Mat Mikesell

Beyond the Boxscore: Payson wears yellow sneakers, Quest flips script

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 1, 2018 4:00 am

ABINGDON, Ill. -- The Payson Seymour boys basketball team have spent the last month honoring teammate Austin Frese.

They added to that Wednesday night.

The Indians took the floor in their home white uniforms along with the black shirts with Frese's jersey number -- 00 -- on the back. But they also wore yellow sneakers for Frese, who's currently battling cancer.

Even coach Brian Rea showcased yellow kicks on the Payson bench. All of them had "ABF OO" written on the shoes.

"We will be wearing YELLOW game shoes tonight for ABF 00! Family Matters more than outcome," Rea tweeted earlier Wednesday.

Quest uses a history lesson

Peoria Quest coach Michael Jenkins remembers playing Payson two years ago in a sectional semifinal at Bushnell, Ill.

The Gators won in overtime after then-junior Chaz Sardin knocked down a 12-footer from the lane with 1.1 seconds remaining, lifting Quest to a 60-58 victory.

But Jenkins also remembers how that first half went. It wasn't one that went the Gators' way.

"They were up on us by 15," he said.

Quest, however, found itself with a 16-point halftime cushion against Payson Wednesday night. The Gators knew if they made a comeback two years ago, so could the Indians.

"When we start like that, we're in good shape," Jenkins said. We want to play in front and dictate the tempo and make them uncomfortable every chance they get.

"That's just Peoria basketball."

Drought ends Friday night

One of two teams will end a drought Friday night in the Class 1A Abingdon Sectional championship game.

Brown county is looking for its first sectional championship since 2007. That year, the Hornets advanced to the state tournament, but lost 43-35 to Farmington in the quarterfinals.

Quest, whose doors opened for the 2010 academic year, is looking for its first sectional championship in program history.

The Gators will have reached the sectional championship game the last three seasons, but fell short in the previous two.

Last season, Unity handed Quest, who was top-ranked in Class 1A, a 62-52 defeat in the Mount Sterling Sectional.

Two years ago, Quest lost to Liberty 71-62 at Bushnell. Liberty went on to finish third at the state tournament the following weekend.