Prep Boys Basketball

Hype for crosstown showdown begins at varying times for QHS, QND

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 15, 2017 2:00 am

In the midst of an historic celebration, Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas realized the focus needed to chase victory No. 2,001 was already there.

And the Blue Devils were only minutes removed from hanging "2,000" on the victory toteboard inside Blue Devil Gym.

"They go back in the locker room (last Saturday night) and you hear one of the guys say, ‘It's Rocky week,'" Douglas said. "So you know they're prepared for it."

Take note of what was said.

It's Rocky week, not Quincy Notre Dame week.

At least not until roughly 9:30 p.m. Friday night when the Blue Devils' Western Big Six Conference game at Rock Island will be over and they are headed home. Then the focus becomes the crosstown rivalry.

It can't happen a minute sooner.

"We've only got one game this week," QHS junior guard Jirehl Brock said. "That's Rock Island."

He kept a straight face after saying that as long as possible, but not even he could keep from admitting there is a little more at stake this weekend than staying in the WB6 title chase.

Saturday night is the renewal of the QHS-QND series with the teams scheduled to square off at 7:30 p.m. at the Pit. Neither team can fully avoid the hype and anticipation such a game generates.

The Raiders don't have to worry about that.

QND doesn't play Friday night, so the focus following Tuesday night's victory over Palmyra has been solely on the QHS game. In that sense, it has been QHS week most of the week around the Pit.

"It's soemthing that's always been in the back of our minds, always looking ahead to the next game," QND senior guard Reed Hyer said. "It's been there the past couple games, thinking about the preparation for the QHS game. The excitement is there."

That will be the challenge for the Blue Devils to match in such a short time frame.

"This is a weekend where we're going to have to generate our own energy," Douglas said. "Obviously there's going to be a lot of energy in the gym Saturday night, but it's still a road game for us. We're treating it like that. We're going to have to bring our energy."

The Raiders know exactly what the Blue Devils are going through.

A year ago, QND hit the road for a trip to Breese Mater Dei the night before heading over to Blue Devil Gym. The Raiders never reached Breese. An ice storm blanketed the greater St. Louis area and QND was forced to turn around and the game was postponed.

Because of the ice, travel was slow and the Raiders spent more than 12 hours on a bus.

They didn't use it as an excuse in the 68-50 loss, but not having to travel this year could be an advantage.

"I think it will help," QND senior guard Nick Schwartz said. "Last year was a wild night before the QHS game. Hopefully, this time we will get a good practice in, get something good to eat and get ready."

They just might tune in see how the Blue Devils fare as well.

That's no different than the Blue Devils scouting the Raiders like they did Tuesday night.

It's definitely Rocky week, but it's so much more than that. It's QND week. It's QHS week. It's Quincy week.

There's no way to avoid that.

"You can say it's just like any other game, but it's just a little bit different," Schwartz said. "We've been playing against them since we were kids. It's a crazy atmosphere. It's just a little bit different and everyone is excited for it."


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