By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Jan. 26, 2020 12:20 am
QUINCY — Turnovers and miscues by the Quincy High School boys basketball team cracked the door open just wide enough late in the fourth quarter for Centralia to see a glimmer of hope.
Then Lucas Reis slammed it shut.
The senior point guard made eight consecutive free throws in the final 1 minute, 16 seconds of regulation Saturday night, including the final four after the Orphans made it a two-possession game as the Blue Devils capped the third annual Quincy Shootout with a 62-57 victory at Blue Devil Gym.
“That’s just practice,” Reis said. “That’s where it all comes from. That and wanting the ball.”
It was the second night in a row Reis finished strong, going 5 of 6 from the line in the final 44.1 seconds of the 54-50 overtime victory against Rock Island. The weekend sweep gave the Blue Devils (13-6) some momentum heading into a crucial Western Big Six Conference game at Galesburg on Tuesday.
“This was a massive weekend for us,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “For as rough as we had it the previous couple weeks, for us to come out and play as well as we did against Rocky, for us to find a way and grind one out against Centralia and pull together, I think that’s huge.”
For the longest time, it didn’t appear like it would be strenuous at the end.
The Orphans (18-5) committed five turnovers in the first quarter, leading to seven points for the Blue Devils and a 14-9 lead. That cushion ballooned to 35-20 by halftime as Quincy made 7 of 10 from the field and scored on eight of the nine possessions they didn’t commit a turnover.
Reis, who finished with 19 points and four assists, hit three consecutive 3-pointers in that span.
“We have to get to the point where we’re understanding how it happened,” said Douglas, who got 19 points from Jeremiah Talton and 13 from Adonte Crider. “It’s not just a fluke when we go on runs like that. We’re doing things we need to do and executing our offense the way we need to execute it to get some of those shots.”
Replicating such efficiency takes practice.
“We have to execute in practice first to even get those to that in a game,” Reis said.
The Blue Devils have to eliminate the miscues, too.
The lead grew to 43-26 midway through the third quarter before the turnover bug hit. The Blue Devils gave the ball away on five of their final seven possessions of the third quarter and five times in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
“In a situation like that, we have to handle it better,” Reis said.
The pressure Centralia applied wasn’t unexpected.
“We knew at halftime they weren’t going to fold no matter how much they were down,” Reis said. “Coach said they weren’t going to go down easy, and they didn’t. Even when we came out in the third quarter firing, they didn’t fold.”
Behind Preston Johannes’ relentless attacking — the Orphans senior guard made nine consecutive free throws in the second half and was 13 of 19 from the line overall — Centralia trimmed the deficit to 53-47 with 1:24 to play and made it a four-point game on two separate occasions.
Reis simply wouldn’t allow the Orphans to get any closer.
“When you have a guy like that who wants to step up like that in crucial times, that’s huge,” Douglas said. “That’s huge for our team and our guys. We need a couple others. One of the things that could hurt is just relying on him all the time. We need a couple others to do the same.
“But he’s done a great job of being that guy for us. Whether it’s making plays or knocking down free throws, he’s been huge.”
By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Jan. 25, 2020 1:24 am Updated: Jan. 25, 2020 1:41 am
QUINCY — For a short stretch in overtime Friday night, the Quincy High School boys basketball team didn’t find the charity stripe so charitable.
Lucas Reis still wanted to toe the line.
The senior guard made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 44.1 seconds and buried the first of two with 1.3 seconds remaining to finally put away Rock Island as the Blue Devils earned a 54-50 Western Big Six Conference victory during the third annual Quincy Shootout at Blue Devil Gym.
“I know a lot of these Rocky players and I was telling them you don’t want to foul me,” Reis said with a sly grin. “I told Malachi (Key), ‘Don’t let me take over this game because I’ll be shooting free throws.’
“I want the ball there, and when (Adonte Crider) passed it to me, he was like, ‘You’ll make them.’ I felt I would, too.”
