Half-court heave by Dade helps QHS steal Thanksgiving Tournament title


Quincy High School’s Deven Smith looks to shoot while being defended by Marshall’s Edward Bryant during Saturday night’s basketball game at Blue Devil Gym in Quincy. | H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt Steve Bohnstedt

By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig

Posted: Nov. 29, 2015 1:43 am

QUINCY — The moment he let his half-court shot fly, Mike Dade made a silent plea.

“Please, please, go in,” he said.

When it did, the Quincy High School senior point guard found himself lost in a mosh pit of his teammates and fans spilling out of the QHS student section.

“It was one of those moments where everything just stopped around me,” he said.

Dade banked in the 3-pointer from just beyond the midcourt stripe to give the Blue Devils a 49-47 victory over Chicago Marshall on Saturday night in the championship game of the 45th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament.

“I didn’t hear anything around me,” he said. “I just let go. Thank God it went in.”

Had it not, Dade knows he would have walked out of Blue Devil Gym feeling more like a goat than a hero.

Quincy led 45-41 with 50.4 seconds remaining before back-to-back turnovers led to Marshall scoring back-to-back baskets from inside 5 feet to tie the game with 14 seconds remaining. With the Commandos applying full-court pressure after Jakari Smith’s putback tied, Dade took the inbounds pass and tried to split two defenders.

He drew a foul and went to the free-throw line for two attempts. He made the first and missed the second, leaving the Blue Devils clinging to a one-point lead.

“It was one of those things where you can’t have that negative energy in your head,” Dade said. “You can’t be thinking the worst. I couldn’t let that missed free throw bother me.”

Not when another play had to be made.

Marshall’s Tyrese Williford, who scored 12 points, attacked the right side of the lane on the ensuing possession and sank the short runner for a 47-46 lead with just three seconds left. Quincy coach Andy Douglas called a timeout with 2.8 seconds remaining and drew up a play to get the ball in Dade’s hands.

“I told Mike I wanted him to catch it on the run,” said Douglas, whose team won the tournament for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. “He had to give himself an opportunity. That’s all you can ask for in that situation.”

Running off a double screen, Dade caught the inbounds pass and made two dribbles up the right-hand side of the floor while being bumped by Williford. Just as he got in front of the announcer’s table, he fired the shot that banked in without touching the rim.

“It’s surreal,” Dade said. “It’s what you dream of.”

It’s what the Blue Devils have practiced.

“We practice those every day,” said junior forward Parker Bland, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. “We focus on that. Sometimes, that’s what it comes down to. We had a lot of turnovers and a lot of missed opportunities leading up to that. But we knew in the end Mike was the man to go to.”

The Blue Devils leaned heavily on Bland and Cameron Gay to build what appeared to be a decisive advantage.

Gay scored Quincy’s first seven points of the third quarter, fueling an 11-2 run that put the Blue Devils ahead 29-16. At that point, he was the only Quincy player to made a field goal inside the 3-point stripe and was the point man on Quincy’s 1-2-2 zone defense that forced Marshall to go 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half.

Gay finished with 14 points and five rebounds.

“Cameron was poised,” Douglas said. “He handled the ball for us. He handled pressure, especially when they would run and jump at him. He gave us opportunities to be successful. Defensively, he’s the guy who has to be the most consistent, and he was more than consistent for us.”

Bland battled foul trouble in the first half, sitting the final six minutes of the second quarter with two fouls. However, he re-emerged in the third quarter, scoring 10 points, grabbing three rebounds and twice scoring to push Quincy’s lead to 13 points.

However, forcing turnovers and grabbing offensive rebounds allowed Marshall to whittle that deficit away.

The Commandos turned the Blue Devils’ 10 second-half turnovers into 16 points and scored 11 second-chance points off 10 offensive rebounds.

Yet, Dade erased the bitter taste of frittering away a lead with one miraculous shot.

“In a place like this, where tradition is so strong, it’s incredible,” Dade said. “It’s hard to believe it really went in.”




