OTTAWA, Ill. -- Quick, strong and a little bit long.
Those were the ingredients the Danville Vikings threw at Moline from the opening tip Tuesday night at Kingman Gym and the Maroons never got on track, falling to the Vikings 61-45 in the Ottawa Class 4A boys sectional semifinal.
The loss ends not only the Moline (21-9) season but also its eight-game winning streak.
Led by 6-foot, cat-quick junior guard Kendle Moore's 25 points the Vikings took control, scoring the first five points of the game and really never looked back.
Danville (22-8) led 11-4 after one quarter, as Moline struggled to get in a shooting rhythm the whole first half, making just 4-of-18 field goals, including just 1-of-10 in the first quarter.
By halftime the Maroons trailed 24-11, and when the Vikings made the first two hoops of the second half to stretch it to 29-11, it was obvious it would be a very long night.
“Our strength is getting the ball up the court in transition,” said Moore, who could not be stopped on drives to the basket. He not only had a quick first step, but a quicker second and third to go with some long arms. “We just try to advance the ball as quick as we can and break their press.
“We come out with as much intensity as we can.”
Caleb Griffin added 11 points and Elijah Davis nine as the Vikings seemed to not miss a beat despite playing without their second-leading scorer, Day’Len Davis-Williams, who was in a walking boot from an injury in the regional Friday night.
Moline got 13 points from sophomore Jeff McInnis and 12 from classmate Deonte Billups, but Moline shot quickly once it trailed, open or not, resulting in a 15-for-49 night from the field, less than 30 percent.
“They stretched that zone out,” said Moline coach Sean Taylor. “We thought we could maybe get it to the foul line. We missed some floaters and jumpers and missed some 3s (0-for-5 at half and 3-for-14 for the game).
“If we make two or three of those, then it’s a different game and then we don’t have to chase. We’re not great when we have to chase. I think we gave great effort, but we are better certainly with the lead or close to it.”
Taylor acknowledged the Vikings’ quickness may have had something to do with Moline’s shooting woes.
“And their length,” he added. “They are quick and (Griffin and Sean Houpt) are long. So they have quickness and length.
“I thought our quickness bothered them some; we just couldn’t make some baskets. If we could have been closer we could have contained (Moore) a little better, but when you have to extend, we don’t have a great answer for that.”
Nerves could have played a role in his team’s bad start, but Taylor was quick to praise the Vikings.
“You have to give Danville a little credit," he said. "They made us shoot a little bit quicker and maybe a step further out. Getting off to a quick start would have been a huge plus for us.”
Still Moline had a quite a season, considering it not only won the regional, snapped Quincy’s 28-game home-court winning streak while also helping throw the Western Big Six into a three-way tie for first on the regular season’s last night.
“Great kids,” Taylor said saluting a team that only played three seniors (with Nate Hurt being the only starter). “I was blessed to coach them. Even when we lost, you saw their effort. You saw their attitude. They’re disappointed. That shows how much they care.”