By doing so, he kept the Blue Devils in the midst of the WB6 title chase at the midpoint of the league season. Quincy (12-6, 5-2 WB6) trails Galesburg (20-2, 6-2 WB6) by a half-game with a trip to John Thiel Gym looming Tuesday night.
“I told Adonte this is about putting paint on the wall,” Reis said, referring to the list of WB6 championships painted on the north wall of the gym. “That’s why we had to fight.”
It became a fight to the finish.
Quincy led by six throughout most of the third quarter, but Rock Island (13-5, 4-3 WB6) scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 36. A shot by Reis going down the middle of the lane and a 3-pointer by Crider regained the lead, before Rocky answered and tied the game at 43 with 1:20 to play.
A turnover allowed Rocky to take the lead on Taurean Holtam’s layin from the left block. Jeremiah Talton made a pair of free throws with 44.2 seconds left to tie the game and eventually force overtime.
“We have a team that can make a mistake, get back and turn it right back around,” Crider said.
The Blue Devils had to do that time and again.
Tied at 47 nearly three minutes into overtime, Quincy’s Brady Rupert missed a pair of free throws, but Crider snared the offensive rebound and reset the offense. Rupert made amends for the misses by scoring off a Reis assist for a 49-47 lead.
A missed 3-point attempt by the Rocks, an offensive rebound by Crider of a missed free throw and Reis’ two free throws gave the Blue Devils a four-point advantage.
“That was kind of us tonight,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “We were extremely resilient from tip to the last buzzer. It didn’t matter if it was missed free throws or missed layups, Lord knows we had plenty of those. We played through mistakes, and that’s what tough teams do.”
That included the final minute.
Jordan Rice, Rock Island’s junior point guard who returned to the lineup after missing five games with an ankle injury, buried a 3-pointer from about 30 feet to narrow the deficit to 51-50 with 34.6 seconds remaining.
Quincy forced a turnover on Rocky’s next possession, and Reis, who finished with 20 points, three assists and three steals, made it a three-point game with two free throws with 9.6 seconds left. Those came after Crider missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but collected the offensive rebound of his miss.
It was the kind of hustle play that ultimately won the game.
“We’re trying to get to where we’re a consistent team being tough,” Douglas said. “This was a good step toward that.”
By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Jan. 23, 2020 12:01 am
The third annual Quincy Shootout takes place Friday and Saturday with a 15-game slate — seven to be played Friday night between two gyms and eight games Saturday at Blue Devil Gym.
Here is an A-to-Z look at the field, the event and the need-to-know to be prepared to watch some of the best basketball teams and players in the nation all in one place:
A is for Andy Douglas, the head coach at Quincy High School. A 2000 graduate of QHS who is in his sixth season as head coach, Douglas won his 100th game with the Blue Devils with Tuesday night’s victory over Geneseo. His willingness to embrace playing high-level teams has helped shootout organizers create marquee matchups involving the host school.
B is for Bagley, as in Marcus Bagley. The Arizona State signee is the younger brother of Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III and the centerpiece of the Sheldon Huskies. Bagley is a McDonald’s All-American nominee and one of the top 40 seniors nationwide.
C is for championships. Four teams that played in the shootout the previous two seasons went on to win their respective state championships. In 2018, Webster Groves (Mo.) and Bishop Miege, of Shawnee Mission, Kan., won state titles, while last year Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge and Oskaloosa (Iowa) both won titles despite getting beat in the shootout.
D is for Devils, both the blue and the red. Quincy’s mascot is the Blue Devils and fans will be treated to the legendary pregame ceremony in which a student dressed as a blue devil dances around the gym with a flaming pitchfork. St. Louis Chaminade’s mascot is the Red Devils.
