Prep Boys Basketball

'Our Worst Nightmare': Belleville West dominates from start, hands QHS worst postseason loss since 1984

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 7, 2018 12:35 am Updated: Mar. 7, 2018 1:57 am

ALTON, Ill. -- Aaron Shoot didn't give in to the notion that a comeback seemed impossible, no matter how much the Quincy High School boys basketball team's deficit was.

But it grew and grew and grew.

Belleville West ripped off a 19-0 run in the first quarter to seize control of Tuesday night's Class 4A sectional semifinal, had a 30-point advantage at halftime and led by as many as 44 points in the second half.

"We've played from behind in a couple of games, so I was keeping that in mind," said Shoot, the Blue Devils' senior point guard. "You just have to keep fighting. You remind yourself to fight."

There wasn't enough fight to avoid the inevitable.

The Maroons, ranked second in Class 4A in the final regular-season poll, posted a 66-33 victory to roll into Friday's sectional championship against Moline. Belleville West (28-2) hasn't lost to an Illinois school this season and showcased why with a mix of harassing defense, dominant rebounding and the ability to dissect Quincy's vaunted 1-2-2 zone defense.

"It was our worst nightmare," said Quincy coach Andy Douglas, whose team finishes with a 23-5 record and the most victories since the 2007 season. "Them getting off to a good start and us coming out a little flat, that was our worst nightmare."

At first, it wasn't so bad.

The Maroons led 6-4 four minutes into the game and the Blue Devils managed to avoid any huge momentum swings despite three turnovers. But when Malachi Smith converted a three-point play with a little more than four minutes to go in the quarter and the Maroons jumped into a full-court press, the Blue Devils became rattled.

Quincy turned the ball over six times a 19-0 run that lasted three minutes. Adonte Crider's 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter snapped the Blue Devils' scoreless stretch, but Maroons junior EJ Liddell hit a runner down the lane as time expired for a 27-7 lead.

Another four minutes passed before the Blue Devils scored again, and they trailed 41-11 at halftime.

"I kind of had flashbacks to Webster Groves when they went on their run in the first half against us," Quincy junior Jirehl Brock said, referencing a game against the No. 1 team in Missouri Class 5 in which the Blue Devils trailed 37-19 at halftime but rallied to get within a point in the fourth quarter. "We didn't perform up to the level we expected to. They pressured us and made us do some things we weren't used to doing.

"When you go down 30 and it's halftime, against a really good team like that, all you can hope for is to come out the next half and play a lot better than that."

Belleville West wouldn't let that happen. Five different players scored on the Maroons' first seven possessions of the third quarter and the Blue Devils managed just three points the first seven minutes of the quarter to fall behind 58-14.

"Our kids executed the gameplan offensively and defensively really well," Belleville West coach Joe Muniz said. "We wanted to speed (the Blue Devils) up and see if they could handle it. We knew they weren't real deep, but with our guys, we bring three guys in, and we get faster.

"I thought our press really got them rattled, and we got some easy buckets."

It was an avalanche of easy buckets.

Belleville West scored 24 points off Quincy's 11 turnovers in the first half and finished with 34 points off 20 turnovers.

The Maroons also outrebounded the Blue Devils 35-30 and scored 17 second-chance points. Liddell finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots and didn't play in the fourth quarter.

Smith added 17 points and six rebounds, while Keith Randolph Jr. had 12 points and seven boards.

Shoot led the Blue Devils with seven points.

"When you're down 30 at half, you kind of know what the outcome is going to be," Douglas said. "We told them you don't want to go out without a fight. You can go out and lose, but you're not going to go out without a fight. So I thought we battled. They had a little fight to them."

 

Class 4A Pekin Sectional

Belleville West 66, Quincy 33

QUINCY (23-5)

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb pf pts

Shoot 3-7 1-1 1 0 7

Smith 2-9 0-0 1 1 6

Brock 1-4 0-0 2 3 2

Tenhouse 2-4 0-0 4 0 4

Amos 2-8 0-0 3 1 5

Ary 1-5 1-1 3 1 3

Crider 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

Schwiete 0-1 0-0 0 1 0

Moore 0-1 0-0 1 0 0

Eldridge 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Frese 0-1 0-0 0 1 0

Reis 1-1 0-0 3 0 3

Salrin 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Team 2

Totals 13-45 2-2 20 8 33

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb pf pts

Brazil III 2-8 0-0 1 1 6

Smith 7-11 3-3 6 2 17

Randolph Jr. 6-8 0-0 7 3 12

Williams 2-4 0-0 0 0 4

Liddell 9-11 1-2 9 0 20

Woodie 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Mosby 1-5 2-2 4 0 5

Romious 0-1 0-0 1 1 0

Clark 0-2 0-0 1 0 0

Wright 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Swims 1-1 0-2 1 0 2

Seales 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Team 4

Totals 28-51 6-9 35 7 66

Quincy 7 4 6 16--33

Belleville West 27 14 17 8--66

3-point field goals--Quincy 5-24 (Smith 2-7, Amos 1-2, Crider 1-2, Reis 1-1, Shoot 0-4, Ary 0-4, Brock 0-1, Schwiete 0-1, Eldridge 0-1, Frese 0-1). Assists--Quincy 6 (Shoot 3), Belleville West 4-15 (Brazil 2-7, Mosby 1-4, Liddell 1-3, Williams 0-1). Steals--Quincy 4 (Shoot 2), Belleville West 14 (Brazil 5), Blocked shots--Quincy 2 (Amos 2), Belleville West 4 (Liddell 4). Turnovers--Quincy 20, Belleville West 12.

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