The last time the Moline boys' basketball team lost to a team not among the state's ranked, it came against the Alleman Pioneers.|
That was 51 days ago. That was 17 games ago, through a course of 12 wins and five losses.
Yes, that winning thing has become quite fun in the Maroons' camp, winning their seventh of their last eight on Saturday night with a 61-35 win over Wheaton Warrenville South in the finale of the first Quad-Cities/Wheaton Shootout at Wharton Field House.
"It's a whole lot less stressful than losing, that's for sure," said Moline's first-year coach Jeff Schimmel. "As I've learned, it's never easy, so you appreciate each victory."
The latest one came against a struggling WWS team that is 5-15 and coached by former Alleman coach Bob Szorc. However, couple that with Friday night's exciting one-point Western Big 6 Conference victory at Galesburg and this truly was a special pair of games for the Maroons.
"We've had a good weekend," said Schimmel, "but now we've got to get ready for the team that beat us before. Alleman will have our full attention."
Since that 44-39 loss at Augustana's Carver Center, the only losses for the Maroons (15-9) have been to 4A's Quincy and Rock Island, 3A's Washington, 2A's Winnebago and Iowa's Bettendorf.
It has been a transformation of a team whose players have learned their roles well.
Tops among those is junior center Brandon Vice, who led the Maroons with seven rebounds vs. WWS and added nine points. He ranks at or near the top of WB6 players who have improved the most since the season's beginning.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence now," Schimmel said of Vice. "Everything is a lot easier when you are shooting the ball well. Drew Owens, Tyler Biscontine and Jed Wood all are shooting well, and Brandon has been big inside."
Wood led the Maroons in scoring with 14 points, buoyed by 4-of-8 3-point shooting. Owens only took three shots, all 3s, and hit them all for nine points.
Also with a nice game was senior reserve Derrick Stabler. He put together numbers of four assists, six rebounds, four points on 2-of-2 shooting and a steal.
"They are figuring out their roles as a team," said Schimmel. "Hopefully we can get Alleman and keep this thing going."
Moline had all of its starters out of the game by the two-minute mark of the third quarter. Even the reserves put up some nice numbers with those additional minutes. Tanner Logan had five rebounds, and Jared Requet and DeCarlos Flores each had four points. Devin Struble and Vashaun Newman both connected on fourth-quarter 3s.
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