E is for ESPN. The nation’s leader in sports coverage released its updated top 100 recruits in the Class of 2020 this week and four players participating in the shootout made the list. Sheldon’s Marcus Bagley is at No. 34, Hamilton Heights’ Samson Ruzhentsev is No. 53, Vashon’s Cam’Ron Fletcher is No. 58 and Henderson’s Julian Strawther is No. 59.
F is for food. Fans wanting to make this a full-day event can dine on more than traditional concession stand fare such as popcorn and candy. QHS will hold its annual spaghetti supper Friday night, while soup, sandwiches and hot dogs will be available throughout Saturday’s games.
G is for gym, in this case Blue Devil Gym. The venerable facility opened in December 1957 and seats roughly 3,900 fans. The north and south walls display some of the QHS program’s historic achievements and the addition of a video board has intensified the atmosphere. It was the site of the program’s 2,000th all-time victory during the 2017-18 season.
H is for Hamilton Heights. A private school based in Chattanooga, Tenn., Hamilton Heights nearly had its doors closed for good last spring. However, support from the community and alumni allowed the school to remain open, and its basketball program has brought it additional national recognition. The Hawks have been ranked as high as No. 2 nationally this season.
I is for Irons, as in Vashon coach Tony Irons. He is the son of Hall of Fame coach Floyd Irons, who guided the Wolverines to 802 victories and 10 state championships during a 33-year career and made Vashon a household name. Tony Irons took over in 2015 and has vaulted Vashon back to being the top program in Missouri with back-to-back Class 3 state championships in 2018 and 2019.
J is for January, the month the shootout takes place each season. This is the third year for the two-day event, and plans already are in the works for next year’s event. Mark your calendars for Jan. 22-23, 2021, for the fourth annual event.
K is for Kentucky, one of the bluebloods of college basketball and the future home of Vashon forward Cam’Ron Fletcher. The 6-foot-7 swingman who is averaging 16 points per game is the first Kentucky recruit to appear in the shootout.
L is for length as 10 teams in the shootout field feature players 6-foot-7 or taller. Mehville senior Davion Bradford, a Kansas State signee, is the tallest player in the field at 7 feet and will face Hamilton Heights’ Samson Ruzhentsev, a 6-foot-7 University of Florida signee, on Friday night.
M is for Memphis East, one of the top high school programs in Tennessee. The Mustangs won three straight Class AAA state championships from 2016-18 and finished as the state runner-up last season. Former McDonald’s All-American and University of Tennessee guard Tony Harris recently joined the East coaching staff.
N is for new additions. While several schools have returned to the shootout, eight are making their first appearance in Quincy. Two of those are St. Louis Chaminade, which is the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 5 and features Kansas State-bound forward Luke Kasubke, and Mehlville, which is ranked second in Missouri Class 5 and was a state quarterfinalist last season.
O is for Orphans, the most unique mascot in the shootout field. Centralia adopted the Orphans nickname during legendary coach Arthur Trout’s heyday and are believed to be the only team in the nation with the nickname. The Orphans are the all-time winningest high school program nationwide with more than 2,400 victories.
P is for the Pit, the home gym of Quincy Notre Dame. The Pit will play host to three games Friday night, and when packed with fans, the 1,900-seat facility can be one of the loudest and warmest venues for high school basketball anywhere around.
Q is for Quincy, a community blessed to be in love with basketball. At the height of the QHS boys basketball team’s success, Blue Devils coach Jerry Leggett referred to Quincy as the basketball capital of Illinois. The town with a population of 40,000 will fill multiple gyms on a winter weekend and show fervent support for the two high schools and the two colleges.
R is for Rock Island, which turned its yearly trip to Quincy for a Western Big Six Conference showdown into a full weekend by sticking around for a Saturday game. Rock Island graduate David Robinson is coaching the Davenport (Iowa) West team which faces QND on Saturday, and Rock Island senior big man Solomon Gustafson is the first player to sign with Quincy University for the Class of 2020.
