After the first half of play, it seemed as if Lincoln and North Thurston were in for a sloppy, low-scoring affair. But the second half was a different story, as the Lady Abes’ offense came alive to take a big third-quarter lead and hang on for a 53-46 win over the Rams at home on Dec. 14.
“As a whole, I feel like we did a great job of fighting it out in the end,” said Lincoln head coach Cal-Jean Lloyd. “We did a great job holding on to it, and we’ll take an ugly ‘W’ over a pretty loss.”
Leading just 15-13 at the half, senior guard Precious Hunkin nailed a three-pointer to give the Abes a 24-15 lead with just two minutes gone in the third quarter. The Rams closed to within 29-24 late in the third, but freshman post Tamia Braggs responded with a basket inside to ignite a 13-0 run for Lincoln that lasted until early in the fourth quarter.
"We went to the locker room at halftime, and coach gave us a speech that we needed to pick the intensity up,” said Hunkin, who had a team-high 15 points on the night. “We came out in the third quarter, picked up our defense and got the offense in place.”
Hunkin capped the run with four early points in the fourth quarter as the Abes took a comfortable 42-24 lead.
“It was exactly what we needed,” said Lloyd of the run. “It always starts on the defensive end…when we put in a serious effort on the defensive end we can get those points in bunches like that.”
But North Thurston began creeping their way back into the contest at the foul line – they got 25 points from free throws on the night – as the game featured 50 fouls, 28 of which were called on the Abes. Alisa Feliciano pulled the Rams within 51-41 with two free throws with just over a minute remaining, and later added two more to make it 52-46 with 15 seconds left, but North Thurston ran out of time to complete the comeback.
Braggs helped dominate the interior for the Abes all game long, totaling 13 points and nine rebounds while junior post Breneya Johnson had 12 points and nine rebounds for Lincoln.
“We really have the potential to do some great things down in the post,” Lloyd said. “As they get stronger and bring themselves along physically…the sky’s the limit in the post.”
Kajana Fernandus led North Thurston with 12 points, while Feliciano added 11. Lincoln moved to 2-2 overall on the season, picking up their first league win to move to 1-1 in the Narrows 3A. The Lady Abes next host Timberline on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.