QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- When the going is good the confidence rises - the two seem to go hand-in-hand.
For the Quincy High basketball team, with each win the morale keeps getting better and better.
In the middle of that positive self-reliance is senior forward Barnell Thomas who's helped lift the Blue Devils to a three-game winning streak which includes Saturday's 20-point win over Monmouth/Roseville - formerly the second ranked team in Class 2A.
Thomas says his growth has been a work in progress and a roller coaster of sorts but his steady play, both inside and out, has given Quincy High a significant spark.
"I felt like I was in a slump at the beginning of the year and I felt like I needed to start helping my team (because) they deserve better," Thomas admitted.
"(I needed to) make shots and get rebounds."
Head coach Sean Taylor says Thomas deserves plenty of credit for the Blue Devils' good fortunes.
"He's playing really hard (and) you can't have a nicer kid than Barnell. He's starting to believe in himself and I think you see that on offense, defense, and rebounding the basketball," Taylor said.
"I think his confidence is at an all-time high."
Thomas is one of several players who are playing their best as the regular season hits the home stretch.
Taylor thinks it's due to their challenging schedule, most notably the Devils trip to Collinsville over the holidays, followed by games with Alton and York.
"Our schedule doesn't do them any favors in terms of one loss, but it does do you favors in terms of knowing what you have to do to compete at a high level," Taylor explained.
"I think they're seeing what they have to do and they're starting to believe in what they can do, believe in themselves, and believe in one another."
Thomas added: "Being able to compete against those good teams out there prepares us for the teams in our conference."
Quincy High (8-8) looks to climb over the .500 mark when they visit Alleman on Friday before returning home to face Hinsdale South on Saturday.
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