Martin Kvitle understands the Quincy High School boys basketball team’s solid first half of the season will grab people’s attention.
It’s not what gets you remembered.
“They don’t put numbers up for what we’ve done,” said Kvitle, motioning toward the north wall of Blue Devil Gym where each of Quincy’s Western Big Six Conference championships and state appearances is highlighted. “This is Quincy. Those things matter to people. Those things matter to us. That’s what we’re working toward.”
The Blue Devils have set themselves up to add to that legacy.
Quincy is 11-2 following a runner-up finish at the 29th annual Collinsville Schnucks Holiday Classic. The Blue Devils sit alone atop the WB6 with a 3-0 record, and they are enjoying their first state ranking since Illinois went to a four-class system, settling in at No. 8 in this week’s Class 4A poll.
As Kvitle noted, none of that matters if the Blue Devils don’t follow it up with something special.
Just how do they do that?
They continue playing defense the way they have the last 12 games.
A team with high expectations got a reality check in the season opener against Carbondale. Devontavius Payne lit the Blue Devils up for 33 points and the Terriers overcame a double-digit deficit to win 76-70. Since then, the Blue Devils have allowed 60 points only once, held eight opponents to 43 or fewer points and are allowing 40.4 points per game.
“I’m really happy with our defense,” senior guard Cole Abbey said. “Like Coach said, that’s going to be our identity this year. We’re really playing good defense.”
For the second half of the season to mirror the first and for the Blue Devils to add their number to the wall, the defense better be just as good.