Schuck's Clipboard

Blue Devils need time to turn corner

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 3, 2018 7:35 am

Andy Douglas needed a moment to collect his thoughts. The Quincy High School boys basketball players needed to digest what had just happened as well.

A tip-in at the buzzer by Oswego junior guard Jack Kahoun saddled the Blue Devils with a 61-59 loss -- their fifth straight to open the season, the longest such streak in program history. The fifth-year QHS coach wanted to make sure he said the right things.

So before Douglas entered the locker room, he chatted briefly with his coaching staff in the hallway.

What he heard inside the locker room was better than anything he could say.

"Our leaders were talking to the group and everybody was listening. No heads were down," Douglas said. "I'm hearing guys tell each other they love them. That's the type of group we have. When you have that, you're going to turn the corner. It's just a matter of time."

Time is something this group needs.

Time to grow. Time to mature. Time to figure out how to play the game.

With only three players returning with varsity experience, along with a freshman and a sophomore among the top six in the rotation, Douglas knew there would be growing pains.

No one envisioned being 0-5 at this point, but they didn't envision being 5-0, either.

"All but a few moments in each of the first few games, we're right there," said Douglas, whose team has lost four games by six points or less. "We have to continue to grow. I think with our attitudes and our mentality now, I see that taking place. I like where our guys heads are. I like our leadership.

"We have to continue to work on two or three things offensively and two or three things defensively, and if we improve those things, we'll get over the hump."

The challenge is to stay positive.

The Blue Devils faced their toughest early-season schedule in years and have more hurdles to clear before Christmas.

"A lot of people shy away from it," Douglas said. "These guys took it as a challenge."

Had a few bounces gone their way, the social media criticism and conjecture wouldn't be there.

They are doing their best to ignore that, too.

When a question was posed on Twitter asking how long until Douglas is put on the hot seat, senior guard Jaeden Smith offered a response that means more than any victory in those first five games could have.

"He teaches more than just basketball and has taught me many things I can carry into my adulthood," Smith wrote.

Douglas is teaching the Blue Devils to persevere.

"We keep telling them, ‘Don't worry about wins and losses right now. Worry about the things we're trying to accomplish offensively, defensively and as a unit,'" Douglas said. "They are doing a pretty good job about it."

The Blue Devils just might be the best 0-5 team in the state.

"We told them that," Douglas said. "I'm not sure how much that means to them, but we believe it's true. Things are going to get better."