Lincoln keeps it close, but can’t overtake River Valley down the stretch

Zebras play Rio American at 2 p.m. Saturday
By: Jeremy McDonald/News Messenger Correspondent
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The Lincoln High girls basketball team entered their semifinal matchup of the 22nd annual Lincoln Invitational tournament against River Valley Friday, only to have poor free-throw shooting end their chances of reaching the championship game.

The Fighting Zebras troubles at the charity stripe allowed the Falcons to grab the win 46-39.

Lincoln opened a 9-4 lead in the first quarter. But River Valley, on a seven-game winning streak, rallied to cut the Zebra’s lead to 11-10 with 2:35 left in the frame. The Falcons’ Shaina Rasul utilized free throws to give her club a 14-13 lead going into the second quarter.

Both teams started to battled hard as the lead changed hands. The Zebras’ Cassandra Pisik helped put her team up by one, scoring four points and pulling down two rebounds in the final two minutes of the second period.

But River Valley came back to take 27-26 lead into the locker room at intermission

“The first half went pretty well for us, we had our girls in the right places” said Lincoln head coach Tim Sprinkles, “But transitions killed us tonight, if you would take away those easy buckets in the first half, the second half would’ve been different.”

The game remained close throughout the third quarter and half the fourth. Pisik and Karla McCommas went strong to the boards to help improve the Zebras transition game. 

Rebounds were crucial for keeping the Zebra’s in the game during the second half. Pisik had 10 of her 12 total rebounds and Karla McCommas was a close second with five.

But their efforts proved futile, as Lincoln went 0-for-12 from the free throw line.

Pisik finished the game with a double-double, 20 points and a dozen rebounds. McCommas added five points and 10 boards.

“I felt like we could’ve done better,” said McCommas, “to not to be timid, to run our offense and to make our free throws and layups.”

Lincoln plays for third place against Rio Americano at 2 p.m. River Valley plays Granite Bay for the championship at 3:30. 

In the consolation bracket, Rio Linda and San Juan meet for the consolation trophy at 12:30 p.m. Lindhurst takes on Wheatland to open the day at 11 a.m.