Blue Devils double down defensively, sweep away Panthers

Quincy’s Jake Jobe looks towards the basket to grab the rebound against United Township’s Taelor Lopez during their game at the Panther Den on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (Photo by Meg McLaughlin – Dispatch/Argus) Meg McLaughlin

By MARC NESSELER Special to The Herald-Whig

Posted: Feb. 12, 2016 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 13, 2016 1:50 am

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — The United Township boys basketball team could not pull off the trifecta of ending losing streaks against Western Big Six Conference teams on Friday night.

Instead, Quincy High School pulled off a daily double of shutting down a potent Panthers’ offense.

With a stellar defense that forced the Panthers to fire away unsuccessfully beyond the 3-point arc — UT made 3 of 22 attempts — Quincy pulled off a season sweep with a 51-40 victory at the Panther Den.

UT coach Ryan Webber said that it was one of the two worst nights of shooting for his team. The other came against the Blue Devils as well when Quincy held UT to 6-of-29 shooting from 3-point range in a 46-40 victory at Blue Devil Gym in December.

UT shot just 26 percent (5 of 19) in the first half Friday ngiht, though Quincy held just a 19-14 lead. And while the Panthers’ accuracy picked up in the second half (10 of 25), the 3-point shooting did not.

The Panthers were 1 of 11 from long distance in the first half and 2 of 11 in the second half.

“Defense was the key from the start,” said Quincy coach Andy Douglas, whose team is 17-5, 6-2 in the WB6, ahead of next Friday’s showdown at home against state-ranked Galesburg. “The defense took charge in the early going, and that defense led to a good offense.”

Much of that offense was predicated on the shot that UT could not hit. Senior guard Cameron Gay was 4 of 7 beyond the arc, and Jake Jobe was 4 of 8. That’s 24 points of bombs in an 11-point game.

“Cameron has had good games for us this season, but I think this one was his coming-out party,” Douglas said. “He had it going.”

The night brought a big postgame smile to Gay, who finished with a dozen points, second only to Jobe’s 16.

“I was feeling it,” Gay said.

In spite of the Panthers failing to get their 20th win of the season, Webber thought his team had a shot at it, especially in the third quarter. The Panthers (19-6, 5-4 WB6) had erased an eight-point deficit to take a 28-27 lead with 1:26 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter, though, was all Quincy. The Blue Devils hit 7 of 11 shots, sparking a 17-1 run.

“Both teams battled,” Webber said. “I just think they outplayed us (in the fourth). They made plays that we didn’t.

They hit free throws and got loose balls.”

UT was led in scoring by Jacob Meeske with 16 points, and that was a comeback story in itself. Meeske missed his first seven shots, all 3-point tries.

Tray Buchanan added 12 points, as well as a team-high six rebounds, however it came with his most troublesome shooting night of the season as he went 4 of 17.

“I credit Quincy,” Webber said.