Once again the Quincy High School boys basketball team has teamed up with Landmarx to bring you the hottest selection of Blue Devil basketball merchandise.  All you have to do is click the PDF file below, print out a form, fill it out with everything you want and get it turned into one of the high school basketball coaches.  You can also drop them off or mail them to the Athletic Office at QHS (3322 Maine Street, Att. Coach Andy Douglas).

Make all checks out to QHS Basketball

Thank you for supporting our wonderful program!

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Blue/White Scrimmage

Quincy Blue Devil Basketball

Quincy Blue Devil Basketball

Friday November 20, 2015

5:30                Gates Open

6:00-6:15      3rd Grade Lil’ Devils (10 minute running clock)

6:15-6:30      4th Grade Lil’ Devils (10 minute running clock)

6:30-6:45      5th Grade Lil’ Devils (10 minute running clock)

6:45-7:00      6th Grade Lil’ Devils (10 minute running clock)

7:00-7:20      Freshman Game (14 minute running clock)

7:20-7:40      Sophomore Game (14 minute running clock)

7:40-8:00      Varsity (Two 18 minute running clock)



2015-16 Boys Basketball Tryouts – Week 1 Schedule


V – Varsity             S – Sophomore               F – Freshman


V – 5:30-7:00am (Blue Devil Gym) / 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in the weight room)

S – 5:30-7:00am (Blue Devil Gym) / 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in the weight room)

F – 5:00-7:30pm (Meet in the weight room)



V – 5:45-7:00am (Meet at Sheridan Swim Club) / 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in the weight room)

S – NO MORNING PRACTICE / 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in the weight room)

F – 5:00-7:30pm (Meet in the weight room)



V – 8:00-10:00am (Blue Devil Gym) / 2:00-4:00pm (Blue Devil Gym)

S – 8:00-10:00am (Blue Devil Gym)

F – 10:00-12:00pm (Blue Devil Gym)



V – 5:45-7:00am (Meet at Sheridan Swim Club) / 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in weight room)

S – 2:45-5:45pm (Meet in weight room)

F – 5:00-7:30pm (Meet in weight room)



V – 3:00-5:30pm (Blue Devil Gym) / OVERNIGHT PRACTICE

S – 3:00-5:30pm (Blue Devil Gym) / OVERNIGHT PRACTICE

F – 5:30-7:30pm (Blue Devil Gym)



V – 7:00-8:30am

S – 7:00-8:30am

F – 9:00-11:00am



V – Off

S – Off

F – Off

Sunday Q&A: New QHS boys basketball coach Andy Douglas discusses the path to his dream job

Head Coach Andy Douglas at press conference

Head Coach Andy Douglas at press conference

May 11, 2014 12:04 a.m.

He’s the youngest coach to take over the helm of the Quincy High School boys basketball program in almost 70 years, but Andy Douglas strongly believes he is the right coach at the right time. A 13-member search committee and the Quincy School Board agreed.

The challenge facing Douglas is to recreate the energy and passion so many Blue Devil fans have come to expect over the years.

The former QHS sharpshooter, record holder and diehard fan sat down with Sports Editor Matt Schuckman to discuss the job, the pressure and the passion needed to be in charge of one of the nation’s winningest basketball programs.

Q: Is this truly a dream job for you?

A: It’s something I’ve been planning for my entire life. Whether it was growing up watching games or starting at the younger levels and working my way up, it was always something I wanted and that’s to be a part of the Blue Devil program.

When I found my niche as a coach, it was something I really wanted to pursue. To reach this point now, it’s been a dream come true.

Q: When you left to go to Liberty, was it in the back of your mind that you wanted to get back here someday?

A: I had an in-depth conversation with some important people in my life, and it was pushed upon me that I needed to get that head coaching experience. It was something I had always wanted. I had it at the younger levels. It was always in the back of mind.

