V – Varsity S – Sophomore F – Freshman
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH
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)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH
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)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH
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)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH
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)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH
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)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH
V – 7:00-8:30am
S – 7:00-8:30am
F – 9:00-11:00am
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH
V – Off
S – Off
F – Off
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.
By MATT SCHUCKMAN
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.”
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.
Taylor liked how the Blue Devils were able to turn that defense into offense in the third quarter.
“They were trying to extend (their defense), and we did a nice job of getting some run outs,” Taylor said. “Connor Mellon did a nice job of running the court. Our guys had their heads up and we got some easy layups and made them pay the price for trying to extend.”
Mellon powered his way to 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and added a team-high eight rebounds. He was most impressed with the Blue Devils’ effort inside their zone defense. In addition to the 26 turnovers QHS forced, the Blue Devils got their hands on at least a half dozen passes that disrupted the Titans’ flow.
“We use anticipation to our advantage,” Mellon said. “We’re ready, we’re watching that ball and we’re on our toes. We’re getting really good at that defense. Those tips and deflections are what our defense is about. You might get a steal. The offense might get a little intimidated and say, ‘Oh, I can’t get that ball through there.'”
Titans coach Chuck Grant didn’t know what to make out of what he saw Saturday night.
“I never dreamed of coming down here and getting beat by 20,” he said. “That’s no disrespect at all to Sean and his kids. But the way we’ve been playing and the way we prepped, I thought we had three fabulous practices and I walked out of the gym last night thinking that this is as well as we prepped all year. I certainly didn’t expect this.”
Burry led the way for Quincy by scoring 22 points. Everyone in uniform played for Quincy and nine different players scored. Dillon Frieden had 14 points, while Martel Hunter added 12 to lead Monmouth-Roseville.
The Blue Devils, winners of three straight, will return to action Friday at Rock Island Alleman.
“The goal in the beginning (of the season) was to give a lot of people a lot of playing time and then around this time we’ll see where we can put them in and refine our roles,” Taylor said. “We are staring to do that and they’re starting to get really comfortable in what we want them to do.”
The regional semi-final game versus Alton will be played tonight, 2/27/13, at 6:00pm in Granite City.
By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
Mason Fairley answered with the confidence you’d expect from a starting guard on a Quincy High School boys basketball team that won 11 straight games at one point this season.
The ironic thing is the streak is a distant memory.
Just like first place in the Western Big Six Conference.
Just like the perception this team could give top-seeded Edwardsville a challenge in the Class 4A Granite City Regional.
Yet, Fairley remains confident the Blue Devils can be a contender despite all that has gone wrong in recent weeks.
“We’ve never lost our confidence,” Fairley said last week. “We believe in each other, and we believe we can win. No one in here is thinking any different.”
Hearing that gives Quincy coach Sean Taylor hope that what he sees isn’t misleading.
Taylor said he liked many of the things the Blue Devils did during their season-ending 61-47 loss at Rock Island last Friday night and has always felt this team will fight to the finish.
The challenge is cleaning up the defensive breakdowns and the offensive inconsistency that led to losses in five of Quincy’s final six games.
“We can’t play from behind,” Taylor said. “That’s what we’ve been doing. Our defense has to dig in and get stops and not allow teams to get the better of us.
“If we can buckle down and get stops and make teams work to score, we’ll be OK. We have to play with the lead and put the pressure on someone else. Too often lately we’ve been putting the pressure on ourselves.”
Well, the pressure is on Quincy’s experienced backcourt to give the Blue Devils an edge.
Martin Kvitle leads Quincy in scoring at 15.7 points per game and has been the best threat from the perimeter, knocking down 32 3-pointers. Still, he’s the only player averaging in double figures.
Fairley’s increased production has upped his scoring average to 7.2 points per game. No one else averages more than six points per game,
“We have to take it upon ourselves to get it done,” Kvitle said. “Mason and I have to lead this team with our effort and our intensity. Yeah, we need to score, but we need to play better defense and give more effort.
“There is nothing more to play for after this. I don’t want to regret not giving us every chance to win in the postseason.”
Taylor fully expects Kvitle and the rest of the Blue Devils to do that.
“The best thing about coaching this group is you know they are going to show up to work and give you their best effort,” Taylor said. “We’ve had some struggles, but they keep fighting. I fully expect them to fight until the final buzzer.”