Prep Boys Basketball

History on Blue Devils' minds heading into WB6 finale

Quincy High School points guard Aaron Shoot drives against pressure from Belleville East’s Jaylen Lacey during Thursday’s opening round game of the 34th annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic at Vergil Fletcher Gym. | Photo for the H-W/Jim Simmons
Jimmy J Simmons
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 21, 2018 8:35 pm Updated: Feb. 22, 2018 3:08 am

Aaron Shoot was curious if the Quincy High School boys basketball team had the opportunity to add another historic mark to a milestone-filled season.

What piqued Shoot's interest is the fact Quincy can finish its 23rd Western Big Six Conference championship with a 9-1 record if its beats Galesburg on Friday night at Blue Devil Gym. This would be seventh time the Blue Devils finish WB6 play with nine victories, and it would be Quincy's best conference record since the 2006-07 team went 9-1.

Shoot, the senior point guard, wanted to know if any of the previous 9-1 champions lost their first game and then rattled off nine straight victories.

It turns out none of them had, giving the Blue Devils another reason to place added importance on the final home game.

Quincy suffered its worst loss in WB6 history the opening weekend of conference play, falling 62-28 at Moline in the first of three straight road games. It also happened to be the third time in program history the Blue Devils had to start WB6 play with three straight road trips, and they played four of the first five league games on the road.

The 1997-98 team and the 2001-02 both played their first three games on the road and finished 6-4 in league play. The 1997-98 team went 2-1 on its opening road swing, while the 2001-02 team was 1-2.

The benefit this year of having so much travel early was playing four games at home the second half of the WB6 season. Beating Moline and Rock Island at home vaulted the Blue Devils to the top of the league standings, and they haven't wavered since.

Last week's 56-41 victory at United Township secured an outright WB6 title -- the first for the Blue Devils since 2007. It also guaranteed the Blue Devils three straight WB6 titles for the first time since their run of seven straight championships from 1977-83.

Knowing they had done enough to win a title could have allowed the Blue Devils to put it on cruise control this week.

That's just not part of this team's makeup.

The Blue Devils want to set themselves apart, and nine straight victories in WB6 play does that.

The 1972-73 team was the first to go 9-1 and the first to win a WB6 title outright. A loss at Rock Island Alleman in Week 2 of the conference season kept that team from being perfect. In 1974-75, a loss at home to Galesburg in the third week of conference play spoiled a perfect run.

The 1979-80 team is Quincy's only 9-1 champion to win nine straight before losing the WB6 finale. Galesburg upset the Blue Devils 64-55 at home.

The 1991-92 and 1994-95 teams both finished unbeaten in the first half of WB6 play, only to lose in the sixth game. The 2006-07 team lost at United Township the second weekend of December, then won eight straight league games to finish 9-1.

Five of the previous six teams to go 9-1 also won a regional. The 1994-95 team was the only one to win a sectional.

The Blue Devils will take a crack at adding postseason success to their list of accomplishments next week. First, they want to make the final game of the regular season memorable.

A ninth victory would do the trick.