Lincoln’s depth and defensive intensity continue to pay off in big moments. Overcoming a sluggish first half, the Abes used a huge run to take a commanding lead and held on for a 67-59 win at Wilson on Jan. 31 to move within a half-game of the Rams atop the Narrows 3A standings.
“It’s a team effort,” said Lincoln junior forward Cameron Collins, who finished with 10 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. “Everybody was chipping in, so it brought up our intensity. Everybody from the bench (and) our crowd just brought our effort up.”
The Abes trailed 35-26 just over a minute into the second half, but launched a 30-10 in a little over 10 minutes to take control. Josiah Barsh pulled the Abes even, at 39-39, with a driving layup with 2:45 to play in the third quarter, and Ahmaad Rorie gave them the lead moments later with a layup after Shon Peterson’s steal. Rorie, in just his fourth game back with the Abes after recently re-enrolling at Lincoln, finished with 13 points and was an offensive catalyst.
“He made guys better, and that’s what we’re counting on him to do,” said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton. “He was attacking, dishing and finding people.
The Abes kept the momentum going through the fourth quarter, taking a 55-45 lead on a layup by senior forward Justice Martion. Martion scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the final period to help Lincoln stay in charge.
“Their big guy hurt us,” said Wilson head coach Dave Alwert. “And hats off (to him). That kid played really well. It comes down to toughness. We’re very good, but we’re still very young. Every loss, we’ll learn more from.”
Wilson wouldn’t go quietly, as Alphonso Anderson converted a three-point play to cut it to 60-54 with two minutes to play, and Ivy Smith cut it to 62-57 with a three-pointer with 1:20 remaining. But Martion helped shut the door with an emphatic dunk with 40 seconds remaining to make it 65-57.
David Jenkins scored seven points in the first quarter to help Wilson gain a 19-8 lead, and it looked as if the Rams might pull away. Wilson got its largest lead with 2:40 remaining in the first half, as the Abes were called for goaltending on Smith’s layup to make it 29-16.
“We weren’t playing like we do, we weren’t playing hard,” Shelton said. “We had to attack the rim more offensively, stop settling for jumpers. Defensively we had to rebound and play harder.”
But Wilson was called for two technical fouls early in the third quarter – one on Alwert and another on Jamal Welch for hanging on the rim – that seemed to throw the Rams off rhythm. Wilson also struggled from the free-throw line, converting just 17 of 34 attempts.
“That doesn’t help you win a game,” Alwert stated.
Welch and Alphonso Anderson led Wilson with 15 points apiece, while Smith finished with 14 points for the Rams. Dionte Simon and Trevion Brown tallied 10 points apiece for Lincoln. With the loss, Wilson dropped to 9-1 in league play, while Lincoln improved to 8-1 in the Narrows 3A.
STADIUM CLINCHES NARROWS 4A
For the first time since 1991, the Stadium boys basketball team cut down the nets. With a 64-63 win at home over Yelm on Jan. 31, the Tigers clinched the outright title in the Narrows 4A, moving to 9-2 in league play with one game remaining in the season.
“For (the school), it’s been a long wait,” said Stadium head coach Doug Cocke’, noting that many in the packed house – including former players – stayed to cheer on the Tigers as they cut down the nets. “It was pretty big.”
Senior forward Lucious Brown led the way for Stadium once again, getting the game-clinching basket at the end and tallying a team-high 19 points. Bobby Moorehead added 18 points for the Tigers, and Malik Mayeux finished with 11 points. But the Tigers knew it would be a tough matchup with the Tornadoes, who at 5-5 are fighting for their playoff lives.
“Everyone is still alive,” said Cocke’ about the Narrows 4A standings. “We’re getting their best shot. When you’re number one you have a target on you, and you tend to get their best effort.”
The Tigers were set to host South Kitsap in their season finale on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. They will open the district playoffs when they host the ninth seed from the SPSL – which will be determined by the SPSL North/South crossover matchups on Feb. 11 – on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.