Originally Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2013, 8:13 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 14, 2013, 8:19 pm
Moline aims to spoil RI's night
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Photo: Paul Colletti|
Rock Island's C.J. Carr, right, drives past Moline's Tyler Biscontine during a Western Big 6 Conference game at Rock Island Fieldhouse last month. These two teams meet tonight at Wharton Field House.
Given a few days to fully digest the result, Rock Island senior basketball player Brian Richardson still could not quite grasp that Moline left Quincy with a victory last Friday.
"We couldn't win at Quincy," Richardson said. "How could they?"
Moline has an explanation for its 57-54 win at Blue Devil Gym.
"We've been spoilers," Moline senior guard Jed Wood said. "We hope that continues."
All the recent results add further storylines to Friday night's Western Big 6 Conference rivalry game between Rocky and Moline at Wharton Field House.
It's the contender against the spoiler.
The hunted against the hunter.
Rock Island. vs. Moline.
"Should be a great crowd and great atmosphere," Moline coach Jeff Schimmel said. "Hopefully, there will be a good game on the floor."
When these two teams met at Rock Island Fieldhouse last month, it was not. The Rocks (19-4, 6-2 Big 6) rolled to a 71-41 win, extending Moline's Big 6 losing streak at the time to four games.
Four weeks later, each team carries a 3-0 second-half league record into the game. However, the Maroons (17-10, 4-4 Big 6) may have more momentum than any other team in the Big 6 right now. Within the last month, they have won games in Galesburg and Quincy.
Before those losses, neither the Silver Streaks nor the Blue Devils had dropped a home conference game.
"They're playing with a lot of confidence," Rocky coach Thom Sigel said.
Rocky has some, too.
Since a 48-47 overtime loss at Quincy on Jan. 18, the Rocks have not lost a game. Included in that run is a 58-57 win over Galesburg last Friday when C.J. Carr hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
At 6-2 in the league, Rocky could possibly clinch a piece of the Big 6 title with a win and Quincy loss. Should that scenario reach reality, the Rocks would have their fourth consecutive conference championship.
Knowing that puts something on the line for each team Friday night. The Big 6 title certainly will be impacted.
"I'm sure Quincy will be cheering for us and Galesburg will be cheering for us," Schimmel said. "I'm just glad we have a little say in the conference."
Basic assumption puts Rocky as the favorites, even on the road. Clear-cut title favorites when the season started, the Rocks have played to that tag in recent weeks with wins over Alleman, Galesburg and United Township. Now they face a team they beat by 30 points in the first meeting.
"We can't think about the last time we played them," Richardson said. "We have to think ahead."
What lies ahead is a team that did what Rocky could not do in trips to Galesburg and Quincy. Even though the Maroons mathematically are eliminated from the league race, those huge road victories carry significance.
"The fact they haven't done it doesn't make us think we're any better than them," Wood said. "We know we can play with them."
The last two weeks prove Moline can hang with anyone on Friday nights.
"I hope they take notice," Wood said. "I hope everybody has taken notice. We have been playing well."
Actually, both have been playing well.
The best part of all? These two potentially could meet in the Class 4A United Township Regional semifinal on Feb. 26.
"There's going to be a lot of emotions," Richardson said.
All that defines a true rivalry game.
"That," Sigel said, "is the way it should be."
Metro boys' basketball writer Daniel Makarewicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @danmak57
Big 6 boys' standings
School W-L Conf.
Rock Island 19-4 6-2
Quincy 16-7 6-2
Galesburg 15-13 5-3
Moline 17-10 4-4
UTHS 5-19 2-6
Alleman 6-16 1-7
Friday night's games
Rock Island at Moline
Galesburg at United Township
Quincy at Alleman