S is for Shootout organizers. QHS athletic director Scott Douglas along with Eric Stratman and Wills Nixon put together this star-studded field. Their efforts are never-ending as contacts for next year’s event are already being made in hopes of creating another top-flight field to draw in basketball fans from near and far.
T is for tickets, which remain available. Tickets for Friday night at Blue Devil Gym will be $6 for adults and $5 for students with the same rates at the Pit. Both venues will be honoring season tickets Friday night. Saturday, tickets are $12 for the lower level and $10 for the upper level at Blue Devil Gym and are good for all eight games.
U is for Ulis, which would be Ahron Ulis, the point guard for Chicago Heights Marian Catholic. The Spartans are making a return to the shootout and Ulis has signed with the University of Iowa. The younger brother of Tyler Ulis,
V is for Vashon, one of the iconic high school programs in St. Louis and Missouri. The Wolverines were named one of the nation’s top 25 all-time programs by USA Today and was the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in 2005. Vashon will be featured in the final game Friday night at Blue Devil Gym.
W is for website. All of the shootout games will be streamed live by Baller TV. The cost is $7.50 to subscribe to the service and all 15 games can be found at ballertv.com.
X is for Xavion and Xavier Brown, the brothers who hold down the backcourt for the Sheldon Huskies. The Browns are receiving NCAA Division I recruiting interest and were all-area selections by the Sacramento Bee last season. Sheldon is traveling the furthest of any team in the shootout field, making the 1,900-mile trip from Sacramento, Calif.
Y is for youth. The shootout crowd the first two years was filled with kids dreaming of playing on the Blue Devil Gym floor. Those kids were treated to players from all teams being willing to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Z is for Zags, as in the Gonzaga Zags. Julian Strawther, the top scorer in the shootout field averaging more than 30 points per game for Liberty out of Henderson, Nev., has signed with Gonzaga, which has been one of the teams to hold the No. 1 ranking this season in the Associated Press Top 25.
By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFFPosted: Dec. 29, 2019 12:40 am
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — The scenario wasn’t ideal, especially considering the opponent.
The Quincy High School boys basketball team trailed Edwardsville 45-35 with 3 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s consolation bracket semifinal at the 36th annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.
“You typically don’t win a game like that against Edwardsville,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “They know how to take the air out of the ball and squeeze out victories in games like that.”
The Blue Devils didn’t care who the opponent or what history suggested.
Their will to win was too strong to be trumped by tradition.
Jack Rupert hit a 3-point with 1:06 to play to make it a one-point game and Lucas Reis buried a game-winning trey with six seconds remaining as the Blue Devils rallied for a 51-50 victory in the auxiliary gym.
Quincy (9-3) will face Belleville Althoff at 3 p.m. Monday in Vergil Fletcher Gym for the consolation championship and the chance to finish the tournament with a 3-1 record.
“The big thing is they trusted each other,” Douglas said. “In the past, we would have fallen apart. You could see this group pulling for each other and telling each other to stay together. They made it happen.”
The Blue Devils caught a couple of breaks, too.
A three-point play by Jeremiah Talton started the final comeback and his 3-pointer made it 47-41 with 2:39 to play. Following a turnover by the Tigers, Talton made a pair of free throws and Edwardsville’s Ethan Young split a pair. Rupert then popped loose on the wing and buried a 3-pointer.
Young was fouled again and split a pair of free throws again. Quincy’s Brady Rupert slipped behind Edwardsville’s defense to convert an uncontested layup to cut the deficit to 49-48 with 36 seconds to play. Instead of fouling immediately, the Blue Devils played looked for a steal before sending the Tigers’ Brennan Weller to the line with 22 seconds remaining.
Weller made the first, missed the second and Talton grabbed the defensive rebound. Quincy got the ball into Crider’s hands and allowed him to drive baseline while Reis ran off a Talton screen. Crider kicked to Reis, who buried the shot for the one-point lead.
Edwardsville didn’t get off a field goal attempt in the final seconds.
“We executed it perfectly,” Douglas said.
