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Quincy’s Parker Bland feyes the basket against Galesburg’s Cody Hawthorne during Friday night’s game at John Thiel Gym in Galesburg. The Streaks defeated the Blue Devils 63-56. BILL NICE/WCI Sports

By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Jan. 16, 2016 12:05 am

GALESBURG, Ill. — Where the momentum went and why everything fell apart offensively is something the Quincy High School boys basketball team is going to chew on for the next week.

So is the fact the Blue Devils lost a chance to be sitting atop the Western Big Six Conference.

Despite trailing from the start Friday night, Quincy systematically erased Galesburg’s double-digit advantage and eventually took a 45-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Blue Devils went seven minutes without a field goal, turned the ball over five times and self-destructed in a 63-56 loss at Thiel Gym.

“We got it to a point we were in control, where we felt we could do it,” senior Mike Dade said. “We were fully capable, but we fell apart on the offensive side.”

The Blue Devils fell back in the WB6 title chase, too.

With state-ranked Rock Island getting upset at home by United Township, there could have been a three-way tie for first place. Instead, Galesburg (16-1, 4-0 WB6) sits in first place alone, with Rock Island a game behind and Quincy (11-4, 2-2 WB6) two games back.

“It hurts,” Dade said. “We had them right where we wanted them.”

There’s no question about that.

The Silver Streaks, ranked seventh in the Class 3A state poll, led 31-20 with 2 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the second quarter before the Blue Devils closed the half on a 9-2 run and trailed only 33-29 at the break.

“They hit something like eight 3-pointers there,” Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds quipped.

Well, it was three, but Jake Jobe’s trey from the right corner with one second left in the half was the most damaging. On the previous possessions, Galesburg’s Ethan Meeker drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing, but he was called for traveling just before releasing the shot.

That six-point swing was crucial.

“You wanted to give yourself an opportunity,” said Quincy coach Andy Douglas, who got 18 points from Jobe and 11 from Dade. “That was the last thing we wrote on the board (in the locker room) and that was to take advantage of your opportunities. We had an opportunity.”

It didn’t look like the Blue Devils would let it get away.

Three different times in the first five minutes of the second half, Quincy cut its deficit to a single point and finally tied the game on Cameron Gay’s 3-pointer with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

Although Kivontay Shaw answered with a 3-pointer for Galesburg, Quincy scored the final four points of the quarter with Dade slipping to the basket and converting an Aaron Shoot pass into a layup for the 45-44 lead.

“We fought to get to that point,” Dade said. “We had our opportunity.”

The Blue Devils had the ball, too. Quincy opened the fourth quarter with possession and worked more than a minute off the clock before committing a turnover without ever getting a shot off.

Galesburg made it hurt as Meeker, who scored 18 points, drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to take a 47-45 lead. Cody Hawthorne turned an offensive rebound into a layin on the Silver Streaks’ next possession and the Blue Devils never recovered.

“They went to another level,” Douglas said. “And after we took the lead, we dropped down a level or two.”

Quincy scored just three points the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and didn’t make a field goal until Jobe followed his own missed 3-pointer with a putback with 46 seconds remaining in regulation. The Blue Devils trailed 58-50 at that point.

It was too late for a rally by then.

“We just didn’t execute well enough,” Douglas said. “This was a big game. This was against

Galesburg and would have given us the chance to be up there tied with them in the conference. But we didn’t get it done.

“We have some options now. You can hang your head and pout about it or go back to work. I know what type of team we have. I know what we’ll do.”

Jobe’s hot hand leads to 3-point records, third place for Blue Devils

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By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 31, 2015 1:20 am

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — The possession before Jake Jobe knocked down his record-tying ninth 3-pointer, Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas was irritated enough by an errant one-handed pass that he nearly pulled his senior shooter from the lineup.

The 3-pointer from the left wing changed his mind.

“I told him he was lucky,” Douglas said when asked about the brief conversation he had with Jobe in front of the bench that left them both chuckling. “He was coming out, but then he hit his ninth three. As he was walking by, I said, ‘Man, you’re lucky. Go knock down a couple more.'”

One more was enough.

Jobe broke the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic single-game record when he drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1 minute, 36 seconds left in regulation Wednesday night, giving him 10 treys and 33 points and cementing the fourth-seeded Blue Devils’ 57-38 victory over second-seeded Lincoln in the third-place game at Vergil Fletcher Gym.

He also eclipsed Quincy’s single-game record, erasing Kyle Cartmill and Zach Forbes from the record books. Cartmill hit seven against Moline during the 1993-93 season, while Forbes made seven against Hinsdale South in the 2009-10 season.

