‘These are the games we need’: Brown’s three-point play highlights late comeback by Blue Devils
QUINCY — Playing the Lincoln Railsplitters is about as entertaining for the Quincy High School boys basketball team as shaving your head with a cheese grater.
“I think anybody will say that Lincoln is like the least fun team to play all year long,” junior guard Ralph Wires said. “We want to run, but they like to sit and hold it, just sit in a zone with no pressure. It’s boring.”
Lincoln allows just 32 points per game and plays at an offensive pace similar to dancing with your grandmother at a wedding reception. The Railsplitters’ style is effective, however, as their 14-4 record shows. They erased a nine-point fourth quarter deficit Saturday night to lead 39-35 with 1:44 remaining.
However, Quincy scored eight of the game’s last nine points, including a go-ahead three-point play by Camden Brown with 22 seconds left in the game, to win 43-40 Saturday night in Blue Devil Gym.
Only four of Quincy’s 16 victories entering the game were decided by single digits. Blue Devils coach Andy Douglas was pleased to see his team respond when facing adversity.
“These are games that we need,” he said. “As much as I want to yell and scream and throw stuff after the game, because it wasn’t how we wanted it to be, these are the games when you learn a lot about your guys. We said in a (late-game) timeout, ‘We’re going to find out what type of team we really have in a situation like this.’
“I really loved how they fought and battled.”
It didn’t have to be that difficult.
Quincy led 16-15 at halftime, gave up a basket to Lincoln’s Jake Bivin to start the third quarter, then regained the lead and led 30-23 entering the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Bradley Longcor III — his only basket of the game — put QHS ahead 35-26 with 6:08 remaining to play.
The Blue Devils (17-2) then failed to score on their next seven possessions, turning the ball over three times in that run. Meanwhile, Lincoln scored 13 consecutive points. A layup by Payton Cook — grandson of the late Norman Cook and nephew to Brian Cook, both Lincoln all-time greats — tied the score at 35, and a 3-pointer by Bivin put the Railsplitters ahead 38-35 with 2:43 remaining.
Brown air-balled a 3-point shot on Quincy’s next possession. After Bivin made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:44 to play, the Blue Devils turned the ball over.
Quincy forced a turnover on Lincoln’s next possession, and Wires drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 52 seconds left. Cook made one of two free throws to extend Lincoln’s lead to 40-38 with 33 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Quincy advanced the ball upcourt against Lincoln’s zone press. Tyler Sprick had the ball on the sideline in front of the benches, and he zipped a cross-court pass to Brown in the corner. Brown dribbled past a Lincoln defender and used a screen from Keshaun Thomas to drive to the basket. Cook fouled him as he made a layup with 22 seconds remaining.
“We were looking for Camden to drive or Keshaun slipping to the rim, and we had both of them,” Douglas said. “Keshaun dove and took up some space, and Camden obviously finished one of the biggest shots of the night.”
Brown put QHS ahead 41-40 with the ensuing free throw.
“I saw Keshaun had a dude sealed in the post, and they had a dude who was flying out at me (when he caught Sprick’s pass),” Brown said. “I just decided to drive in and get the and-one.”
“My excitement was through the roof,” Wires said. “I was ready to kill (Brown) when he made it.”
Lincoln advanced the ball to midcourt after Brown’s free throw and called a timeout. On the inbound play, Ki’on Carson tried to thread a pass to Bivin in the middle of the lane. Wires deflected it, and as Bivin went to the ground to retrieve the ball, Brown dove to tie him up — and the possession arrow was pointing to Quincy.
Longcor, whose five points were 10 below his season average, made two free throws with 2.5 seconds to play for the game’s final points.
Wires had 15 points. Brown added 12, and Thomas scored 11 for Quincy, which finished 17 points under its season scoring average.
“Tonight was a low scoring night, but we’ve got so many different weapons,” Wires said. “Bradley might not be on one night, but anyone else can be. We’re so dangerous. We have so many different players.”
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