By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. -- After upsetting third-seeded Springfield Southeast to reach the semifinals of the 29th annual Collinsville Schnucks Holiday Classic, Quincy High School point guard Martin Kvitle said neither third nor fourth place would be good enough.
Blue Devils coach Sean Taylor wants him to amend that.
"I hope he feels like second isn't good enough now," Taylor said.
Quincy earned a spot in the championship game for the first time since 2005 by limiting Collinsville to just two points over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter and pulling away for a 53-40 semifinal victory at Vergil Fletcher Gym.
The Blue Devils (11-1) carry an 11-game winning streak into Saturday night's championship game against East St. Louis. The Flyers (7-6) advanced with a 41-40 victory over top-seeded Belleville East.
Taylor said the gameplan won't differ much from how the Blue Devils attacked Springfield Southeast in the quarterfinals. They will need to limit turnovers, control tempo and keep the Flyers off the offensive glass.
It wouldn't hurt to get off to as fluid a start as Quincy did against Collinsville.
The Blue Devils scored on seven straight possessions at one point during the first quarter in building a 16-6 lead. Cole Abbey scored 10 points in the stretch, finished the first quarter with 15 points and led Quincy with 23 points overall.
"When good offensive players start feeling it, it's hard to stop them," Taylor said. "I think he felt it."
Quincy pushed its lead to 23-10 when Connor Mellon made a pair of free throws to start the second quarter before going ice cold from the field. The Blue Devils went seven consecutive possessions without scoring, while missing all seven field goal attempts as the Kahoks took a 25-23 lead.
Abbey tied the game with a pull-up jumper, and Mason Fairley gave Quincy the halftime lead when he drove from the left wing and scored with eight seconds remaining.
"He did a great job of getting it on the rim," Taylor said.
Collinsville tied the game on the opening possession of the third quarter on Briley Kellison's jumper, but Quincy regained the lead on Kvitle's jumper in transition and never trailed again.
The Blue Devils were up 39-32 before going on an 11-2 run over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. They held the Kahoks' Falando Wilkinson to two points in the second half and none in the fourth quarter after he scored 15 points in the first half.