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