By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Mike Davis was mad. At himself. At his play. At something.
“I thought I was doing bad,” Davis said. “So I was just mad. I had to take some pressure off somehow.”
The Quincy High School senior knew exactly how.
Just 16 seconds after teammate DeAngelo Dean threw down a two-handed dunk late in the third quarter Saturday night, Davis stole the ball at midcourt and drove uncontested for the first dunk of his career, providing an exclamation point on the Blue Devils’ 52-43 victory over Geneva at Blue Devil Gym.
“I had never gotten the chance to do that,” Davis said. “I had never gotten a breakaway or anything like that.”
Davis’ dunk came with 20 seconds left in the quarter and put Quincy ahead 35-28. The Blue Devils (15-6) proceeded to score on their first five possessions of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to double figures as they won their fifth game in a row.
Davis had back-to-back buckets at the end of that stretch, both coming off offensive rebounds as he finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
“It changed everything,” Dean said of the back-to-back dunks. “It’s when we started breaking away. Right after that, we got going.”
Actually, it was Quincy’s defense earlier in the third quarter that changed everything.
Tied at 23 at halftime as Geneva (12-9) controlled the tempo, Quincy took the lead as Mason Fairley buried a jumper in the lane on the Blue Devils’ first possession of the second half. Meanwhile, the Vikings didn’t score until 3:28 was left in the quarter and managed just five points in the pivotal period.
“I thought it was really important to get the lead,” Quincy coach Sean Taylor said. “If they got the lead, they were going to spread us out and run a lot of clock. Even behind, they play patient. But having the lead in the second half was really important for us.”
It forced Geneva to speed up more than it wanted to as the Vikings committed five turnovers and went 1 for 6 from the field. They were also outrebounded 6-3 in the third quarter.
“The key point was the defensive pressure they came with in the third quarter and we didn’t handle it very well,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “That leads to the two dunks. That rattled us a little bit.”
Defense also kept the Vikings from making a fourth-quarter run.
Mike Trimble’s 3-pointer with 5:44 to go in regulation pulled Geneva within 42-36, but the Vikings didn’t score again until 1:55 remained. After that, Martin Kvitle did what he does best. He sank six consecutive free throws in the final 1:20 and has now hit 21 free throws in a row.
The Blue Devils were 11 of 12 from the line overall.
“Our team defense was really good against a team that runs really good plays,” Taylor said. “I just like they way our guys played together on defense.”
Dean nearly had his fourth consecutive double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Kvitle led Quincy with 14 points. Brendan Leahy led Geneva with 21 points, hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers.
“We knew we couldn’t slow down to their pace,” Davis said. “I was like, ‘No, guys, we can’t score low. That’s not how we play.’ We wanted to make them go fast and we did.”