Talton led the Blue Devils with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Reis had 10 points and four assists. Crider finished with four assists.
Quincy advanced to the semifinals by beating Rockford East 77-61 as Talton scored a career-high 30 points. Crider added 19 points, while Reis and Brady Rupert had 11 apiece. The Blue Devils built a 42-21 lead at halftime by limiting the E-Rabs to 33.3 percent shooting from the field in the first half.
Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic
Quincy 51, Edwardsville 50
By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Dec. 22, 2019 12:01 am
It never reached the point of panic, but the Quincy High School boys basketball team found itself on the edge of concern as its lead and the minutes remaining in the fourth quarter dwindled.
Time ran out before the advantage ever did.
Quincy Notre Dame chiseled a 20-point halftime deficit to just five in the waning seconds of Saturday’s crosstown showdown at the Pit before QHS senior point guard Lucas Reis corralled a defensive rebound with five seconds to play and ran out the clock on a 55-50 victory.
“I didn’t get nervous because I could see it out on the floor how we were coming together through that time,” Reis said. “We were talking, and we know we have a lot of things to fix offensively and defensively, but we came together to finish the job.”
It gave the Blue Devils their fifth straight victory in the city series and improved their all-time record against the Raiders to 50-5.
“I feel like this brought us closer together,” QHS sophomore swingman Jeremiah Talton said. “Because of that, in late games, we can play better and do the things we need to do.”
However, this was the first time since the series was renewed in 2015 the Blue Devils had to sort of sweat it out. The five-point margin of victory is the smallest in the last five meetings and one of only two matchups decided by single digits.
“It wasn’t one of those losses where you’re sad after,” QND junior forward Jack Marth said. “It’s something we feel we can build on. It’s a confidence booster heading into (the State Farm Holiday Classic).”
The first half didn’t mirror that.
Marth hit a 15-foot jumper to tie the game at 2 roughly 80 seconds into the game, but the Raiders (2-5) didn’t make another field goal until Grant Hyer, who had 12 points and five assists while playing on a sprained ankle, scored in the paint with 4:06 to play in the first half. In the 101/2 minutes before baskets, QND was outscored 23-5, missed six shots and committed eight turnovers.
“We were just rushing things,” said Marth, who had 10 points and four rebounds. “Their zone was a little too much for us. We were able to slow things down in the second half and get better looks.”
It was a 33-13 deficit not just because the Raiders went 3 of 17 from the field in the first half, but the Blue Devils were dynamic offensively. They jumped ahead 12-4 by scoring on five straight possessions and maintained similar rhythm in the second quarter, scoring five times in a seven-possession stretch that pushed the lead to 30-9.
The Blue Devils shot 54.5% from the field in the first half, while turning 12 turnovers into 14 points.
“Ball movement and player movement. That’s pretty much it,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said. “Against their zone, we did a really good job of being patient and dissecting it. We made some passes from the top of the key to the block to get guys open. We got guys shots where they needed to get shots.”
Those shots weren’t as available, nor did they fall with the same consistency in the second half.
The Blue Devils went 2 of 13 from the field in the third quarter, while the Raiders scored on four of their first six possessions and pulled within 11 points heading into the fourth quarter.
“Like the coaches always say, we’re going to throw punches, they’re going to throw punches,” said Reis, who led the Blue Devils with 16 points and eight assists. “You can’t win a fight on one punch. We were punching with them, and they were answering. They answered the whole game.”
The Raiders did it incrementally.
“The thing we kept talking about was being surgical,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said. “You have to make a cut here and make a cut there. It’s not going to be an axe. We don’t have a 20-point play, but we can score and get some things going and get ourselves back in the game.”
The Blue Devils didn’t make it easy, opening the fourth quarter by scoring the first seven points to extend the lead to 46-28. However, the Raiders’ Nathan Schutte made a pair of 3-pointers, Jake Hoyt buried a trey and QND turned a pair of QHS turnovers into baskets to finally trim the deficit to single digits with 40 seconds to play.