I told my guys at Liberty, this was a job I would have waited for another 10 years. It was not something I was going to rush into. Now that it’s here, it’s something I want to take advantage of.

Q: What has prepared you for this moment and this job?

A: When I look back, I think you look at your path and how you get to certain places and how you achieve your dreams. Sometimes, it’s a straight path. Sometimes, it takes a lot of turns. Mine has taken some turns. Not big ones, but it has taken some turns.

Everything I’ve done in my life has prepared me for this. From graduating from Quincy University, staying here in Quincy, teaching here in Quincy, finding my wife here in Quincy. Those are all things that have kind of paved the way for me to stay in this area.

When you look at this community, it’s a community that has been tremendously supportive of me. I’ve really seen that in the last couple of days. It’s something that I have a lot of pride in. I have a lot of pride in the Quincy basketball tradition, but also Quincy as a whole.

Q: What did you learn most while coaching at Liberty?

A: I learned there are a lot of ups and downs. I truly mean there can be a lot of ups and downs. Kids are involved in more things now more than ever these days. So it’s important to motivate players more than ever.

So I’ve learned different ways to motivate guys to get them there to work as hard as they can. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned about my patience at times and my core values as an individual.

And I’ve learned a lot about teaching. not just the coaching part, but about teaching kids how to be better people and how to be better basketball players.

It’s been a long process. But it’s been a process where I can look back and say, ‘Hey, I’ve learned a lot.’ I’m going to continue to learn as long as I’m in this profession.

Q: What does it mean to be a Blue Devil?

A: It’s everything to me. It’s been my entire life. Growing up here and playing and then coaching in it, it’s been my entire life. My philosophy is a little different than others, but my main goal is to help kids improve on and off the basketball court.

We will make a big commitment to the off-the-basketball-court stuff. When I think back, the relationships we had when we played and when we coached are what got us to this point in our lives. So it means everything to me to be a part and especially in this way.

Q: What’s it mean to you to be a Douglas?

A: There is a lot of pride in that. It doesn’t matter where you go. When you introduce yourself and tell them your last name, a lot of people know who you are and they know who you are because of Quincy basketball.

I’d like to say I’m the best shooter out of all the Douglases and none of them can coach like I can. So I’ve got them beat on a couple of things.

My grandmother, my grandfather, my dad as the oldest one having so much pride in his last name has been something that is important to me. Watching how my dad holds family so important impacted me. He instilled that in me, and that’s something that I put toward the basketball program.

Q: Your program has to be your family or you have to create a family atmosphere within your program, right?

A: Yes, you do. You’re around the kids for so long you want to build relationships with the kids and develop those relationships. A lot of the qualities a team has is something that a family has. So I think it’s vital and very important. We will have quotes up in the locker room on family and the importance of it.

Also, one of our goals as individuals and as a team will mirror one of my favorite quotes and that is, “You either get better or worse. You never stay the same.” It’s something I want to instill in our kids. I want you to improve on the court. I want you to improve your individual skills. I want us to improve as a team.

But I also want them to improve off the court as well. I want you to improve in school. I want you to improve your family relationships because all of those things are going to make you a better person down the line.

Q: What was the most important piece of advice you were given during this process?

A: I’ve had a lot of advice thrown my way. A former Blue Devil sent me a text with a great piece of advice. It was “do what you do, be committed and don’t sacrifice your integrity.” Those are all important things from the advice I’ve gotten so far.

The “do what you do” part is important. A lot of people look and say, “He’s a young coach. How is he going to handle the whole experience?” And that’s true. I’m 32 years old.

But the one thing about me, and something I picked up from every great coach I’ve been around, is you always have to be a constant learner. They are life-long learners. That’s what I am.

Q: How daunting is it to hear people talk about how high expectations are?

A: It’s important for the program to have high expectations. It means you’ve had a lot of success in the past. And it’s important to me. When people ask me about how high expectations are and how demanding they are, I tell them that I have higher expectations.

