Lincoln boys fall to Rio Americano to end season
With a few minutes left in the game, it seemed that the Lincoln boys basketball team was going to pull out another win in the final minutes; something they had done all season long.
But as the clock wound down, it was visiting Rio Americano that advanced in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Playoffs with a 66-60 win last week.
After suffering two-straight losses to end their regular-season schedule, including the Pioneer Valley League title clincher to Colfax, the No.5 seeded Fighting Zebras looked to rebound against No.12 Rio Americano.
Three Zebras scored double-digit points in their final game of the season. Alexis Gonzales and Marcus Salgado each scored 16 to lead the team. Adam Felt scored 12.
With the home crowd roaring at the start of the game, Lincoln absorbed the intensity to take a 13-7 lead at the end of the first period. Gonzales and Jackson Sterling each scored three points apiece, with Felt, Salgado and Austin Mallory contributing field goals to cap a 5-for-11 opening period.
The tempo of the game picked up in the second quarter as the Raiders improved their 30-percent shooting in the first period to more than 50 percent in the second.
Rio Americano only increased their lead in the second half. The Sacramento club jumped out to as much as a 12-point advantage at the start of the final period.
Lincoln answered with four-consecutive scoring possessions, the final came on Felt’s field goal after getting an assist from John Reyes.
Lincoln cut the deficit to four points with less than two minutes to play. The biggest threat to Lincoln’s comeback was not Rio Americano, but rather the clock.
With the Zebras needing to foul the Raiders to regain possession, Rio Americano converted on a 7-for-8 performance to ice the game.
After the game, Lincoln head coach Robert Ash reflected on a year that saw a 15-game win streak and a near PVL title.
“In my opinion these are the best kids in the section. From GPA, citizenship, just everything about them,” said Ash. “They’re legends, just the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around.”
RIO AMERICANO 66, LINCOLN 60
Raiders 7 20 21 18 – 66
Zebras 13 13 15 19 - 60
Rio Americano 24-52, 11-19, 66, 3Pt 6-16. Lincoln 22-52, 11-13, 60, 3Pt 3-17
Turnovers – RA 10, L 16