“It’s surreal right now,” said Jobe, whose season and career high had been the five 3-pointers he made in the tournament opener against Decatur Eisenhower. “Zach Forbes was a guy I looked up to growing up. I saw his seven threes in a game. It’s really honestly surreal. It’s great right now.”

The fact the Blue Devils (11-3) finished the week 3-1 and dominated the Railers (9-4) from start to finish made the night nearly perfect.

Lincoln’s Garrett Aeilts hit a 3-pointer from the right wing on the game’s first possession, and the Railsplitters didn’t score again until Isaiah Bowers’ layin with 3:45 to play in the first half. The drought lasted 11:30 and allowed Quincy to go on an 18-0 run.

The Railers turned the ball over four times and went 0 for 10 from the field during the scoring drought. The Blue Devils also deflected nine passes in that span.

“That is one of the toughest teams to guard,” Douglas said. “The effort our guys put out was phenomenal. The guys had to play a lot of space when they put five shooters on the floor like that. I thought our guys sprinted to spots, and I don’t know if Lincoln has seen that many deflected passes early on an in a game. I think it frustrated them a little bit.”

At the same time, Jobe was finding his rhythm.

After missing his first 3-point attempt, the 6-foot-3 lefty made back-to-back treys at the end of the first quarter. He opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer from the left wing and then made back-to-back triples late in the half — one from the right wing and one from the left corner — as the Blue Devils went up 24-13 at halftime.

“If I was in space, I was going to let it fly,” Jobe said.

His teammates were determined to find him.

“I saw the look in his eyes,” said QHS point guard Mike Dade, who had a career-high 10 assists. “I saw him moving around with a lot more energy. He had a lot more bounce. I could tell it was that time to get the ball in his hands.”

Jobe hit three 3-pointers during a 19-8 run to open the third quarter in which the Blue Devils scored on seven consecutive possessions. Dade and Aaron Shoot joined the perimeter fun, each knocking down a 3-pointer during that run as well.

Jobe finally missed a 3-pointer with 2:43 to go in the third quarter and Quincy leading 43-21. He had made eight consecutive treys before that.

“He didn’t press and force shots, which is easy to do when you’re that hot,” Douglas said. “And you can get away with it. If he does take a bad shot, you’re like, ‘Well, he’s hot.’ It becomes a shoot-until-you-miss type of thing.”

You can get away with a lackadaisical pass when you’re shooting that well, too, especially when your coach tells you to go get the record.

“I think he told Mike that, too,” Jobe said. “So Mike found me, and I hit it.”

He walked off the floor a moment later to a much-deserved standing ovation.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Jobe, who also tied the tournament record with 19 3-pointers over the four games. “What an awesome night.”

Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic

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.”

Straight Shooter: Third-quarter run sparked by sophomore’s treys leads Blue Devils past Raiders

EP-312209952By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 20, 2015 2:00 am

QUINCY — With three minutes elapsed in the third quarter Saturday night, the Quincy High School boys basketball team had failed to gain the separation it was accustomed to getting.

It turns out the Blue Devils needed just a little longer to make that happen.

An 8-0 run by Quincy Notre Dame had whittled QHS’s eight-point halftime lead to 40-37 midway through the quarter, but the Blue Devils answered with a 12-0 burst of their own, highlighted by three Aaron Shoot 3-pointers. From there, QHS never let its lead dip below five points in earning a 64-56 victory at the Pit.

“That’s bragging rights,” QHS senior point guard Mike Dade said. “To come to a hostile place, a place that’s tough to win, we knew we were going to have to battle. It means a lot to come through and stay composed.”

Typically, it had been the Blue Devils’ opponent trying to do that in the face of extreme pressure.

Through the first eight games, QHS (8-1) had outscored each opponent by an average of six points over the first three minutes of the third quarter. Although the Blue Devils scored on three of their first four possessions of the second half, the Raiders scored on five straight trips, owning a 10-7 edge at that point.

Carter Cramsey’s drive from the right wing for a layin with four minutes to go pulled QND (5-3) within three.

“We knew they were a third-quarter team, and I feel we are a third-quarter team,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said. “Which one was going to give there and which one was going to have to take?”

Shoot answered Cramsey’s drive with a 3-pointer 15 seconds later, and after QHS’s Parker Bland drew a charging foul on Tanner Stuckman, Shoot knocked down his second trey. Bland finished a pass from Shoot with a bank shot after a QND turnover, and then the sophomore guard converted another turnover into third 3-pointer to make it a 51-37 advantage.

“After the first couple went in, I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot the ball when I get it,'” said Shoot, who went 6 of 6 from the field and scored 17 points with five assists.

Each of his 3-pointers felt like a dagger to the Raiders.

