Herald-Whig

Local connections give Quincy Shootout feel of being at home

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 22, 2020 1:30 am

All roads lead home or at least back to Blue Devil Gym.

Jeremy Osborne is going down that path for a third time. Lee Bennett is getting as close to his roots as his schedule allows. Bret and Michelle Kasubke are heading back to where it all began. David Robinson and Thom Sigel have been here a time or two, as has Mike Taylor and quite a few others in the field for this weekend's third annual Quincy Shootout.

And the tie that binds them all is basketball.

Osborne is the head coach at Father Tolton in Columbia, Mo., but he got his start as the point guard at Quincy High School. A 2005 Quincy graduate who played football and basketball, Osborne led the Blue Devils to a 19-9 record during his junior season when they won a Class AA regional championship. He averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as a senior when the Blue Devils went 21-7 and won a Class AA regional championship with an overtime victory against Jacksonville.

Bennett is bringing Centralia to the shootout for the first time, but he's coached in Blue Devil Gym and the area before. Bennett is a Pittsfield graduate who played for his father, Hall of Fame coach Dave Bennett, and worked his way up the coaching ladder with stops along the way as small schools such as West Pike. He ended up at Alton, losing to the Blue Devils in the 2006 Class AA regional championship game on Jared Summers' buzzer beater at Blue Devil Gym.

Bennett has been coaching at Centralia since 2007, compiling a 272-93 record in 12 seasons while leading the Orphans to eight regional championships, two sectional championships and second place at the Class 3A state tournament in 2011. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014 and currently has more than 600 career victories.

The Kasubkes are following their son, Luke, and his St. Louis Chaminade team to the shootout. The Red Devils are ranked No. 1 in Missouri Class 5 with Luke Kasubke, who has signed a national letter of intent with Kansas State, averaging 15.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Kasubke's parents both played basketball at Quincy University in the late 1980s.

The other three are familiar with Blue Devil Gym either as players and coaches.

Robinson is in his second season as the head coach at Davenport (Iowa) West, but the 1991 graduate of Rock Island played in Blue Devil Gym three times in his high school career under legendary coach Duncan Reid. The Rocks won all three of those matchups.

Sigel is currently the head coach at Rock Island and the dean of Western Big Six Conference coaches. He will be making his 18th straight appearance at Blue Devil Gym. His connection to Quincy runs even deeper considering his brother played at Quincy University.

And Taylor is the older brother of former QHS coach Sean Taylor, who spent 11 seasons coaching the Blue Devils. Mike Taylor's Marian Catholic team has become a shootout staple and a program enjoying a ton of success. Marian Catholic has won 23 or more games in five of the past seven seasons with a third-place state finish in Class 3A in 2018.

There are even those who will be calling Quincy home in the future.

Rock Island forward Solomon Gustafson has signed a national letter of intent with Quincy University and will get two chances this weekend to play in front of a Quincy crowd he hopes to see at Pepsi Arena in the future.

All of the connections allow what has developed into a national event to maintain a local feel and give the diehard Quincy basketball fans what they want -- great basketball, great storylines and a great atmosphere where everyone feels right at home.