Stadium is taking some big steps in pursuing its first league title since 1991. Led by senior forward Lucious Brown – who scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half – the Tigers overwhelmed Bellarmine Prep in the fourth quarter to claim a 53-46 win over the Lions on Jan. 17 to improve to 7-0 in the Narrows 4A. The Tigers also claimed a sweep of the Lions after winning at Bellarmine Prep on Dec. 13.
“It’s a huge step,” said Stadium head coach Doug Cocke’. “It feels good. It’s been a long time, and to beat Bellarmine twice is unbelievable. They’ve been dominating Stadium…I knew that if we could just outlast them and work a little harder in the end, then we could beat them.”
Trailing 39-34 heading into the fourth, the Tigers held the Lions scoreless for over five minutes as they went on a 12-0 run to take control. Brown regained a 40-39 lead with two free throws with 6:33 to go, moments after he dazzled the Lions’ defense with two behind-the-back crossovers and nearly converted a jumper before being fouled. The Tigers continued drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, converting 15 of 18 attempts to help secure the win.
“We kind of came out really nonchalant in the first half,” Brown said. “We felt like they were just going to bow down because we beat them the first time. Coming into the fourth quarter I told them ‘We have to step it up. We have to play harder, we have to go harder because they’re not going to back down from us. They want to beat us as much as we want to beat them.’”
Bellarmine Prep jumped out to a 16-7 lead early in the second quarter on a three-pointer by Malachi Flynn, who led the Lions with 15 points. But Stadium senior guard Mark Galanesi came off the bench to hit three three-pointers in the period to help pull the Tigers even.
Brown kept the Tigers close in the third quarter with six points, but Flynn fed Will Wolf for an open layup with a second left in the period to give Bellarmine Prep a 39-34 lead. The Tigers’ defense then stood firm, flustering the Lions into forced shots and turnovers. And the 6-foot-6 Brown took command of the offense, showing masterful ball control in driving in the lane and drawing contact. He converted nine of his 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a unique player,” said Cocke’ of Brown. “It’s like having a second coach on the floor. He reads the floor, he reads the situations…He’s got great instincts. It’s not just he knows what to run, but he can handle the ball. He goes north to south, and he’s hard to slow down once he gets going.”
Moorehead and Malik Mayeax finished with 10 points apiece for Stadium, while Rex Bodoia had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Bellarmine Prep. The Lions dropped to 2-5 in the Narrows 4A, tied for fifth place with Olympia.
ABES HAND JACKSON ITS FIRST LOSS
Even against the toughest of opponents, Lincoln’s defense found a way. The Abes rallied late behind freshman point guard Londrell Hamilton and held off Jackson for a 62-55 win at the King Holiday Hoopfest on Jan. 20 at Bellevue College. Lincoln also handed the Timberwolves – who came in ranked No. 1 in the state in 4A – their first loss of the season.
“So far this is the best team I’ve ever had, in terms of defensive scoring,” said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton. “We looked at stats. They’re averaging 70 (points a game) and we’re averaging 45 (points) on us. So something has got to give. It looked like it was more in our favor. So our defense really carried us down the stretch.”
The Abes trailed 41-37 heading into the final quarter, but Hamilton – who finished with a team-high 12 points – drilled a three-pointer that leveled the score at 49-49 with 3:41 remaining. Hamilton scored six points in the final two minutes, and his layup with 1:55 remaining gave the Abes the lead for good, at 56-55.
“He’s a gamer,” Shelton said. “As a freshman, we feel total confidence with the ball in his hands at the end of the game, because he usually makes the right decision.”
Justice Martion came up with a monster block of the Timberwolves’ Jason Todd – who finished with a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds – with a minute remaining and the Abes clinging to a 58-55 lead. Martion – who finished with nine points and five rebounds – corralled a steal in the final seconds to emphasize the defensive effort.
“We just stuck together,” Hamilton said. “Our team is good. We have good chemistry. When we play together, nobody can beat us.”
Lincoln shot out to a 20-10 lead in the first quarter, as Trevion Brown came off the bench to score six points to lead the way. But Todd scored 10 points in the second quarter, and his tip-in with five seconds until halftime tied it 27-27. Jackson kept the momentum throughout the third quarter, getting their largest lead of the game when Dan Kingma nailed a three-pointer to make it 40-32 with 1:36 left in the period. Lincoln charged back to tie it 42-42 on a three-pointer by Dionte Simon with 6:07 left in the game, setting up a frenetic finish that featured seven lead changes.
Brown finished with 10 points for the Abes and Cameron Collins added nine points. Kingma finished with 15 points for Jackson, and Brian Zehr scored all 12 of his points in the second half for the Timberwolves. The win put the Abes at 13-1 overall on the season, as they sit in second in the Narrows 3A with a 5-1 mark.