By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
GENEVA, Ill. -- Quincy High School boys basketball coach Sean Taylor told the Blue Devils that Saturday night's opponent was good enough to win the Western Big Six Conference championship.
He wasn't kidding.
Geneva built an 8-1 lead at the start, held Quincy leading scorer Martin Kvitle without a point in the first half and never let the Blue Devils, ranked ninth in Class 4A, back in the game in the second half, posting a 69-55 victory.
"They're big, physical and shoot it really well," Taylor said. "They're just a really good team."
Coupled with Friday's WB6 loss at Galesburg, the Blue Devils (15-6) suffered a weekend sweep for the first time this season and the first time since December 2011.
"I thought we played really well. We did some good things to get back in the game and just couldn't get over the hump," Taylor said. "We just ran into a team playing really, really well."
It helped that the Vikings (16-6) got off to a hot start.
Geneva scored the game's first three baskets and Quincy didn't score until a free throw by Cole Abbey. In fact, Abbey was the only Blue Devil to score in the first quarter, piling up 10 points as Quincy trailed only 12-10.
Mason Fairley got into the act in the second quarter, scoring three straight times as the Blue Devils whittled a 10-point deficit down to two.
However, Geneva closed the half on a 7-0 run for a 29-20 lead.
"They found a way to make some really tough shots," Taylor said.
Abbey and Fairley were the only two Quincy players to score in the first half. Abbey had 12 points and Fairley had eight.
"I challenged them (Friday night after the loss) and they responded," Taylor said. "Not only did they score, but they played really good defense and really hustled."
The Blue Devils trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half but whittled it 10 late in the fourth quarter. They just couldn't trim the deficit any more.
"For us to be really good, our defense has to improve," Taylor said. "Our defense has been good this year, but it has to get better."
Abbey and Kvitle finished with 16 points for the Blue Devils, while Fairley added 15.