“It’s heartbreaking when you get on a little run and then he hits a three,” QND junior forward Jacob Mayfield said.

It wasn’t the only time the Blue Devils stemmed the tide with a key basket.

A 7-2 spurt by QND that tied the game at 9 in the first quarter was answered by a 7-0 run from QHS. The Raiders cut the deficit to two twice in the second quarter, only to see the Blue Devils come up with Jake Jobe’s three-point play to stall the first one and Deven Smith’s first basket of the season to end the second run.

“You think you’re getting in there, getting closer and closer, and then they hit a big three or a big shot,” said Mayfield, who led QND with 19 points. “It sinks you.”

Worse yet for the Raiders, the Blue Devils made crucial plays to finish each of the first two quarters.

Dade was fouled in the act of shooting with 3.9 seconds left in the first quarter and split his free throws. When he missed the second, QHS guard Cameron Gay outhustled the Raiders to tip the rebound, which allowed Dade to grab it coming down the lane and finish a layup for a three-point play at the buzzer.

An offensive rebound on the final possession of the second quarter allowed the Blue Devils to extend the lead again. This time, Shoot beat the QND defense off the dribble, charging down the middle of the lane for a basket with two seconds left and a 33-25 edge.

“The buzzer goes off and you’re shaking your head like, ‘What just happened?'” Meyer said.

The Blue Devils were feeling the same way when they proceeded to turn the ball over on six straight possessions in the second half, allowing the Raiders to trim a 15-point deficit to 10 on Mayfield’s baseline drive with 5:51 to go in regulation.

Another led to QND’s Aubrey Reis hitting a 3-pointer from the right corner with 57 seconds left that cut the QHS lead to 58-53.

The Blue Devils turned the ball over 12 times in the second half and 18 times overall, but they didn’t turn the ball over on their final five possessions and made 6 of 10 free throws to salt away the victory. They also forced turnovers on QND’s final two possessions.

“We almost got too aggressive and lost our heads a little bit,” Shoot said. “We got it back together and settled down. We were still aggressive, but in more of a smart way.”

That showed in the most critical moments as the Blue Devils never gave up the lead. They’ve trailed only 15 seconds total in their eight victories.

“That shows that we’re growing and executing when we need to,” QHS coach Andy Douglas said.

To do it in a rivalry game means just a little more.

“It keeps us competitive and builds confidence,” QHS junior forward Garrett Gadeke said. “That’s something special.”

Shoot to thrill: Sophomore guard’s 3-pointer lifts Blue Devils to WB6 victory

AR-312199961By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 19, 2015 2:00 am

QUINCY — When Aaron Shoot decided to rise and fire from 3-point range with the Quincy High School boys basketball team desperately trying to fend off United Township, no one second-guessed that decision.

Actually, the Blue Devils might like to see him take that chance more often.

“I knew he could shoot. That’s his last name,” said Quincy point guard Mike Dade, who made the pass that led to Shoot’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 1 minute, 5 seconds remaining in the Blue Devils’ 46-40 Western Big Six Conference victory Friday night at Blue Devil Gym. “He was born to do that.”

Still, it was a surprising trigger pull by a sophomore making his first varsity start.

“I feel confident in myself,” said Shoot, who started in place of senior Jake Jobe, who sat out the first half for disciplinary reasons. “I’ve worked hard and the whole team has worked hard. We have confidence in each other.”

Shoot has gained his coach’s confidence, too.

“The kid has the last name for a reason,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “That’s a big-time shot to shoot. He’s growing, and he showed that tonight. That’s what we need from him.”

The Blue Devils (7-1, 2-1 WB6) needed confidence and composure when their comfortable 10-point lead evaporated.

United Township’s Jacob Meeske hit back-to-back 3-pointers with three minutes left in the third quarter to trim Quincy’s lead to 26-22, and another six-point run in the fourth quarter pulled the Panthers within 32-30 with 4:25 remaining.

Free throws from Dade and Shoot allowed the Blue Devils to push the lead back to 36-30 with three minutes to play.

“That’s experience showing,” said Shoot, who went 2 of 3 from 3-point range and scored a career-high 10 points. “Dade is a great leader. I don’t think we could have done that without him. He calmed us all down and guided us all around and didn’t let us lose that.”

United Township’s relentless effort on the glass nearly negated it.

The Panthers (7-2, 1-2 WB6) collected three offensive rebounds on a single possession, leading to Tray Buchanan’s 3-pointer from the wing with 2:28 to go. After a Quincy turnover, Buchanan missed a 3-pointer from the left wing, but

United Township’s Izaya Sims grabbed the offensive rebound and made the putback for a one-point game.

