QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- There were plenty of wins and even a Western Big-6 title.
But for as much success the Quincy High basketball team had last season, Sean Taylor's squad failed in their attempts to add to their postseason trophy case.
If there was anything the Blue Devils didn't lack during the summer or the first few practices of this season, it's motivation.
However, they have the unenviable task of trying to replace one of the area's top pivots - DeAngelo Dean.
The All-Conference performer, and double figure scorer in all 27 games last season, Taylor knows it won't be easy to account for Dean's absence.
"DeAngelo did so many things - rebounding, scoring, and running the court that I'm not sure one guy can do," Taylor said.
"The cliche is, 'Everybody's going to have do a little bit more,' but I think that's true. We have some really good pieces."
Senior guard Martin Kvitle says the blood, sweat, and tears witnessed during the summer will pay off.
"You can tell we've all put a lot of work in (during) the offseason. Not just the guards but the big guys," Kvitle told WGEM Sports.
"Jason (Salrin) has got a lot stronger and a lot more confident with his 15-footer. Barnell (Thomas), and Connor (Mellon) transferring over from (Quincy) Notre Dame. I think we're going to surprise some people."
Despite the graduation hits of Dean and Mike Davis, Quincy High boasts a back court practically unmatched in the state of Illinois. Kvitle and Mason Fairley lead the charge while Cole Abbey and others provide a nightly spark.
Kvitle anticipates a more up-tempo approach this winter and he's confident their veteran leadership is the team's biggest asset.
"We have a lot of good guards that can get to the rim," Kvitle explained.
"We could have gone up and down last year, but having DeAngelo we really wanted to get him shot attempts every single time down the floor. This year we're more of a guard oriented team."
According to Taylor, "(Martin and Mason) need to play really well. I don't want to put any pressure on them but they need to be really good for us this year. Cole Abbey has had spurts where he's looked really, really good. I think Zach Burry and Alec Shoot coming off the great golf season, they do some really good things."
Quincy High is already three practices deep when it comes to preparing for it's annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament, and the competition has stepped up this season with Carbondale, Urbana, and Algonquin Jacobs set to join the Blue Devils on Turkey Day weekend.
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