Deflecting attention: Blue Devils disrupt Crusaders’ attack

By Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 28, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Dec. 29, 2018 12:50 am

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — If such a thing as a deflect-o-meter existed, Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas would want to see how high his team could make it go.

Friday night, it might have gone off the charts.

Quincy disrupted Belleville Althoff’s attack so dramatically the Crusaders had more turnovers than points through three quarters. The Blue Devils took full advantage of that, allowing their second fewest points of the season in a 47-26 victory in the consolation semifinals of the 35th annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.

“The amount of tips we had in the first half was ridiculous,” said Douglas, whose team will play Belleville East at 3 p.m. Saturday for the consolation championship. “It was unbelievable how many times we got hands on the ball and the number of times that led to layups which we finished.

“I don’t know how many deflections we actually had, but it would have sent the meter up really high.”

The goal was at least one deflection every possession. It nearly happened.

“It should be higher than it was because there were a lot of deflections a lot of people didn’t even notice,” Quincy senior guard Jirehl Brock said. “I can remember a time in the game where I got a deflection and it went out of bounds and they called it our ball because the official didn’t see I had a deflection on it.

“We were just all over the place.”

While the defense locked in almost immediately — Althoff committed turnovers on three of its first five possessions — the energy was generated by a near perfect start offensively.

Quincy buried its first four 3-point attempts, scored on five of its first six possessions and led 14-2 four minutes into the game. It took a well executed play on the game’s first possession to kicksart that opening salvo.

Senior guard Jaeden Smith came off a screen to catch the ball uncovered at the top of the key and make an uncontested 3-pointer just 16 seconds into the game. Althoff never pulled even or led thereafter.

“It allows us to settle in,” said Smith, who went 4 of 8 from 3-point range and scored 16 points. “We had a ton of energy. Having that lead at the beginning gives a step ahead, and we feel like we play well with the lead.”

Douglas knew the Blue Devils were in good shape when Smith’s first shot fell.

“Nothing better than starting a game by executing a play to perfection,” Douglas said.

The Blue Devils weren’t always perfect.

After making their first four 3-pointers, they missed their next 11 attempts. Lucas Reis snapped that streak when he hit a trey from the top of the key with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter.

At that point, the Blue Devils were up 31-13 and in the midst of holding the Crusaders to just two points in the third quarter.

Althoff trailed 34-15 going to the fourth quarter, having committed 16 turnovers and shot 25 percent from the field.

“We kind of felt going into the game they weren’t going to be able to handle our pressure and that they hadn’t seen anything like our zone,” Brock said. “We were working on keeping them out of the paint. We wanted to limit that. It’s kind of hard to stop it, but you can always limit their ability with that.”

35th annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic

Quincy 47, Althoff 26