There weren’t enough possessions nor enough time to finish the rally, namely because the Blue Devils didn’t panic and give anything away.
“I felt like we had it under control on the defensive end, and that translated to good offense,” Talton said. “We made plays on both ends when we absolutely had to.”
By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Dec. 8, 2019 12:20 am
QUINCY — Jack Kahoun didn’t wait until the final seconds to deliver a dagger.
This one came with 4 minutes, 25 seconds still to play Saturday night, but it was every bit as lethal.
The Oswego senior guard buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Panthers the lead for the first time since the middle part of the second quarter, and it was part of a 20-2 run that allowed Oswego to ruin the Quincy High School boys basketball team’s plan to stay undefeated until head coach Andy Douglas returned from suspension.
The Panthers erased a 12-point deficit with their overwhelming run and earned a 60-49 victory at Blue Devil Gym, beating the Blue Devils for a third straight season.
“I knew when I hit that three we were going to go on from there,” Kahoun said. “It was a very good feeling.”
He’s experienced that sensation before in this series.
As a sophomore, Kahoun hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to give Oswego a 56-55 victory at Blue Devil Gym. Last year, he tipped in a miss at the buzzer for a 61-59 victory at Oswego. Saturday night gave him one more moment to savor.
“It’s my last year playing in this gym,” said Kahoun, who had 11 points. “I’m going to miss it. It’s been one of my favorite games to play throughout the season.”
A lucky bounce on a 3-point attempt by Quincy (4-1) to start the fourth quarter made it appear Kahoun was headed for a bitter finale.
The Blue Devils led 42-33 after Jack Rupert hit a 3-pointer on the final possession of the third quarter. The junior guard opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that hit the back of the rim, popped straight up and plopped through the net for a 12-point advantage.
“When it happened, I thought, ‘Oh, here we go. They’re starting to pull away,'” Kahoun said after the Panthers improved to 7-0. “That’s when I had to get my team together.”
Oswego’s Joey Niesman answered with a 3-pointer, the Panthers got 6-foot-9 Connor McCance involved and the Blue Devils fell into an offensive chasm.
Quincy scored just two points over a span of 5:49, missing nine consecutive shots. Two misses at the rim early in that stretch contributed to the momentum shift that resulted in the Blue Devils getting outscored 27-7 in the fourth quarter.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought we kind of hung our heads a little bit,” said interim Quincy coach Tom Lepper, who will guide the Blue Devils in Tuesday night’s game at Rock Island Alleman before Douglas returns to the sidelines. “I guess the lesson tonight is when you’re going against good teams, you know they are going to make runs. When they made a run, we did not respond.”
Not only could the Blue Devils not stop the run, they couldn’t stem the tide with a basket.
They made just one of their final 14 shots and committed four turnovers in that stretch. Overall, Quincy shot just 27.6 percent from the field (16 of 58) and the starting five combined to miss 16 3-point attempts without a make,
“We can’t let up,” said Quincy point guard Lucas Reis, who had a team-high 16 points and four assists. “We might get tired, but in games like this against good teams like that, we can’t stop. Shots might not fall, but we have to stick with it.”
The Blue Devils didn’t.
“That’s us not being mentally strong,” Reis said.
It was a sudden, drastic change.
Although they trailed a majority of the first half, the Blue Devils closed the second quarter on a 12-2 run for a 27-21 lead as Reis went 6 of 6 from the line and scored eight points in that stretch. Quincy then held Oswego to three points over the last 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.
“I honestly thought we played the best two quarters in the second and third that we’ve played all year,” Lepper said. “We were in sync. We were in rhythm.”
The fourth quarter was an entirely different story. The Panthers’ Kobe Adams had 10 of his 22 points in the final stanza, while McCance had four points, six rebounds and a blocked shot. The Northern Michigan signee finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks and was central in the defensive effort that turned the tide.
