Martin Kvitle didn’t agree with the call, but he’d make the play again.
Three minutes into Saturday night’s championship game of the 29th annual Collinsville Schnucks Holiday Classic, East St. Louis guard DeShawn Munson stole a ball in the backcourt and attacked the rim, looking to dunk. Kvitle, Quincy High School’s senior point guard, blocked Munson and knocked the Flyers standout to the Vergil Fletcher Gym floor in the process.
Kvitle was called for a flagrant foul while Munson went to the line and made 1 of 2 free throws. Munson scored on the ensuing possession as part of the Flyers’ 8-0 run to open the game that propelled them to a 60-52 victory.
“We have to make fouls like I did,” Kvitle said. “There should be no easy layups. It was a questionable call (whether it was intentional). Back in the day, that’s just a foul. But you can’t blame the refs. You have to play hard. You have to make plays like that.”
It set the tone for a physical, aggressive and sometimes chippy game.
With the Blue Devils trailing 52-43 in the final two minutes, Quincy’s Cole Abbey made a steal near midcourt and was hip-checked into the scorer’s table. The Quincy bench wanted a flagrant fouled called. Instead, Quincy coach Sean Taylor was slapped with a technical foul when he jumped up and down in disgust.
The technical didn’t factor much into the outcome. Abbey made two free throws after the foul, while East St. Louis made 1 of 2 free throws and then failed to scored on the ensuing possession.
Mellon to sit next game
Quincy junior forward Connor Mellon will serve a one-game suspension when the Blue Devils face Rock Island Alleman Jan. 11 at Blue Devil Gym.
With 3:43 remaining against East St. Louis, Mellon was called for elbowing East St. Louis forward Terry Beckner as they worked for position in the post. Mellon was given a technical foul and ejected.
The reaction of the Quincy crowd led to one fan being walked away by school personnel and another fan being escorted from gym by police officers.
In the record book
Kvitle added his name to the tournament record book by going 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.
He becomes the 13th player in tournament history to finish with a 1.000 free throw percentage in a single game. To qualify, a player must have at least 10 attempts.
Kvitle joins two other Quincy players on the list. Jack Kramer went 13 of 13 from the line against Chicago Julian in 1985. James Bailey went 10 for 10 against East St. Louis Lincoln in 1986.
The all-tournament team
Belleville East forward Malcolm Hill, who has signed with Illinois, was named the tournament MVP. Hill led the top-seeded Lancers to third place while averaging 27.5 points and 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Kvitle and Cole Abbey were both named to the all-tournament team. Kvitle averaged 15.3 points and Abbey averaged 17.3 points for the Blue Devils.
The rest of the all-tournament team included Munson, East St. Louis forward Johnny McCray, Collinsville guard Falando Wilkinson, Springfield Southeast guard Herman Senor, Granite City guard Omar Walker, Dunlap forward Alex Sorenson, Lincoln guard Max Cook and Riverview Gardens guard Tyrin Williams.