Belleville East coach Jeff Creek was unhappy after the Lancers’ 65-46 loss to Quincy on Thursday, and his mood hadn’t lightened moments later.
The Lancers fell behind 10-0 and 18-4 and never recovered as they were bounced to the consolation bracket of the 34th annual Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.
“We weren’t ready to play, and that’s my fault,” Creek said after East fell to 5-6. “We’ve had a long break and they just came out flat. (Quincy) didn’t.
“We can’t start off games like that. Quincy’s a very good team. They do a good job with their 1-2-2 (zone press), but we were just throwing the ball away. Unforced turnovers. That just means we were not mentally ready to play the basketball game.”
The Blue Devils (9-2) led 37-20 at halftime and increased the margin to 54-26 with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Quincy will play Lincoln in the quarterfinals at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
East, which hurt its cause with 21 turnovers, will face Hazelwood East (6-2) in the consolation quarterfinals at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the auxiliary gym.
Lancers senior Jordan Yates led all players with 21 points and five steals. Quincy senior Ben Amos had 15 points. Junior Jaeden Smith had 12 points and three 3-pointers and senior Aaron Shoot finished with 12 points.
Smith scored the Blue Devils’ first eight points, including two-3-pointers as the Lancers dug in to subdue the 6-foot-5 Amos, the lone post threat for Quincy.
“We were really focused on (Amos),” Creek said. “He’s got a good little fade when he turns his left shoulder. But when (Smith) knocked down a couple of deep 3s, that really made us expand our defense a little bit, and that caused some trouble.”
Quincy coach Andy Douglas could empathize with Creek.
“It’s always a concern when you’re playing at different times of the day,” he said. “You don’t have your stands packed or (the opponent’s) stands packed. It’s different. But I was really comfortable and happy with how our guys came out. Our seniors did a good job getting them going in warmups, and it carried over to the first quarter.”
While Creek said he took nothing positive from the game, he was glad the Lancers will receive another opportunity to get right back on the court.
“Just the way we passed the basketball and the way we played fundamentally, we’re not going to beat anybody if we play like that,” Creek said. “It’s frustrating. Our kids work hard in practice, but they’re not putting the product out on the floor.
“I’m glad we’re playing (Friday). We’ve had a full week of practice. I just want to play some games and hopefully get better as we face different challenges. If we’re not going to be mentally ready to play, we’ll take another loss. They’ve got to be ready to go, be ready to fight and actually show they care about the game of basketball.”
Quincy shot 60 percent from the field (28 of 47) and had 18 assists. The Blue Devils committed 14 turnovers but only one in the first half.
“Defensively, we were as sound as we can be,” Douglas said. “We were able to generate a couple of turnovers that led to some easy points.”