Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Lincoln’s strong defense too much for Columbia River

Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton has been through it all for the black and gold, both as a coach and as a player. League, district and state titles are nothing new to him. So when his Abes took the court for a shot to return to the state tournament, the same tried and true formula was put in place – good defense equals a Lincoln win.

Tre’Shaun Fletcher poured in 14 points and Ahmaad Rorie added 12 points as the Abes cruised to a 55-35 win over Columbia River on Feb. 23 at Mount Tahoma in the 3A state regional. With it they earned a trip to the Tacoma Dome, where they will face Mountlake Terrace on Feb. 28 at 7:15 p.m.

“We finally came out of our offensive funk and played some really good defense tonight,” Shelton said. “We’ll need to ramp up the defense against a really good Mountlake Terrace team on Thursday night.”

Since being relegated to the bench at midseason, Ar’mond Davis has been looking to find his shooting touch from long range, taking a thousand shots a day before and after practice. Against the Chieftains, Davis took a giant step forward, going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Davis said, “and I hope that this is just the beginning of a long roll all the way through state.”

Struggling to find their mark early, the Abes managed only nine first quarter points but held Columbia River to a mere four. Lincoln would take control, though, with a 17-point second quarter while the Chieftains could muster just four points again as Shelton was able to empty his bench earlier than usual.

“It’s been a real roller coaster ride offensively the last half of the season for us, but we’ve been seeing some signs lately of coming out of our slump,” Shelton said.

With his team beginning to find their stride at the right time of the year, Shelton is hoping that Davis can keep improving and that Rorie and Fletcher can keep up their torrid scoring pace, as both average more than 20 points per game.

“I don’t know where we would be without them,” Shelton said. “We’ll have to maintain our high level of play this weekend at the Dome.”

By Steve Mullen