I’ve been in the program. I know what the program is about. I know the tradition of the program.

My expectations of where the program should be are extremely high. When other people state their expectations, they can know and trust mine are right up there with them.

Q: How do you put your signature on this program?

A: My coaching style might be a little different than what people have seen in the past. I’m really big on relationship building and getting the most out of kids that way. My staple will come by how I carry myself and how my players carry themselves.

We want to be a program built on what it’s been built on in the past, and that’s 100-percent class. It’s important to me. When I took over the Liberty job, I said the exact same thing.

When it’s all said and done, I want my program when I leave here to be one where people can look back and say that was classy coaches, classy players, classy program. I’m hearing a lot of feedback from that, so that makes me proud to say I did coach there and I did do things the right way.

Q: You’re in the fun and unique position of having a young son who can come to the gym with you. How important was this job from the standpoint that you wanted him to see Blue Devil basketball and may someday be a part of it?

A: It’s vital. It’s what I grew up on. My dad was a coach at the high school level, and I was always at the gym with him. I always wanted to be at the gym. When he brought me to my first Blue Devil game when I was in fourth grade, it was a great experience.

It wasn’t just the experience of the electric crowd and the great atmosphere, but to be able to spend that time with him makes that a night I still remember to this day. I’ll never forget it.

So it’s important for me to bring my son or my future son or daughter up in the program. I know how important it was to my growth as an individual and how important it could be to theirs as they grow.

Q: You’ve called this your dream job. So have you actually dreamed about what it would be like to have the job?

A: When I think about it now, it’s overwhelming. Not just to say I’m the coach of Quincy High School, but I can say this is the path I’ve taken and this is where it landed me and this is what i’ve always wanted to do.

I couldn’t be more blessed with the opportunity.

I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to come home and say that I’m the coach of Quincy High School Blue Devil basketball.

Aggressive Blue Devils upset Redbirds in regional semifinals

Herald-Whig Sports Editor

When Quincy High School boys basketball coach Sean Taylor learned how many turnovers his team committed Wednesday night, he chuckled.

“It’s funny,” Taylor said. “That’s the number we wanted.”

It might not have been realistic, though, to think Quincy would turn the ball over only 12 times against Alton. After all, the Blue Devils committed 25 turnovers in a January loss to the Redbirds.

“We said if we could have 12 or fewer and they are aggressive turnovers, we could live with that,” Taylor said. “Because I don’t think you can play perfect against a team as quick as they are.”

Quincy didn’t play perfect, but it came awfully close.

The third-seeded Blue Devils led by just one point with five minutes to play in the Class 4A Quincy Regional semifinal at Blue Devil Gym before outscoring the second-seeded Redbirds 20-5 to close out a 64-48 upset.

“I pulled the guys in and said, ‘It’s not just us. It’s this entire place that’s into this,'” Quincy senior forward Connor Mellon said. “We could all feel the floor vibrate from the cheering.”

It could be equally electric Friday night.

Quincy (15-11) will face top-seeded Edwardsville (26-2) in the regional championship. The Tigers eliminated the Blue Devils in the regional championship two years ago, but Quincy has not lost a postseason game at home since 1977 and won 39 straight regional games at Blue Devil Gym.

“I do think there is a belief when you put on that jersey, you’re representing a great program and you owe it to the program to play hard,” Taylor said. “These guys have really bought into that.”

The Blue Devils also bought into the idea they had to be relentless, especially in the fourth quarter.

Quincy led 23-21 at halftime and never trailed throughout the third quarter, but it couldn’t gain any separation. The biggest lead was 40-36 on the heels of Zach Burry’s 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in the third quarter, but Alton (22-6) closed to 44-43 when D’tae McMurray hit a 3-pointer from the corer with 5:50 to play.

“Coach said, ‘You can’t hold back. You have to keep going. You have to keep putting it on them, or they will come back on you,’ ” Burry said.

So that’s what the Blue Devils did.

