Strong start propels Blue Devils into rematch with Panthers for regional championship

Q 8

Quincy High School's Leah Chevalier, left, and Myley Longcor trap Belleville East's Taylor Smith during Monday night's Class 4A regional semifinal at O'Fallon, Ill. | Photo courtesy Paul Baillargeon, Archview Photos

O’FALLON, Ill. — The Quincy High School girls basketball players didn’t get caught up in the scouting report or overly concern themselves with how Belleville East would attack.

“They just want to go out and play and do what’s expected of them,” Quincy coach Brad Dance said.

And they expected to earn a spot in the Class 4A O’Fallon Regional title game.

That was a foregone conclusion four minutes into Monday’s semifinal. The third-seeded Blue Devils scored the game’s first 17 points and never allowed the sixth-seeded Lancers to ever get comfortable in posting a 68-30 victory.

“I thought they did a really good job of sharing the ball, throwing it ahead and getting us a lot of easy looks as a result of that,” Dance said. “Our defense started a lot of our offense. Even off rebounds, we threw the ball ahead, found the open person and shot a lot of layups.”

With the victory, the Blue Devils (25-6) match the 1997-98 team for the most single-season victories in program history and will get a rematch with O’Fallon at 7 p.m. Thursday in the regional championship game.

The second-seeded Panthers dispatched Belleville West 65-22 in the other semifinal. O’Fallon (25-7) beat Quincy 58-32 on November 18, limiting the Blue Devils to 13 first-half points and outsourcing them 19-7 in the second quarter.

“We were playing chase the whole game,” Dance said. “We have to weather the storm early and just continue to play. The main thing is our guards and anyone who handles the ball does their job.

“We have to be more under control and we can’t panic when they get out and guard us. We have to make sure we handle the basketball.”

Freshman forward Jada Brown led the Blue Devils with 18 points, while senior forward Taylor Fohey had 14 points, freshman guard Myley Longcor added 12 and senior guard Leah Chevalier chipped in with 11.

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