QUINCY (WGEM) – The mission is simple.
Beat Rock Island twice in a three-day span and the Quincy High’s boys basketball team wins the Western Big Six Conference championship.
“I can’t think of a better way to end the regular season,” said QHS Coach Andy Douglas, whose team was ranked third in last week’s Illinois Class 4A poll. “Two talented teams battling it out for the league championship.”
If the Blue Devils (26-3, 10-2 WB6) can win both games, QHS will capture its second WB6 championship in the past three seasons and 25th overall in the league’s 53-year history.
The Rocks (22-6, 11-1 WB6) beat Alleman 71-30 Friday night to take over sole possession of first place while Quincy lost at Moline 42-41.
“We put ourselves in this position (by losing to Moline) but we also put ourselves in this position (by going 10-2 in other games) so we have a chance,” Douglas said.
Rock Island comes to Blue Devil Gym on Tuesday before the teams complete the regular season at the Rocky Fieldhouse on Thursday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
The Thursday game is a makeup date for a game originally scheduled for Jan. 12 that was postponed because of weather.
The games will feature six of the WB6′s leading scorers.
Rock Island senior guard Kj Lamonte leads the league at 18.5 points per game (stats for conference games only) while senior forward Dezmund Jackson and senior guard Larry Olivier also average in double figures at 11.9 and 10.8 points respectively.
Quincy junior guard Bradley Longcor III is fourth in scoring at 14.7 while junior center KeShaun Thomas and senior forward Camden Brown are averaging 12.5 and 12.3 points respectively. Thomas is also second in rebounding with 6.5 rebounds per game.
“Rock Island has guys that can put the ball in the basket,” Douglas said. “They have three guys that put up a lot of 3s and some are really deep.”
After the devastating loss to Moline, the Blue Devils bounced back 24 hours later by routing Jacksonville 71-44 on the road Saturday.
High school basketball teams are used to playing back-to-back games, usually on Friday and Saturday. Having one day between and playing the same opponent twice midweek is unusual.
“We had our game plan pretty well set prior to the game being canceled so we are prepared there,” Douglas said. “Then after the first game, we will see where we are. We’ve got to see Rocky play a lot.”
The two big games also serve as a tuneup for the Class 4A state tournament, which starts next week. QHS, which is seeded second behind Collinsville in the Pekin Sectional, opens Feb. 21 against Alton in the Edwardsville Regional.
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