STERLING, Ill. — A quick five points out of halftime from senior Kate Chevalier let the Quincy High School girls basketball team tie Saturday’s Western Big Six Conference road game against Sterling at 23.
The next 13 points were scored by the Golden Warriors, however, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Blue Devils on the way to a 58-40 loss.
QHS coach Brad Dance picked up a technical in the 13-0 run after stepping out of the coaches box to encourage his girls to get back on defense, and that technical deflated the Blue Devils.
“When I got my technical I think the girls kind of lost their light,” Dance said. “I put a lot of this one on me tonight, and I apologized to the girls. They’ll bounce back.”
Before that 13-0 spurt, QHS (3-4, 2-3 WB6) had played a solid game against the Golden Warriors. Sterling jumped out to a 9-2 lead early, but a 10-2 run to end the first quarter allowed the Blue Devils to take a 12-11 lead. They stretched that lead to as many as six in the second quarter before a Sterling run at the end of the second quarter put QHS behind 23-18 at halftime.
“I thought our effort and our enthusiasm and energy was the best its been all season in the first six or eight minutes,” Dance said. “We came out and did everything we wanted to do defensively, we were doing what needed to be done. The second half we kind of quit doing those things.”
Part of the problem was turnovers, with the Blue Devils giving it up 23 times. Not all of those turnovers led to Sterling points, and the Golden Warriors had 13 turnovers of their own, but Dance said with the way his girls defend a quick turnover can disrupt a lot of momentum.
“We work so hard on the defensive end that a lot of times, you expend so much energy and get a steal or a rebound and then we turn the thing back over and we are back on defense again and we get caught out of position,” Dance said.
Another issue was fouls. The Golden Warriors went 20 for 23 from the free throw line, with Breelyn Borum finishing 9 for 11 from the charity stripe on her way to a game-high 27 points. Twin sister Brooklyn Borum added 24 points and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the line. QHS forwards Laci Novosel and Taylor Fohey picked up three fouls each in the first half, meaning much of the defense against the Borum sisters fell solely on Emily Wilson.
“Emily played pretty well and she was able to stay on the court for us,” Dance said. “The other two, I need Taylor and Laci to play a lot more minutes without fouls so they can be a bit more aggressive. They just have to be smarter with their fouls.”
When Fohey could stay on the court, she was a difference maker for the Blue Devils. The freshman finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, and after spelling Novosel early in the first quarter due to foul trouble Dance was happy with the energy Fohey brought.
“She seems like she’s getting more and more confidence. I tell her she is going to play more and more minutes and she’s doing a great job,” Dance said. “She made a couple freshman mistakes tonight, but that’s a learning experience for her. I’ll take that because she’s going to give us a lot of offense and she was one of the few that was constantly boxing out tonight. We were able to sustain a little bit of momentum because of her.”
Chevalier had 11 points to lead the Blue Devils, while Wilson was held to just seven points after reaching double figures in each of the Blue Devils’ first four WB6 games. QHS gets a break on Sunday before embarking on the second half of its four games in five days with a road matchup against Moline on Monday.
“We will probably come in and at least shoot a little bit tomorrow, probably not a whole lot else,” Dance said. “Just turn the page and get ready for Moline.”