Minus Bland, Blue Devils lack energy in humbling road loss

*bullseye temp 10By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 23, 2015 6:55 am

WASHINGTON, Ill. — Without his team’s leading scorer and rebounder in the lineup Tuesday night, Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas saw it as an opportunity to experiment with his rotation.

Too bad the Blue Devils lacked the energy to get much accomplished.

Washington outscored Quincy 16-2 in the first six minutes, more than doubled the Blue Devils’ rebounding total and stayed undefeated with a 55-42 victory at Torry Gym.

“We came out flat,” Quincy sophomore guard Aaron Shoot said. “We didn’t come out aggressive.”

It was the second time it has happened to the Blue Devils (8-2), and the results were eerily similar.

Eleven days ago at Rock Island, Quincy was outscored 16-4 in the first six minutes, lost the rebounding battle and suffered a 15-point loss. The Blue Devils’ only lead in either of their losses was the 2-0 advantage it held for 29 seconds against the Rocks.

“I didn’t think we were in it mentally from the start,” Douglas said. “Our leadership is good enough that we should be able to compete no matter where we play and no matter how short the break is. There are really no excuses for the effort we put out tonight.

“We weren’t where we needed to be mentally from the start.”

It hurt not having 6-foot-4 forward Parker Bland available.

Bland, who averages 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds, suffered a groin injury while taking a charge in last Saturday’s eight-point victory against Quincy Notre Dame. With Quincy scheduled to play four games in three days next week at the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, Bland needed the rest.

He watched from the end of the bench as Washington (9-0) pummeled Quincy with a 3-point barrage in the first quarter.

Max Everhart hit a 3-pointer from the left corner on the Panthers’ first possession and Louis Griffith hit three more, including two from the left wing and one off an Everhart offensive rebound and kickout. In fact, the Panthers didn’t make a field inside the 3-point stripe until Everhart scored from the block nearly 10 minutes into the game.

At that point, they led 23-6, and Everhart had scored 12 of his game-high 22 points.

“We saw the difference it makes without Parker in the lineup,” Douglas said. “Defensively, we don’t give up as many wide-open looks in the corner for three because of how he anticipates it well. The effort wasn’t there to make up for that.”

His presence on the boards was sorely missed, too.

Washington outrebounded Quincy 36-15, while grabbing 11 offensive rebounds and scoring eight second-chance points. Quincy was limited to four offensive rebounds while shooting 32.5 percent from the field (13 of 40) and 17.6 percent from 3-point range (3 of 17).

“It’s always tough when you’re playing from behind,” Quincy senior guard Cameron Gay said. “As a team, you have to find a way to come together and find a way to come back. We were down by so much it was so hard to do that.”

The Blue Devils trailed 32-14 at halftime and trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half. However, they forced the Panthers to go more than four minutes without scoring in the fourth quarter and to turn the ball over five times in a six-possession stretch.

It allowed Quincy to go on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 51-42 with 2:10 to play.

However, coming out of a timeout, Washington ran 58 seconds off the clock before being fouled and then hit 4 of 6 free throws to ice the victory.

“The plan was to pressure the heck out of their guards and get traps in the half court,” Gay said. “They did a good job of spreading the court and getting passes away and not letting us force any mistakes late.”