After falling to Foss at home earlier in the season, Lincoln knew they had to come out inspired in the rematch. The Abes played like it from the start, getting out to a double digit first-quarter lead and holding off several comeback attempts to get a key 64-55 win over the Falcons on Jan. 27.
"We needed this game, it was an absolute must-win if we are going to win league," said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton, commending the play of Isaac Barsh and Tre'Shaun Lexing. "They don't want to go out 0-2 – especially Isaac in his senior year – against Foss. This is our biggest rival, and they just had the will to win, and they just carried us that fourth quarter."
Lexing, who finished with a team-high 20 points, got the Abes started with two quick baskets, and his turnaround jumper with two seconds left in the first quarter put Lincoln up 23-13.
"I feel like we were ready to play this game," said Barsh, who added 19 points for the Abes. "Last game (against Foss), we weren't really focused that much, but today we just came to the gym and everybody was focused and ready to play."
Ar'Mond Davis hit a three to put the Abes up 26-13 early in the second, but the Falcons fought back with six free throws in two minutes from Dezmyn Trent – who finished with a game-high 22 points – to cut the deficit to 30-21. Trent followed later with two baskets inside, but Barsh's put-back with one second left in the half put the Abes up 34-27.
Davis – who finished with 14 points – got Lincoln off to a quick start with two more threes early in the third, building the lead back to 41-31.
"For a sophomore his skill level is very, very high," Shelton said of Davis. "He can shoot the lights out, he can do a lot of other things and he's actually become a good defensive player now."
Foss charged back again thanks to a basket inside by Dontiea Hankins, a steal and layup from Marcus Chambers and a three-pointer by Jerricho Ballard that made it 44-43 with just over a minute to play in the third. Ballard tied it 46-46 with another three early in the fourth, but Barsh regained the lead with a steal and layup, and Lexing added two baskets to give the Abes a five-point cushion with three minutes left. Lexing's coast-to-coast layup and another steal and layup by Barsh sealed it for Lincoln with a minute remaining, as the Abes moved to 5-1 in league play.
"They are a very, very good team. There's a reason you see us, Wilson and Foss all in the top ten in state," Shelton said. "It's unbelievable how good Tacoma basketball is. You knew it was going to be a war…but we toughed it out. I can't say enough about Isaac Barsh and Tre Lexing just making big plays."
The Abes fell 52-51 to Wilson on Jan. 30 to fall two games behind the Rams in league play. The Abes finish the season by travelling to Capital on Feb. 3 before going to Wilson for the rematch on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.