By David Adam Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 30, 2016 12:01 am
QUINCY — Quiz: Which of the following statements is true?
- Mike Dade was on fire in the first quarter, making all three of his shots and scoring nine points to stake the Quincy High School boys basketball team to a 19-8 lead.
- Mike Dade was nearly caught on fire before the first quarter.
Answer: Both A and B.
Fortunately, Dade escaped any damage, and the Blue Devils used a 15-0 run in the third quarter on Friday night to put away Rock Island Alleman 56-35 in a Western Big Six Conference game at Blue Devil Gym.
The Blue Devils (14-4, 4-2 WB6) played without leading scorer Jacob Jobe, who was sidelined for what Quincy coach Andy Douglas termed “a violation of team rules.” The Blue Devils nearly lost Dade, their third leading scorer, in the pregame ceremony.
As Blue Devil mascot Nathan Mosley paraded with a flaming pitchfork along the baseline near the QHS bench, he nearly collided with Dade.
“I couldn’t read which was he was coming,” Dade said. “My life flashed before my eyes.”
Douglas saw the near-crash develop and couldn’t react fast enough.
“(Mosley) was running along the baseline and took one of his leaps, and he almost speared Mike,” Douglas said with a laugh. “It would have been the first time in school history that the Blue Devil would have played in the game, because I’d have suited him up for Mike.”
Dade helped the hosts take a big lead as expected over an Alleman team that was without its coach, Patrick Rangel, who is serving a three-game suspension. The Blue Devils forced seven turnovers in the first quarter and eight more in the second quarter.
“(Quincy’s) quickness really overtook us at the start of the game,” Alleman assistant coach Ryan Kelly said. “They play with a lot of quickness and excitement on their home floor.”
Douglas unveiled the press for the first time last week against Batavia and is pleased with how it has worked so far.
“It’s something we want to try to push in a little at a time,” he said. “We just have the type of team that can play it really well.”
However, the Blue Devils missed 10 of 13 shots in the second quarter — many of them from close range — and led just 28-20 at halftime. Parker Bland said the absence of Jobe allowed the Pioneers to clog up the middle.
“Jake’s always a 3-point threat, and that opens things up down low,” Bland said. “Tonight, we didn’t have that, and we had to be physical.”
Alleman scored the first basket of the third quarter when Jacob Sheldon made a layup at the 5:48 mark, and the Blue Devils were scoreless for the first 2 1/2 minutes. Kelly thought his team still had a shot.
“We went into halftime feeling all right with where we were,” Kelly said. “If we took care of some things, I thought we might be OK, and we came out and got four or five stops — but we only got the one bucket.”
Quincy’s scoreless drought ended when Garrett Gadeke scored on a dish from Dade, and then the floodgates opened. Gadeke had seven points, while Bland, Dade, Carson Gay and Cameron Gay all contributed baskets in that big run which put QHS ahead 43-20. Alleman didn’t score again until Ivan Morrow’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds left in the quarter.
“One of our main points of emphasis is coming out and winning the first three minutes of the third quarter,” Dade said. “Part of you is like, ‘We should be playing better,’ but you have to stay persistent.”
Alleman got no closer than 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Bland finished with 16 points, Dade added 15 and Cameron Gay had 11. Peter Mihm had eight points for Alleman, which ended with 22 turnovers.
The next time the Blue Devils play at home, expect Dade to have his head on a swivel during the pregame ceremony.
“I’m going to stay near my team next time,” he said. “If (Mosley) takes me out, he’s taking everybody out.”