Commitment Allows Tenhouse to Live Out Dream of Being a Blue Devil
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QUINCY — Regan Tenhouse balked at giving a definitive answer.
“Oh my gosh, is there a tie?” Tenhouse said. “Is that an answer?”
See, basketball is Tenhouse’s passion and playing for the Quincy High School boys basketball team has been a lifelong dream. The two have always gone hand-in-hand, so when asked which he loved more — basketball or being a Blue Devil — he couldn’t choose one over the other.
“All of the above,” Tenhouse said. “That would be my answer.”
It’s the perfect answer in the tale of Tenhouse, who has gone from a reserve near the end of Quincy’s bench as a junior to a full-time starter and one of the team leaders this season. The Blue Devils are off to a 5-2 start in Andy Douglas’ first year as Quincy’s head coach, and much of the success has to do with the offseason commitment of the players.
Tenhouse exemplifies that better than anyone else.
“It impresses me that he brings it every practice and in everything we do, whether it’s workouts or warmups,” Douglas said. “Whatever it is, you know he’s going to go hard at it.”
It’s the only way Tenhouse, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, knew he’d be able to earn playing time.
“Toward the end of last season, I kind of had the chance to think things through and I was like, ‘I have the chance to play next year,'” Tenhouse said. “I knew I had to put in the work. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It wasn’t going to be easy by any means. But I knew if I worked hard enough I’d have that opportunity.”
So he committed himself to lifting weights, playing pick-up games and trying to improve every facet of his game.
“We worked every day,” said senior point guard Lincoln Elbe, who is a team co-captain with Tenhouse. “We worked weekends. We worked every chance we had.”
They didn’t skip a day.
“There were days you didn’t want to work, days you wanted to go swim at the pool,” Tenhouse said. “But every day, I worked.”
He made sure to have a little fun, too.
“I found time to go to the pool,” Tenhouse said. “But basketball was first.”
That’s so he could hear his name reverberate from the speakers on Thanksgiving night when Quincy opened its season.
“During Thanksgiving, I tried not to think about it because I didn’t want to have jitters,” Tenhouse said. “But when I was sitting on the bench listening to the pregame song play, it was incredible. It was a dream come true.”
The dream got a little better. Tenhouse excelled as a low-post scorer and rebounding fiend, averaging 9.7 points and 8.3 rebounds as the Blue Devils went 3-0 and won the 44th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament. He also hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime as Quincy outlasted Urbana and was named to the all-tournament team.
“It’s something, as a kid, you’re always looking up to those players,” Tenhouse said. “You’re always wanting to hear your name called on Friday night in Blue Devil Gymnasium. As a kid, you’d get goosebumps just thinking about it. Now, you’re the one out there. It makes it all worth it, looking back at all the work you put in. It makes it well worth the hard work.”
The hard work never ceases.
Douglas compared Tenhouse favorably to Illinois forward Nnanna Egwu, who Douglas considers to be the hardest practice player he’s ever seen.
“Like Egwu, Regan does the little things hard every single day,” Douglas said. “That’s why he’s been able to get as much out of his skill level as he can.”
And it’s why he’s an example Douglas hopes players at every level of the QHS program try to emulate.
“It’s important for the entire program,” Douglas said. “When you talk about building a program, you talk about individually leaving your legacy. If players look, coaches look, fans look at Regan, they are going to look at a guy who put 100 percent into every game, every practice that he played.
“It’s really important for the leadership part of it. Leaving a legacy is important for the younger guys to pick up and run with.”