QUINCY — Reid O’Brien understands a short memory is required when it comes to basketball.
It certainly was needed on Friday night.
Despite missing his first three 3-point attempts, the Quincy High School junior guard did not hesitate when given another opening.
O’Brien confidentially buried a trey from the right corner with 1 minute, 5 seconds left in regulation, cementing the Blue Devils’ 56-47 win over Miller Career Academy in the 50th-annual Quincy Thanksgiving Tournament at Blue Devil Gym.
The shot was O’Brien’s first converted field goal in a Quincy uniform.
“That was huge,” said O’Brien, a Quincy native who played his first two seasons at Troy Triad in suburban St. Louis. “The crowd got hyped; I was hyped. There’s no feeling like it.”
O’Brien’s triple extended Quincy’s lead to 51-45. It was a shot the Blue Devils (2-0) certainly wanted him to take.
“Reid’s got a phenomenal basketball mind, and he understands good shots and bad shots,” Quincy coach Andy Douglas said. “He made a huge, huge 3 for us when we really needed it.”
Before that swish, O’Brien’s shot was a struggle. He did not attempt a field goal in the Blue Devils’ season-opening win on Thursday night. In the first half on Friday, he missed 3-point attempts from the left and right corners.
With a wide-open look from the top of the key in the fourth, it hit nothing but air.
“I just rushed them,” O’Brien said. “I had good looks, but I just rushed them. I have never played in a gym this big, so it was probably nerves.”
How did he respond? O’Brien made other plays.
Late in the third quarter, he set up 3-pointers from freshmen guards Dominique Clay and Bradley Longcor with a cross-court pass and a feed from the wing, respectively. After his final 3-point miss, O’Brien ended Miller’s 6-0 run by setting up a Jeremiah Talton basket that got Quincy within 43-40 with 4:49 left.
O’Brien finished with five assists, three steals and three rebounds in 32 minutes.
“He’s a tough kid to take off the floor,” Douglas said. “He’s Mr. Consistency. He doesn’t need to score. He just wants to play and make plays for other people.”
The performance was a microcosm of Quincy’s night. When a play needed to be made, the Blue Devils found a way.
Longcor and Clay hit key third-quarter 3-pointers. Talton scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth as Quincy ended the game on a 12-2 run.
Freshman forward Keshaun Thomas added 11 points and 12 rebounds, including two key defensive boards late in the fourth quarter.
“I had a big role I needed to play (off the bench),” Thomas said. “I had to do my job.”
It was the second consecutive night Quincy received contributions from all four grade levels. In the opener, it was Talton, a senior, scoring 31 points and Longcor, a freshman, hitting three clutch fourth-quarter shots.
For an encore, it was O’Brien, a junior, grabbing the spotlight.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without him,” Douglas said. “While we don’t have a lot of veterans out there, Reid, even as a player who didn’t play here last year, brings that experience and brings that basketball knowledge that you need to compete against teams like this.”
His basketball IQ was on display. On this night, it was a short memory.
“You have to be ready to shoot the next one no matter what happened on the previous one,” O’Brien said. “Next shot.”