The Quincy Jacks boys basketball team came one basket shy of reaching a 5-0 mark to start its season, defeating Chelan 80-68 on Thursday, Dec. 9, and then falling Dec. 11 to the visiting Lakeside Eagles 74-73.
Against the Eagles, Jacks tied it up at 36-36 late in the second quarter, thanks to a clutch three by Aidan Heikes, who by then was playing the Eagles with one bloody nostril plugged up. Besides Heikes and TreyVaughn Bierlink, though, some of the Quincy players had icy hands, which helped keep short-handed, but big-hearted Lakeside in the game.
“They played harder than us, (give) credit to them,” Quincy head coach Scott Bierlink said. “They were diving on the floor for loose balls, and they were physical.”
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Quincy led the Eagles 63-54. A couple of treys got Lakeside right back in it, and with 2:30 left in the quarter, Quincy’s lead had dissipated and the teams were tied 66-66. Another couple of baskets, including another three, put the Eagles up by five.
A dunk by Aidan Bews cut the lead to three and caused the crowd to explode. Half a minute later, a trey by Heikes tied the game at 71, inside a boisterous gym that people walking by would have never guessed was half-empty.
Lakeside retook the lead and the Heikes pulled another rabbit out of his hat, sinking a basket and drawing a foul. The foul shot refused to go in, and Lakeside had possession of the ball with a one-point lead and 12 ticks on the clock.
The Jacks fouled Lakeside’s Brayden Field, who clanked both shots and still managed to catch the rebound despite being surrounded by Quincy players. He went to the line again, and missed two more.
“The tale of the game was, we got four dudes on the block, they got one guy and their guy gets the rebound,” Scott Bierlink said. “There’s zero excuse for that. If we can’t get that rebound with four dudes on the line, we don’t deserve to win.”
The last-gasp shot by Heikes with four seconds to go sailed in and out of the basket, giving Lakeside a squeaker of a nonleague victory that was nonetheless celebrated by the Eagles with the same do-or-die enthusiasm with which they played the game against Quincy.
“I’ll take Heikes shooting that jumper all day long,” Scott Bierlink said after the game. “That’s a jumper that kid is gonna make eight out of 10 times.”
Heikes finished the game with 22 points. The younger Bierlink had 29 and eight rebounds, Bews had 10 points and seven rebounds and Collin Averill had seven points.
A muted crowd watched (and in some cases even covered their eyes) as the boys from Nine Mile Falls celebrated the victory against a Quincy Jack squad that was playing its third game in five days.
“I don’t want to say fatigue, but maybe there was a little bit of mental fatigue from the high of Thursday,” the elder Bierlink said, referring to the win over the Goats, two days prior.
“That was my fear all along,” he added.
The scene at the end of the Lakeside game was the polar opposite of the entire game against the Goats last Thursday.
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.
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 win over the Goats.
“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 had a jaw-dropping 24-point lead at halftime against a pretty proud team, and some of that pride showed, when the Goats shaved 14 points off that lead in the third quarter. Entering the fourth frame, Quincy led by 10, 54-44.
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.
From the looks of it, the Jacks will play more of those this year, including, maybe, a rematch against the Lakeside Eagles, given how the Caribou Trail League and the Northeast Athletic League have crossover matches.
“Maybe we will see them again,” Scott said. “I’d rather lose one now than lose one in March.”
Next up for the Jacks was a trip to Omak Tuesday. Results weren’t available prior to press time. Then, Cashmere pays the Jacks a visit Thursday and then the Jacks travel to Tonasket Saturday. Tipoff against the Bulldogs on Thursday is 7 p.m.