At least I can sleep on the bus pretty much anytime,” Douglas said.

The Blue Devils are getting plenty of practice at that.

Friday night’s Western Big 6 Conference trip to play United Township was the third league road game this month and the fourth trip in the last six games. Another looms next Tuesday with a game at Springfield before a short reprieve for the Christmas holiday.

The upside to so many December road trips is the back half of the schedule is loaded with home games. By then, the Blue Devils hope to be in the driver’s seat in the WB6 title chase.

After Friday night’s 50-34 victory at the Panther Den, that’s the position they are in.

Quincy, ranked third in the Class 4A state poll, moved to 4-0 in the WB6 with the victory and sits at 9-0 overall going into Saturday’s crosstown showdown at Quincy Notre Dame. The Blue Devils own a one-game lead on Moline, Rock Island and United Township with no WB6 games until January 5.

“We can’t worry about those things right now,” Douglas said. “We just have to keep playing and improving.”

And rest when they can.

“It’s been a lot of miles,” Douglas said.

It somewhat showed in the first half when the Blue Devils scored just seven points in the second quarter and took a 23-18 lead to halftime.

“It was that we played horrible in the first half, but there were one or two people not doing their job on a given possession and UT was able to take advantage of that,” Douglas said. “We never were really able to shut the door on them.”

In the third quarter, that changed. Quincy outscored UT 14-6 over that eight-minute stretch and steadily pulled away, eventually leading by as many as 19 points.

“It was much better in the second half,” Douglas said. “The guys were flying around, getting rebounds. All around, it was a lot better in the second half.”

Junior forward Keshaun Thomas led the Blue Devils with 19 points, going 8 of 8 from the free-throw line as Quincy finished 12 of 14 from the line. Camden Brown added nine points and Dom Clay added eight. Sophomore guard Jasiah Massey led the Panthers with 11 points.

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