Beyond the Boxscore: Blue Devils see no need to live and die with 3-pointers

| H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 23, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 24, 2017 3:42 am

Andy Douglas hadn't realized the Quincy High School boys basketball team scored 76 points Thursday night without the help of the 3-point shot.

So after the 76-69 victory over Providence St. Mel in the Blue Devils' opening game of the 47th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament, the fourth-year head coach was taken aback when told his team made only three 3-pointers.

"That's it?" he said. "Really, that's all we made?"

It seemed quite surprising for a team that had two guards with the "greenest of green lights" on the perimeter, but the Blue Devils did a better job attacking the rim than they did setting up on the 3-point stripe.

Quincy made 21 of 28 free throws, a percentage that left Douglas very pleased. Jaeden Smith went 9 of 10 from the line, while Aaron Shoot was 6 of 6 as part of a 27-point performance.

The Blue Devils can expect to get to the free-throw line more often with the motion offense they are running.

Lacking a true post player, the QHS coaching staff has gone to an offensive set circumvents the size deficiency. All five players are capable of shooting 3s, as evidenced by 6-foot-5 forward Ben Amos making his only attempt from long range, and all five are constantly screening for each other.

The end result was an offense that went 26 of 54 from the field -- 48.1 percent -- and produced a number of good looks at the rim. Quincy went 3 of 11 from 3-point range with one of the makes being Shoot's step-back 3-pointer just before the buzzer at the end of the second quarter. Quincy didn't make a 3-pointer in the second half.


Opportunity arises

When Shoot went down in the final minute of the third quarter with an ankle injury, Blue Devil Gym went eerily quiet.

Meanwhile, on the Quincy bench, the coaches immediately started thinking one or two steps ahead.

"On the sideline, as a coaching staff, we were saying, ‘Who are some people that need playing time in this situation?'" Douglas said.

Sophomore guard Adonte Crider was one. Crider scored two points on 1-of-3 shooting with two rebounds, but he faced pressure defense for the first time at the varsity level and held his own.

He earned another opportunity to play more minutes, depending on how long Shoot is sidelined. The senior guard suffered a sprained left ankle and left Blue Devil Gym in a walking boot.

His status for Friday's game against Chicago Dunbar is up in the air.

"There were times (Crider) played like a sophomore, but there were other plays he made that showed he deserved to be out there," Douglas said. "We want guys to be confident and gain that confidence. I thought he gained it towards the end."


Get your hands up

One of the reasons the Blue Devils' 1-2-2 zone defense is so effective is the ability of the guards to get into the passing lanes and create some havoc.

It's exactly what they did against the Knights.

Quincy forced 24 turnovers, came away with 12 steals and piled up the deflections. In the first half alone, the Blue Devils stole or deflected 18 passes. The second half numbers were similar as Jirehl Brock led the team with six steals.


Up next

Quincy will face Chicago Dunbar at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Mightymen suffered an 80-40 loss to St. Louis Northwest Academy in Thursday's opening game. Northwest Academy, the defending Missouri Class 3 state champion, led 52-13 at halftime.