Victory over defending state champs moves QHS boys into first-place tie in Western Big Six
QUINCY – A couple of explosive offensive spurts and a lockdown defense proved to be a winning formula.
Three consecutive 3-pointers by Bradley Longcor III that created separation in the second quarter, and nine straight points in 92 seconds in the third period, were enough to carry the Quincy High School boys basketball team to a 54-37 victory over Moline Tuesday night in Blue Devil Gym.
Longcor’s timely perimeter barrage, after the Blue Devils struggled early against the Maroons’ 1-3-1 zone, gave the hosts a 24-9 lead — only to see Moline trim the deficit to 10 by halftime.
That was still the margin when the Quincy defense repeatedly turned mistakes into points in the third quarter. When Keshaun Thomas scored off one of the Maroons’ 21 turnovers to cap the 9-0 run with 3:57 left in the period, the Blue Devils were comfortably ahead 40-21.
“That was the game,” Moline coach Sean Taylor said of the third-period spurt.
The win, its 22nd in 24 games, moved Quincy into a first-place tie with Rock Island in the Western Big 6 Conference at 8-1. Moline, the defending WB6 and Class 4A state champion, dropped to 19-5 overall and 7-3 in league play with its third loss in five days.
“We’re a team that likes to get out and run in transition, and we got a handful of those opportunities – none bigger than the opportunity to kind of put the game away late,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said.
“But I was really proud of the defensive effort. All five guys who were on the floor played their man the way they needed to play them. The communication was there, the intensity was there. The guys were able to execute the game plan in the second half.”
The Blue Devils found it difficult to navigate the Maroons’ trapping zone in the first quarter, often settling for perimeter jumpers. They went 1 for 7 from 3-point range and made only 4 of 13 field goal tries overall, but they limited Moline to just three field goals while forcing seven turnovers to take a 13-6 lead.
“We got some good looks by guys who normally knock down some of those shots,” Douglas said. “The thing is, if they’re not dropping, we’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball inside and creating, maybe getting a pull-up or two and finishing at the rim to get to the free-throw line.
“Luckily, Brad was on.”
Longcor, who finished with a game-high 19 points, sank three straight 3-pointers, the last on a pull-up jumper in transition with 3:33 to go in the first half to boost Quincy’s lead to 24-9. That seemed to settle down the Blue Devils.
“Once Brad started hitting a couple of threes, we all got in the flow,” Thomas said.
“We knew the shots would eventually drop,” Longcor said. “We needed to keep that mindset and go from there.”
However, Quincy managed just two points the remainder of the quarter. A buzzer-beating dunk by Trey Taylor after the Blue Devils turned the ball over on their end of the floor while playing for a final shot pulled Moline within 26-16.
“Holding them to 26 points was a win for us,” Sean Taylor said. “We’ve just got to be able to score the ball a little better. And we turned the ball over. A lot of that had to do with their quickness.”
After shooting just 36 percent from the field in the first half, Quincy hit its first five shots to open the third quarter, most of them in transition.
After Thomas hit two free throws to make it 33-21, a steal and a layup by Ralph Wires, a 3-pointer from the right corner by Camden Brown and Thomas’ layup off another Moline miscue pushed the advantage to 40-21.
“We had the lead at halftime and needed to punch them in the mouth, and that’s exactly what we did,” Thomas said.
While the Maroons managed to close within 45-33 at the close of the period on late 3-pointers by Taylor Lewis and Trey Taylor, they managed just two buckets in a low-scoring fourth quarter.
Thomas scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half.
“They did a really good job of being in position and making it look like Keshaun wasn’t open early,” Douglas said. “Keshaun early in the game said, ‘I’m not working hard enough to get open.’ He did a better job in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter of finding those open window, and we got him the ball.”
Quincy hosts United Township Friday night before facing East St. Louis Saturday in the Midwest Crossroads Shootout in Normal.
Braden Freeman and Trey Taylor scored 14 points apiece for Moline, which suffered a two-point loss to Rock Island last Friday and a four-point loss in overtime to St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet Saturday in the Pinckneyville Shootout after stringing together eight straight wins.
“We’ve lost three in a row, but we’re playing better now than when we were in December when we were winning three in a row,” Sean Taylor said. “I’m not happy with the losses, but those are three pretty good clubs.
“We just have to do a better job of attacking. They’re coming to our place in a couple of weeks (Feb. 9), so we better find a better plan to attack them.”
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.