Prep Boys Basketball

Deep impact: WB6 teams demonstrating ability to knock down treys in bunches

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 30, 2017 1:00 am Updated: Nov. 30, 2017 2:06 am

QUINCY -- Anyone familiar with the movie "Hoosiers" should remember Shooter Flatch offering some sage advice to the Hickory Huskers coach Norman Dale.

"You got to squeeze 'em back in the paint. Make 'em chuck it from the cheap seats," Flatch said as part of his scouting report on Cedar Knob.

If Shooter was scouting the Western Big Six Conference boys basketball team this season, such an assessment wouldn't work.

Chuckin' it is something these teams do quite well.

Friday night, the league opens its 48th season with four teams having finished Thanksgiving week undefeated and a collective non-conference record of 24-2. It serves as a subtle reminder nothing is going to come easy in conference.

But when does it ever?

"Never," Quincy High School coach Andy Douglas said. "That's the good thing about our conference. The thing every coach says is how it prepares you for the postseason. That's the truth. Quality coaches, quality venues, quality teams. You're going to get tested."

Moreso this year than possibly any other, teams better be prepared to face a stern challenge on the perimeter.

Collectively, the league is averaging more than seven made 3-pointers per game and has piled up 189 treys in 26 games. United Township is averaging 10 made 3-pointers per game and Quincy is making nine.

Overall, the league is shooting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc, with Quincy shooting 45.8 percent and Alleman hitting 43.2 percent.

"You're seeing more of that across the board, team that can stretch it," Douglas said.

In the Blue Devils' case, they have to be able to do that.

Quincy starts only one player taller than 6-foot-1, and even he can knock down the three. Ben Amos, a 6-5 senior forward, went 6 of 7 from 3-point range in the Blue Devils' sweep of the 47th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament field.

That's becoming the norm for players his size as the game shifts away from the role of the traditional big man.

"It's trickled down from the NBA to college to high school," said Moline coach Sean Taylor, who is his second season at Moline and his 13th season coaching in the WB6. "It's the way the game is being played now.

"Spread it and drive it, kick it and shoot it."

Such a formula is working well for the WB6's best players.

Alleman senior guard Sonu Patwal is shooting 56.3 percent from beyond the arc and leads the league with 18 made treys. Quincy junior guard Jaeden Smith is the WB6's leading scorer at 18.3 points per game with 11 3-pointers made, while Moline junior swingman Deonte Billups is averaging 18 points and is 14 of 34 (41.2 percent) from the perimeter.

Rock Island senior guard Randy Tucker could be the best shooter by the time all is said and done. He is averaging 17.8 points and has made 11 treys, while drawing comparisons to former Rocky standout Tyler Hall.

"We know who the shooters are, and I think everyone in the league knows who the shooters are," Douglas said. "We don't see that as pressure. We take it as a challenge. There's a comfort in knowing if we play defensively the right way, we're going to make it a challenge for them to get shots."

With that said, Douglas knows the shots are going to keep coming.

So do all the coaches in the league.

"It'll swing back at some point," Taylor said. "The pendulem will swing and the game will shift. Right now, that's the way the game is being played and everyone is adapting to it. Everyone is learning to play that way offensively and defensively."


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