Lincoln turns up defense to turn back Calaveras

Zebras rally for 55-44 win
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Boys Basketball Preseason Standings

Team         Record                SOS

Lincoln      (0-0, 12-6)           2.2

Placer         (0-0, 10-8)           4.0

Ponderosa (0-0, 8-8)             11.3

Oakmont   (0-0, 7-9)             -1.0

Nev. Union (0-0, 7-11)         7.5

Rio Linda (0-0, 2-11)           6.5

SOS: Strength of Schedule



The Lincoln High boys basketball team is close to playing as well as head coach Robert Ash would like them to be, as the second season draws near.

Without a clear cut favorite going into Foothill Valley League competition, Ash has been looking for his team to win when the going gets tough. If shots aren’t falling, go to the rim; if that isn’t working, tighten the defense.

In Friday’s game, Calaveras came into the contest with a record nearly matching the Fighting Zebras’ 11-4 record. The visiting no-mascot club jumped out to a 20-12 lead behind John Milsaps three 3-pointers.

Although the shooting of Lincoln’s Jake Overbay and Jack Lanigan from beyond the arc helped keep the Zebras in the game, the hometown boys just weren’t getting the baskets.

“I think we dug in, finally, defensively,” Ash said. We (pulled) together a lot of stops. I mean, the first quarter was bad, but the other three quarters were pretty good.

Very good, in fact, Lincoln held Calaveras to seven, eight and nine points over the next three periods. In the meantime, Lincoln added 41 of its own for a 55-44 victory.

Overbay led the Zebras with 19 points, hitting three more from downtown. Point guard Angelo Nicandro kept driving into the face of Calaveras’ twin towers and added 11 points.

Mason Brooke had two 3s in the final frame to help Lincoln pull away.

Although Grady Manley (6-feet-3-inches and Jacob Avila (6-2) give the Zebras some muscle under the boards, height is not Lincoln’s greatest asset. So now when baskets are coming hard, the boys in blue turn up the defense.

“We weren’t creating turnovers, no ball pressure; we weren’t flying out to our rotations, those kinds of things,” said Ash about the first quarter. “I think we’re good now. I think we’re doing a good job of the guys coming off the bench and playing hard. I think the guys are doing a better job when their number is called.”

None too soon, Lincoln (12-4) was scheduled to host Del Oro Wednesday and Bret Harte Thursday, as their preseason draws to a close.

The club will open FVL play at Oakmont Tuesday and return to the home court to face Ponderosa Jan. 10.