Quinn raises the scoring bar for Tuscola High School boys basketball
By Lenny Sementi
Jalen Quinn put his name at the apex of Tuscola High School basketball all time scoring list this past Tuesday, December 7 and it may never leave the top spot ever. Quinn seemed to be on a mission to end the suspense and put this past him needing 18 points entering a showdown with Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond. The senior dropped 14 points on the Knights in the first frame alone and moved in front of Nick Bates with a euro-step runner down the lane with less than two minutes gone in the second stanza helping coach Justin Bozarth’s team to 50-point blowout victory 85-38.
When Quinn was asked about being able to finally accomplish the feat after missing games last season his response was one of humility and relief. “Yeah it feels amazing! It’s something that has always been talked about throughout my career and now being able to be the leader is awesome. Can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough for helping me get there,” stated the Loyola commit. “I think it helps getting past it and not having it in the back of my mind and just being able to focus on getting better with the team for sure.”
From that point forward each time he tickles the bottom of the net a new plateau will be set until he sheds the black and gold for the Maroon and Gold of Loyola. By that time the mark will be so high it may never be broken again. It now sits at 1,607 points and counting. He was shortened by a double-digit regular season games last year and no postseason opportunities due to a shortened COVID season or he would have most likely done this last season and entered the rarified air of the IHSA’s all time leading scorers.
He scored the first two of the game then gave way to Easton Cunningham who bookended threes around a bucket down low by Haven Hatfield as the Warriors ran out to a 9-3 lead early. Quinn drained two from behind the arc as well en-route to scoring 12 of the last 14 of the first quarter handing Bozarth a 23-9 lead by the first buzzer. He hit two field goals sandwiched around a basket by Preston Brown early in the second to set the record before yielding the floor to his brother Jordan and Josiah Hortin.
“To be on the floor when Jalen broke the record was amazing,” stated Brown. “He really is a very special player and I’m proud of him and happy I’ve gotten to play with him my whole life. As a team we can’t wait to see what he can do at the next level.”
Following a deep ball by Hortin the younger Quinn, who had been out due to injury, went right to work. The sophomore scored ten of the next 12 stepping outside the arc twice as the Warriors broke the Knights increasing their lead to 43-9 by the midpoint of the period and 50-20 by the break. James Parsley opened the second half with a long ball as Tuscola connected on 84 percent of their field goals in the final two stanzas and for the fourth time this year the Warriors invoked the running clock in the final eight minutes of action heading to the fourth up 75-31.
Tuscola hit an astounding 66 percent of their shots from the floor in the contest and 63 percent from three-point land, hitting 14 of 22 from behind the line. They won every aspect of the stat sheet grabbing nine more rebounds than their visitors, dished out 26 assists while turning it over just eight times. Add to that 14 steals in the first half alone, 23 total and it was a clean sweep.
The elder Quinn was near perfect, sinking 11 of 13 shots on his way to 27 points. He dished out seven assists finding both Parsley and Cunningham on the arc. The two guards combined for 21 points with ten and nine respectively. Jordan Quinn was another resident of the double-digit plateau scoring nine on 14 from the field, including a two for two effort from three.
“This was a special night for Jalen as it was a defining moment in his career to etch his name as our all-time leading scorer,” the coach said. “He’s had the opportunity to play with some tremendous teammates and on some high-level teams that have helped put him into position to score the basketball. His work ethic has allowed him to achieve the success. I would argue that he’s devoted more time and energy than any in our school’s history in making himself the best version of a basketball player.”