THE SAINTS GO BARGING IN: THE RISE OF QUINCY HOME SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL
They share real estate with two of the most venerable and successful boys programs in the State of Illinois...in one of the most basketball crazed towns in the Midwest.
Yet chances are, you've probably never seen them play and know very little about the Quincy Saints.
It's time for that to change.....
Tim Hickman: "I mean Quincy High and QND are awesome. We go to their games all the time. But also too, we want people to know we are out here. We'd like some people to go to our games too. And you know, we are playing pretty well right now."
In point of fact, the Quincy Saints are the only Gem City boys team right now with a better than 500 record, not to mention a Top-35 national ranking from the Home School Association. So what better time to introduce ourselves to The Saints. Let's start with the basic mechanics, like how it all works. Tim Hickman's roster is comprised of 12 home-educated players ranging in age from Freshman to Seniors, who play a largely travel rich schedule of tournaments and single games. And as you may have imagined, Religion is a major component of this enterprise.
Tim Hickman: "Our program is completely centered around God. We do everything first and foremost...We tell our guys before games we've got two games. Our second goal is to win in. Our first goal is to honor God in everything we do and say. We just want to make sure when we are out here playing basketball that we know that these are the gifts that we know have come from God. We just to make sure that we are giving them back to him and doing everything to the best of our abilities."
But aside from the pre and post game prayers, you won't notice a lot cosmetically that differs from typical small class basketball; especially in terms of will to win. The Saints are a driven, tenacious lot that will get on the floor and fight for a loose basketball. They want to be very good even amid the unique challenges that home schooling would seem to present vis a vis team chemistry.
Ben Casula: "We practice three times a week. That's it. Other than that, most of us try to get in touch and get in the gym whenever we can. We have a lot of time since we are home-schooled. So, we are in at all times."
Tim Hickman: "The group of boys...they are real young. I've only got two seniors on the team. But they play well together. And they really respond well to coaching. And they work their butts off when they are in the gym. In practice and out of practice. And I just love coaching them."
Ben Casula: "We have a lot of good players. We practice a lot. We are in the gym all the time. We're good friends. We hang out all the time. We do things together as a team. That translates to wins."
And like most really good programs, The Saints have a clearly defined team basketball goal: making the National Home School Tournament in Springfield, Missouri in March...as well as garnering a little more respect along the way for their program. And in both cases, The Saints seem to be on the right path.
Jordan Hickman: "Nationals is really realistic. We feel like we can play with any home school team in the country. And we are just really striving to do really well in Nationals this year."
Tim Hickman: "The more and more that we go in this program and the more and more I get to be around it; the more and more I love it; the more and more I push it. I want people in Quincy to know more about it and kind of know we are here. During the summer, we are allowed to play against Public Schools. So we played a great 25 game summer schedule against a lot of public schools. I feel like we can compete with Public Schools out there, especially some of the smaller ones. And we don't want people to think "oh well your boys play home school basketball." We just want to be like everybody else say you get to play basketball. So gaining that traction, becoming nationally ranked helps us out in that aspect."