“In the huddle after the third quarter, I told our guys everything we do has to be perfect and it starts with our defense,” Kahoun said.
And the Panthers knew he’d make a play when it mattered most.
Against Quincy, he always has.
Oswego 60, Quincy 49
By Matt Schuckman Herald-WhigPosted: Dec. 7, 2019 1:20 am
QUINCY — The memories of the occasional abuse Aaron Shoot delivered in practice two years ago don’t haunt Lucas Reis.
They motivate him.
And the Quincy High School senior point guard showcased all he learned from trying to defend Shoot during a pivotal stretch of the fourth quarter Friday night in the Western Big Six Conference opener against Galesburg.
The Blue Devils led 50-49 with three minutes to play when Reis shook free of Silver Streaks sophomore guard Daylan Ellington to score three consecutive baskets, putting the finishing touches on a 59-50 victory at Blue Devil Gym.
“I did the same thing to Aaron Shoot,” Reis said of the way Ellington applied tenacity and pressure. “And he blew by me every day. Last year, facing that, I probably would have turned it over. Absolutely, I would have. I knew I just had to keep calm. That’s a big emphasis, just staying calm.
“That’s what (QHS coach Andy) Douglas told me this week. He said, ‘They think from watching film you’re going to turn it over, but you’re not the same player.’ He trusts me. (Assistant coach Tom Lepper) trusts me with the ball. That’s what has my confidence up.”
With Reis at the controls, the Blue Devils never lost the lead in the second half.
Quincy (4-0, 1-0 WB6) led 36-31 at halftime but watched Galesburg pull within two points twice in the third quarter, but Reis drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 45-40 with 2:40 remaining in the quarter as the Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run.
Galesburg forward Jaylin McCants answered by scoring seven of the first eight points of the fourth quarter to pull the Silver Streaks within 50-49. That’s when Reis played like a savvy veteran.
He finished with 20 points, seven assists and three steals.
“Huge improvement from where he was last year,” Galesburg coach Ryan Hart said. “He’s improved his game 100 times. He can get the ball where it needs to go. He’s strong with the ball. If you let him get in rhythm, he’s going to knock down shots, too.
“It was on the board that we needed to keep him away from the rim and not let him get in-rhythm jump shots. To his credit, he was able to do it.”
More importantly, he helped the Blue Devils find their rhythm defensively after a rough first quarter.
The Silver Streaks opened the game by hitting five consecutive 3-pointers and led 15-5 just 3:15 into the game. The Blue Devils crawled back in the game, pulling within 21-18 as seven players scored in the first quarter.
“We came out real flat,” said Lepper, who is serving as interim coach during Douglas’ six-game suspension. “We told them in the locker room you have to contest, and we did a poor job doing that. When shooters make shots like that, you’re left with a poor outlook when you’re looking up at the scoreboard.”
But the Blue Devils changed their defensive energy and the flow of the game.
Quincy allowed just 10 points in the second quarter and 29 total over the final three quarters as Galesburg went 4 of 22 from 3-point range following its blistering start. Senior forward Jaylin McCants finished with 20 points — 14 in the second half — and he was the only Silver Streak to score in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our energy was a little slow to start the game, but they turned it around,” Lepper said.
It started by taking away shooters.
“Tom wasn’t going to let them shoot all day long, especially wide open,” Hart said. “They got out on them.”
Galesburg went 2 of 14 from 3-point range in the second half.
“We knew they could shoot coming in, but they came out swinging,” Reis said. “The emphasis at the end of the first quarter was the fact we needed to pick the defensive effort up. That’s what we did, and that’s what won us the game.
“It was us a group coming together. We were telling each other to stay calm. By doing that, it changed everything.”
Quincy 59, Galesburg 50
Congratulations to Adonte Crider and Lucas Reis on being selected to the Tournament Team Saturday night. Jeremiah Talton was announced as the Tournament MVP!