QUINCY -- No matter how harsh Moline boys' basketball coach Jeff Schimmel¹swords were, Tyler Biscontine had to bear them.|
With two minutes remaining and the Maroons clinging to a five-point leadover Western Big 6 Conference front-runner Quincy, Biscontine decided todrive the lane for what turned out to be a missed layup attempt.
With the clock as precious as the lead, it was the wrong decision by thesophomore guard.
"He thought it was there for a drive," Schimmel said. "Everyone on the benchdisagreed with him."
That led to a teaching moment for the first-year coach.
"I pulled him over after I got on him pretty hard," Schimmel said. "And Itold him, 'I'm a competitor just like you are. I get heated up, you getheated up. But you know I'm on your side.' That was a little confidencebooster for him."
Biscontine showed he could handle it.
The Blue Devils pulled within 52-51 when Zach Burry drilled a 3-pointer with39.7 seconds remaining in regulation, less than 10 seconds after Biscontinemade two free throws for a two-possession lead.The teams traded fruitless possessions before Biscontine was fouled with nineseconds remaining. He confidently made both free throws, giving Moline the54-51 victory.
"You gotta be (confident)," Biscontine said. "That¹s the only way. You can¹tgo up there scared. You have to go up there with the mindset you¹re going toswish those two free throws."
It doesn¹t matter if that¹s a sophomore or a senior at the line."Doesn¹t matter at all," Biscontine said.
Moline¹s victory, coupled with Rock Island¹s buzzer-beater againstGalesburg, means the WB6 title chase is far from over.After losing at Blue Devil Gym -- the second WB6 loss in as many weeks --
Quincy is no longer in control. The Blue Devils are tied with Rock Islandfor first place at 6-2, and they close the WB6 season with games at Alleman and Rocky the next two Fridays.
It sets up the possibility of a winner-take-all matchup at the RockyFieldhouse in two weeks, but the Blue Devils know the title chase shouldn¹tcome down to the final game.
"We can¹t dwell on it," Quincy senior guard Mason Fairley said. "We have toput it out of our mind and move on tomorrow."
They have to focus on a better start.
A week after getting outscored by nine points in the second quarter atGalesburg, Quincy (15-7) got pummeled in the first quarter by Moline. TheMaroons held the Blue Devils scoreless the final 3:55 of
the quarter and limited them to 2-of-10 shooting from the field in buildinga 16-5 lead.
"They came out and clocked us," Quincy coach Sean Taylor said.
It got worse. Derrick Stabler¹s 14-foot jumper from the left baseline gavethe Maroons a 28-12 lead with 2:27 left in the first half. The Blue Devilsscored the final five points to make it an 11-point deficit at halftime, butthe damage was done.
"We didn¹t guard very effectively, and they made shots," said Taylor, whoseteam was 6-of-22 from the field and 3-of-14 from 3-point range in the firsthalf. "It¹s disappointing because I thought we would guard."
Moline (17-10, 4-4) shot 54.2 percent from the field in the first half (13-of-24) and had 11 assists.
Stabler, who came in averaging 5.8 points pergame, had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five assists in the half.The senior forward finished with 17 points.
"He played probably the game of his life tonight," Biscontine said.
Biscontine had a coming-of-age moment, too.
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