Prep Boys Basketball

Blue Devils realize milestone delay won't diminish their accomplishments

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 21, 2017 2:05 am

Garrett Gadeke began tracking the number of games Quincy High School boys basketball program had won during his sophomore season, hoping he and his teammates could be part of a milestone moment.

He figured the Blue Devils would be close to No. 2,000 by the end of this season.

"I did the math in my head," said Gadeke, a senior forward. "I've been thinking about it."

That's what made Monday's news so disappointing.

After last weekend's sweep of Galesburg and Geneva, the Blue Devils believed they were just one victory shy of becoming the fourth high school program in the nation to reach the 2,000-victory plateau.

Quincy coach Andy Douglas then delivered the news none of the players wanted to believe.

The number they were tracking was wrong.

In examining the victory totals for accuracy, QHS athletic director Scott Douglas learned the number displayed on the running tote board on the north wall of Blue Devil Gym was wrong. After careful adding, re-adding and then adding some more, the QHS administration discovered the correct number of victories was actually 1,995.

Any plans for a celebration have been put on hold.

"You just have to put it behind you and still go out and practice like you're playing for the 2,000th victory," Gadeke said. "It's normal-day business."

That masks the disappointment. Understandably, there was plenty of it.

The players were curious where, when and how the numbers got jumbled on the tote board. No one is sure.

A few minor addition errors were uncovered, along with a couple of typos, while poring through three record books that chronicle the history of the QHS program. After ironing out the mistakes and comparing the year-by-year results to those listed in other places, such as the Illinois High School Association website, the number of victories added up to 1,995 each and every time.

The QHS administration refused to ignore that.

"The total of 2,000 wins is a significant program milestone that very few programs have achieved in their history. Therefore, it is important historically to assure the number is correct," Scott Douglas said. "The Quincy basketball program, its fans and the community take great pride in the history of Quincy basketball. The accuracy of this milestone should be a reflection of that pride."

It doesn't mean the Blue Devils can't reach the milestone this season. The task is just a little more daunting.

Sitting at 20-4 heading into Friday night's home game against Moline -- this is the 51st 20-win season in program history -- Quincy can get No. 2,000 if it wins a sectional title.

"When Coach was talking to us, (junior guard Aaron Shoot) made the comment, ‘Hey, we're just going to have to make a postseason run," Gadeke said. "We're very capable of doing it. It's not like, ‘Oh, great, we're going into the postseason and we're going to lose.' We don't have that mentality.

"We play a very special type of basketball. Our defense is one of the best in the conference, if not the state. We have a very, very good chance of still getting to 2,000."

It just won't happen in Blue Devil Gym like they had hoped.

"You look up at the walls, you look up at the records, and this is such a great program," Gadeke said. "I've loved the four years I've spent in the program. I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

"We're part of a tradition that is so great."

Gadeke ripped off a bunch of the names who have made the program special, showing his astute appreciation for QHS history. In fact, he knew former QHS all-stater Jim Wisman roomed with Larry Bird the summer before their freshman year at Indiana.

Bird never played for the Hoosiers, transferring to Indiana State. He is Gadeke's favorite player.

"To say I was a part of a program which ties me to my favorite player, there's nothing better than that," Gadeke said. "The game of basketball is amazing and has done so much for me. It's going to help me get a college degree.

"The high school program I've gone through is the best in the country, and I'll put that up against anything."

Waiting on No. 2,000 doesn't change that at all.

"You use it a little bit as motivation in the postseason, but at the same time, we're closing out a year that has been a spectacular year," Gadeke said. "You can't take away what we've done this year."