QUINCY -- Andy Douglas understands the sacrifices the Quincy High School boys basketball players make during the holidays.?At both Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Blue Devils trade turkey and trimmings for tradition.
So the fourth-year head coach tries to give them a just reward. This year, that meant a couple extra days off during a two-week break after the Prairie Farms Holiday Classic in Collinsville.
"We always talk about, from a coaching standpoint, how our kids miss out things," said Douglas, who made the same sacrifices as a player from 1997-2000. "It's good to give them some time to spend with family and friends."
It seems to reinvigorate the Blue Devils as well.
Quincy begins the second half of its season Friday night by playing host to United Township in the first Western BIg Six Conference home game of the season. The Blue Devils (11-3, 2-1 WB6) have not played since the victory over Edwardsville on Dec. 30.
Douglas isn't as concerned about the rested as he is the ready. That explains why practices have been lively this week.
"I always go back and evaluate practices and everything we do," said Douglas, whose team went 3-1 at Collinsville and finish fifth. "The one thing we looked at from a coaching standpoint was we didn't shoot the ball enough in practice, at least I didn't think so. That's an area we really concentrated on over break. We got a lot of shots up. We got to work on skill development with our inside guys and our guards. It gave us the time to do that."
The Blue Devils are shooting 46.9 percent from the field, tops in the WB6. They are shooting 34.4 percent from 3-point range, third in the league behind Rock Island Alleman and Moline.
Senior point guard Aaron Shoot spearheads the solid shooting effort, hitting 56.9 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the line. Senior forward Ben Amos is shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from 3-point range, and senior guard Jacob Ary is knocking down 43.6 percent of his treys coming off the bench.
Douglas believes the Blue Devils can shoot better if they are disciplined.
"We're not the tallest team or the most physical team," Douglas said. "If we stay disciplined in our approach offensively and get after it defensively, we can compete."
If Douglas realized nothing else about his team during its two-week break, he learned their desire to compete doesn't wane.
"We always try to make practice fun for them and create an environment they want to compete in," Douglas said. "We competed in some different drills and created some new drills for them to do. They get after it and compete. Practices are fun with them.
"Most teams don't ask you to run competitive drills all the time, but this group is always asking, ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?' It's a group that loves competing and loves learning. Because of that, the sky's the limit for them."
The Quincy High School boys basketball team is the top shooting team in the Western Big Six Conference. Here's a look at the numbers:
Team FG% 3PT%
Quincy 46.9 34.4
United Township 44.8 31.7
Rock Island 43.6 33.3
Moline 43.3 34.8
Alleman 43.1 36.5
Galesburg 42.7 34.0?