By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
QUINCY, Ill. -- Reagan Wellman saw everything change in the second half.
The Quincy High School girls basketball team struggled to handle Rock Island's pressure, committing 33 turnovers overall and scoring just seven points in the second half of an 86-26 loss Tuesday night in the Western Big Six Conference opener at the QHS gym.
"I thought we competed in the first half," Wellman said. "In the third quarter, our shoulders dropped, and we didn't play as a team. We have to keep believing and play like we did in the first half the entire game."
The Blue Devils (0-3, 0-1 WB6) just couldn't get into a rhythm. QHS shot 7 of 44 from the field.
Early on, QHS tried to make Rock Island (5-0, 1-0) slow down and play its tempo. The Blue Devils saw the Rocks score the game's first four points but rallied to tie the game 4-4 on a McKenna Baker jumper with 4 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
"We were trying to control the tempo a little bit," Blue Devils coach Demond Dade said. "We were trying to cut out their second and third opportunities. After the score got lopsided, it was harder for the kids to maintain focus with what we were trying to accomplish. We quit competing in the third quarter."
The Rocks called a timeout and followed the Baker jumper with an 11-0 run to go ahead 15-4. Morgan Twing started the run, burying a 3-pointer, and Carlee Hoover, who finished with a game-high 14 points, scored the next seven points.
Wellman, who scored six points, ended the run with a free throw with 3:16 left in the first quarter. While the Rocks didn't shoot very well from the field (25 of 71) or the free-throw line (18 of 36), their energy helped carry them.
"Playing with energy," Hoover said. "We didn't really shoot the ball great tonight. ... There are going to be a lot of loose balls and a lot of rebounds and if the energy level is high, you're going to get opportunities for those. As the game went on and as fatigue set in with them, we got more easy baskets that way."
Rock Island pushed the lead to 45-19 at halftime. The Blue Devils scored two field goals in the second half. Jordan Dietrich made a layup with 6:30 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 48-21. Rock Island followed that with a 25-0 run that didn't end until Wellman made a free throw with 7:41 remaining in the game.
"Being a young team, we have to keep working through this," Dade said. "We were playing the returning conference champions and they are pretty confident. We are working hard as well. We are just a little bit off. They have to learn how to trust what we tell them and not make the same mistakes over and over."
Baker finished with six points and five rebounds for QHS. Dietrich finished with a team-high eight rebounds.