UT had seven offensive rebounds and seven second-chance points in the fourth quarter.

However, when it mattered most, the Blue Devils cleaned up.

After Buchanan tied the game at 38 and Shoot followed with his clutch three, Buchanan and Dade traded free throws, leaving the Panthers down 43-40 with 35 seconds left. Buchanan attempted a 3-pointer from the left wing that rimmed long and Sims grabbed the offensive rebound. His putback attempt rimmed out, and Quincy’s Parker Bland outmuscled the Panthers for the defensive rebound.

Although knocked to the ground as he came down with the board, Bland called timeout before being tied up and potentially losing possession.

“Coach Douglas came specifically to me and said, ‘We have three timeouts. Get the rebound and call timeout,'” Bland said. “Off the missed shot, I knew I had to get it.”

Dade and Bland combined to make 3 of 4 free throws in the final nine seconds to seal the victory.

“We didn’t do too hot on the boards tonight,” said Bland, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds although the Panthers held a 31-25 rebounding edge. “We had to follow through on our free throws, and we had to execute. We did that in the end.”

The Panthers struggled to do that throughout. United Township went 4 of 20 from the field in the first half, finished 13 of 50 overall and knocked down just 6 of 29 3-point attempts. Buchanan scored a game-high 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting, while Meeske was 3 of 10 from 3-point range and had 11 points, six below his season average.

“I just don’t like us offensively,” United Township coach Ryan Webber said. “It wasn’t always execution — it was not finishing at the basket. We just didn’t shoot the ball from the perimeter very well. It was a collective effort.”

Blue Devils go on the attack, get back in win column

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Photo taken by Shelly Kraemer (SK Photography)

By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 13, 2015 1:05 am

QUINCY — Cameron Gay never hesitated.

When he noticed his 3-point attempt from the left wing might be off the mark, the Quincy High School senior guard bolted to get in position for the offensive rebound. Since no one on the Springfield boys basketball team deterred him, Gay gobbled up the board and made the putback less than 90 seconds into Saturday night’s game.

The Blue Devils kept right on attacking. Quincy pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, scored 11 second-chance points and rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 59-43 victory at Blue Devil Gym.

“What I always do is follow my shot,” said Gay, who had 10 points and four rebounds. “It’s what you’re supposed to do. You just have to have that mindset.”

It allowed Quincy (6-1) to control the game and the tempo. One night after trailing Rock Island the final 30 minutes, the Blue Devils never trailed, turned a six-point halftime edge into a 19-point lead by the end of the third quarter and stayed undefeated at home.

Better yet, there was no carryover from Friday night’s 15-point loss.

“At some point, you just have to let that go,” Gay said. “You have to move on to the next opponent.”

That meant being prepared for a Springfield team developing a reputation for attacking the glass.

The Senators had six offensive rebounds in the first six minutes and finished with eight offensive rebounds and five second-chance points in the first half. It allowed Springfield to trail only 29-23 at halftime despite shooting 34.6 percent from the field.

“They’re so aggressive shooting and so aggressive getting to the glass,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “You have to match that and take it away.”

In the second half, Quincy took everything away.

Springfield guard Isaac Nelson, who had 15 points, knocked down a pair of pull-up jumpers in the first 50 seconds of the third quarter, trimming Quincy’s lead to 31-27 before the Blue Devils locked in defensively. The Senators made just two field goals the next 11 minutes, 32 seconds, falling behind 55-31.

Springfield went 2 of 18 in that stretch, grabbing just three offensive rebounds. Both made field goals came on putbacks.

“We did a good job of stopping them from getting the shots that they wanted, whether it was penetration inside or driving and kicking to shooters,” said Douglas, whose defense held the Senators to 32.1 percent shooting overall. “Defensively, we locked up and we ended the play. That was crucial.”

Quincy outrebounded Springfield 40-27.

“No matter who shoots the ball, Coach wants us to have at least three or four guys rebounding,” Gay said. “We have guys who can do that.”

They also have guys who can finish around the rim. The Blue Devils shot 46.3 percent from the field, knocking down 8 of 12 shots in the third quarter when they outscored the Senators 19-6. Parker Bland had nine of his 15 points in the third quarter, but he insisted the defense is what fueled everything.

“We knew we had to keep them from getting to the middle,” said Bland, who added eight rebounds. “Every time they got to the middle, they’d kick it out. That’s how all of their plays developed. Once we got the middle contained, we were able to play off that real well.”

It led to holding an opponent to fewer than 50 points for the sixth time in seven games.

“We have to be able to guard our yard if you will,” Douglas said. “We cleaned up what we didn’t do well against Rocky, but we really didn’t put it all together until the second half.”