By Matt Schuckman Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 20, 2016 1:55 am
QUINCY — Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas gave Mike Dade simple instructions during the final timeout Friday night.
“Get to the paint and create,” Dade said.
By doing so, the senior point guard gave himself and his teammates an everlasting memory of their final game at Blue Devil Gym.
With 14.7 seconds left in regulation and the Western Big Six Conference clash with state-ranked Galesburg knotted at 43, Dade caught the inbounds pass and drove up the right sideline. He forced the Silver Streaks’ Kivontay Shaw to take away a path to the baseline, which enabled Dade to use a behind-the-back dribble to create an open lane to the basket.
“It was like the Red Sea parted,” Dade said. “It was everything you could ask for right there.”
Dade made the uncontested layup with five seconds to go, then punctuated the Blue Devils’ 45-43 victory at Blue Devil Gym with a steal on Galesburg’s final possession.
After that, he willingly let himself get swallowed up by a tidal wave of fans, who flooded the court in celebration after the Blue Devils won their 12th straight game at home and finished a regular season undefeated at Blue Devil Gym for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
“The feeling is exhilarating,” Dade said. “It’s like no other.”
No one else in Illinois knows how it feels to topple Galesburg.
The Silver Streaks, ranked fourth in Class 3A, were riding a 19-game winning streak, had secured at least a share of the WB6 title and suffered their only loss to Bettendorf (Iowa) in the Genesis Shootout back in December.
“We lost our poise for a couple minutes and this group hasn’t done that yet,” Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds said.
“Hopefully, it’s a good learning experience. We haven’t been in a lot of close games, and the close games we’ve been in we’ve made all the plays. This time we didn’t.”
It makes the final weekend of WB6 play intriguing and gives the Blue Dvils a glimmer of hope of sharing the conference title.
Quincy (19-5, 7-2 WB6) will have to win at Moline next Friday, while Galesburg (27-2, 8-1) must lose at home against Rock Island for the two to share the title. Even if that scenario doesn’t play out in the Blue Devils’ favor, they’ve made it interesting and intriguing right to the end.
“It’s a ride that keeps going and going,” Dade said after Quincy knocked off a state-ranked WB6 opponent for the third straight Friday. “There’s no other group of guys I’d rather do it with. It’s one of the best times of my life and I’m just trying to soak it all up.”
The ride got a little bumpy in the second half.
Leading by four at halftime, Quincy was able to extend its lead to 29-21 before Galesburg ripped off a 9-0 run to take a 30-29 lead with 2:25 to go in the third quarter. Jake Jobe gve the Blue Devils a 31-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter when he scored off a drive with a minute to go in the third.
It was Jobe’s first basket since scoring twice in the first quarter, and all three of his baskets came off dribble penetration as the Silver Streaks blanketed the Blue Devils’ top 3-point threat.
“I knew the only was I was getting a three was from back here,” Jobe said, pointing to the midcourt stripe. “So I tried to show some versatility coming off some screens and getting in the paint.”
That attacking mentality allowed the Blue Devils to build a six-point lead in the fourth quarter.
However, Quincy’s inability to make free throws opened the door for a Galesburg rally. The Blue Devils were 6 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter with Dade splitting a pair of free throws three separate times.
The Silver Streaks took advantage. Devyn Ross hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 56.4 seconds left to trim the deficit to three, and Jarret Olson knocked down a trey with 39.7 seconds left to pull Galesburg within 42-41.
After Dade split a pair of free throws with 28.8 seconds left, Ross drove to the high post, missed a jumper, grabbed his own rebound and made the putback with 16.7 seconds left. Quincy quickly called timeout to set up the final sequence.
“We were going to set a double screen for Mike and stick our shooters in the corners,” Douglas said. “If they help out, Mike’s smart enough to get them the ball. He saw an opportunity there that no many others saw. Jake was locked up on the side and they weren’t going to help off of him.
“Mike made the right play at the right time. That’s what you expect from a senior.”