Barnell Thomas, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, scored five straight points to push the lead to 49-43 and force the Redbirds to start chasing. That opened the floor for point guard Lincoln Elbe to attack the lane and kick out to Burry and Alex Shoot, who combined to hit three straight 3-pointers that extended the lead to 58-47 with 1:38 to play. Elbe finished with six assists.

“We knew they were going to come after us, so we had to attack them,” Elbe said. “Coach stressed we had to be strong.”

It’s all the Blue Devils had heard.

“The thing we said for the last four days was we don’t want to play on our heels,” Taylor said. “You can’t play on your heels against quickness. You have to attack it. You’re going to make some mistakes, but you’re making them going to the basket. That was key.”

So was a strong start.

Mellon scored the Blue Devils’ first three baskets, and all eight of their first-half field goals came inside 5 feet. Mellon went 7 of 9 from the field and finished with 19 points.

“The last time we played them, we missed a lot of layups and easy ones,” Burry, who had a game-high 20 points, said. “So getting those, it gives us all the confidence to shoot the ball and drive it.”

Alton couldn’t do that.

Driving lanes were taken away by Quincy’s 1-2-2 zone, which forced Alton to shoot just 36.3 percent from the field. Redbirds point guard Michael Williams-Bey, who came in averaging 14 points per game, was limited to just seven.

“We slowed up their penetration,” Burry said. “They have a couple good shooters, but not great. So we had to contain them and get to them.”

It meant playing every possession until the end.

“For the seniors, it was kind of like, ‘Give it all for your last moment,’ ” Mellon said. “We put it all on the line tonight. We took every possession very seriously.”

— mschuckman@whig.com/221-3366

Blue Devils carry confidence into regional rematch with Redbirds

Herald-Whig Sports Editor

Quincy High School boys basketball coach Sean Taylor can tell you the Blue Devils are a vastly different team than when they played Alton nearly two months ago.

But the numbers illustrate it.

Since the 57-40 loss to the Redbirds at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, the Blue Devils have gone 9-3. They finished second in the Western Big Six Conference, winning seven of their final eight league games.

And after allowing three straight opponents to score 55 or more points, Quincy has allowed just one of its last 12 foes to hit that mark.

In fact, the last 12 opponents have averaged only 44.5 points. The first 13 opponents this season averaged 52.1 points.

So it’s safe to say this team is vastly different.

“In every key facet, we’re better,” Taylor said. “It’s because they’ve worked hard. I know a lot of people say that, but this group made it their goal to get better and become a factor. They’ve done that.”

Wednesday night, the Blue Devils get to showcase how far they’ve come.

Third-seeded Quincy (14-11) faces second-seeded Alton (22-5) in the semifinals of the Class 4A Quincy Regional at Blue Devil Gym. The Redbirds took advantage of the Blue Devils’ struggles defensively in the first meeting, building a 13-point halftime lead as Quincy stuggled to contain dribble penetration.

After that loss, Quincy dumped the traditional man-to-man defense in favor of a 1-2-2 zone and the results speak for themselves.

“We’re playing as well as we have all year,” Taylor said. “All the guys in the rotation are playing well.”

They will need to in order to combat Alton’s quickness and quick-strike ability. The Redbirds rebounded from back-to-back losses to Belleville East and Edwardsville by beating Belleville West and O’Fallon to close the regular season.

It helped having guard Mike Williams-Bey back in the lineup. Despite missing a couple game with an injury, Williams-Bey averages 14.5 points and nearly three steals per game.

He is one of four Redbirds averaging in double figures.

“Like Rocky, they’re quick at every spot,” Taylor said. “They really come after you. They don’t have any defensive liabilities and guard at every position. So you have to be sound making passes from point A to point B.”

But there can be gaps in Alton’s defense.

“You have to have confidence to see it and go after it,” Taylor said.

Right now, few times are playing with as much confidence as the Blue Devils, which makes Taylor believe anything is possible.

— mschuckman@whig.com/221-3366