Powered by a thundering crowd of fans and a desire to show that they are a team to be reckoned with in the Caribou Trail League, the Quincy Jacks thumped the Chelan Goats in the first big game of their league calendar in the 2021-22 season.
After a road thumping of Cascade on Dec. 7, the Jacks prepared to receive the visit of the Chelan Goats on Thursday, widely considered to be among the best teams in the state.
The Jacks figured to have their hands full with the visitors from the City by the Lake. Instead, it was Chelan who found itself facing the business end of a relentless attack by the Jacks and a scrapbook-worthy night by Quincy's TreyVaughn Bierlink, who scored a career-high 40 points in Quincy's 80-68 win over the Goats at home.
"That's a big win for us, Chelan is a good team and they got us pretty good last time," said Bierlink's dad, Quincy head coach Scott Bierlink. "The kids are excited but they know they got work to do."
The Jacks improved to 4-0 on the season. The Goats dropped to 1-3. Next up for the Jacks is a nonleague matchup against Lakeside Saturday Nov. 11 at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Asked if this victory over the vaunted Goats signifies a signature win for the basketball program at QHS, Bierlink said that yes, to some degree.
"It's been a long time since we have played a game that meant something," he said, noting that adding the last three games of the short COVID-19 season, the team is undefeated in its last seven games.
Now that Quincy rose to the occasion against the Goats, the upcoming rivals of the Jacks are likely to start taking notice of the Quincy squad and its strong start, Bierlink said, "Every game from here on out, we are going to be taking teams' best shots, and we are going to have to be ready for it."
The season began with a game against Ephrata on Nov. 30, taking that game by a score of 67-43.
The Jacks had several chances to put the game away, but the pesky Tigers kept hanging on, playing tough defense in the first half.
“Seems like every time to get a chance to get up 10, 12 points, they’d score a bucket,” Quincy head coach Scott Bierlink said. “We could not get over the hump until the second half.”
Quincy finally put the Tigers away in the second half, jumping to a considerable lead and never looking back.
One of the keys to the game was the defensive rebounding, which did not allow Ephrata to get second- or third-chance shots.
“It helps to have Big Fella, Mr. (Aidan) Bews down low,” Bierlink quipped about his 6’6” sophomore center. “He can fix a lot of mistakes but we have been really focusing on the rebounding, both defensively and offensively. Holding them to one shot is a big part to what we are trying to do.
Bierlink’s son TreyVaughn led the team with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Bews put up 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Aidan Heikes had 12 points and four steals, Jalen Spence had eight points and six steals, while Saul Alvarez had nine points, four rebounds and four assists.
Four days later, the team traveled to Mattawa, and defeated the hosting Wahluke Warriors, 73-54.
“We didn’t play great, we still got some things we got to clean up, but I’m proud of the kids, they got the win.”
Quincy led by as many as 28 at one point,” Bierlink said.
The team did not take Wahluke lightly, but they didn’t play its crispest game, Bierlink said, with more than a dozen turnovers.
“We had stretches where we played really well, offensively and defensively but we just had some mental lapses.”
Against the Warriors, TreyVaughn had 25 points and nine rebounds, Heikes had 21 points and four steals, Bews had 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks and Spence had 12 points and seven rebounds.
The 2-0 start is a promising state of affairs for a senior-laden that struggled mightily when these boys were sophomore and freshmen, gathering one win in a two-season span.
“They’ve taken it in the shorts the last couple of years,” the elder Bierlink said. “We went 0-20 when they were freshmen, 1-19 as sophomores and then 5-7 last year. They’ve had to put up a lot of time and effort into things and hopefully the younger kids are starting to pick up on it. They have been in the gym, they have been in the weight room, they live and breathe basketball. They got beat down and now they have matured, grown a little bit and they think that it’s their time.”
Before anyone starts booking rooms at a hotel in Yakima for state, Bierlink cautioned, “We are not there yet, we got a lot of work to do, but this certainly was a good start. “