By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Balanced scoring from several different players makes any team very difficult to defend.
If Saturday night was any indication, the Quincy High School boys basketball team will be a handful for every opponent it faces.
The Blue Devils had three different players score in double figures in three different quarters as they picked up a 64-51 victory on the road against Springfield. The Blue Devils remain undefeated through the first seven games this season.
QHS looked to set the tone of the game by going inside, and Parker Bland scored nine straight points to give the Blue Devils an 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
“We wanted to get the ball inside from the beginning,” sophomore guard Jirehl Brock said. “Establishing the inside allows us to work off them as well.”
QHS stretched the lead to 16-2 before a 3-pointer by Springfield’s Zaire Harris stopped a 14-0 run. Bland finished the quarter with 13 points, giving QHS a 20-10 lead.
With the Senators giving extra attention to Bland in the second quarter, Brock took the opportunity to carry the scoring load. He had 11 points in the quarter.
Springfield had cut the QHS lead to 26-18, but a 3-pointer by Bland and a rare four-point play by Brock pushed the lead back to 15. Bland had 16 in the first half and Brock 14 to give QHS a 38-24 lead at the half.
“We have random guys who are capable of having big nights, and that makes us difficult to defend,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said.
The Senators increased their defensive pressure in the second half and forced the Blue Devils to commit 10 turnovers, slowly chipping away at the deficit. Midway through the fourth quarter, Springfield got within 58-49, the first time the lead was down to single digits since the first quarter.
However, it was Garrett Gadeke’s turn to have a big quarter. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including the final six of the game to seal the victory.
“Springfield got a little physical with our guys in the second half, but that’s good,” said Douglas. “It will prepare us for the games that lie ahead.”
Gadeke finished with 18 points, and Brock added 16. Bland led the Blue Devils with 22 points.
QHS heads to East Moline on Friday before taking on crosstown rival QND on Saturday at Blue Devil Gym.
“Our kids know what is on Saturday, but we know that Friday night is a huge conference road game, and that needs to be our focus this week,” Douglas said.