Lincoln slump in second half gives Foothill win

Zebras score well below average
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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The Lincoln High boys basketball team took a 21-20 lead into halftime only to have visiting Foothill take control in the second half and cruise to a 67-44 victory, Jan. 20. The Fighting Zebras held the Mustangs’ leading scorer, Michael Bryson, to just two points in the first two quarters. But the 6-4 senior broke things open in the second half with his three-point shooting. Bryson finished the night with 16 points. “Effort; we played a 16 minute game tonight,” said Lincoln coach Robert Ash. “I must say our third quarter was horrible execution-wise, effort-wise. We’re a good team but not a good enough team to not play 32 minutes hard.” Lincoln scored the first couple of baskets in the third period, but then Bryson went to the three-point shot. His first missed, but he was fouled. He responded by hitting all three free throws. He then followed up by hitting a couple threes in succession. That seemed to spark the Mustangs as their press started to work against the Zebras, and Foothill then went strong to the boards. “We knew they would be really good on the boards,” said sophomore Ethan Everett, Lincoln’s tallest player. “But we just didn’t body up on anyone. We just kind of touched them.” Perhaps it was the Zebras’ concern with Bryson that led to the Mustangs’ run. Foothill was getting second and third shots in the third quarter, where they weren’t able to in the first half. Unofficially, in quarters three and four the Mustangs nearly doubled the number of rebounds that Lincoln had. “That Bryson thing was my fault,” said Ash. “He’s a really good player and we were going to make him beat us from the outside and he did. (But) what concerns me is in the third quarter we just came out flat.” Lincoln’s Alexis Gonzalez, Kyle Lowe and Adam Felt led the scoring for the Zebras with seven points apiece. Everett had seven rebounds, but scored only four points, well below his near 12-points a game average. Everett said Lincoln’s confidence was down and the club would have to increase its effort going down the stretch if they hoped to stay in the Pioneer Valley League hunt. However, he felt the Zebras should make a better showing the next time they face the league leaders. “For our team it’s effort now, like one more percent would help us,” Everett said. “The next time with Center and Foothill we’re going to go all out and show them who we are.” Lincoln was scheduled to play at Placer Wednesday, and then return home for a game against Colfax Friday. JV _ The Fighting Zebras junior varsity nearly blanked Foothill in the second half and crushed the visiting Mustangs 67-28. After leading their opponents by 12 at the end of the second period, Lincoln came out with a defense that held Foothill scoreless until the 1:25 mark of the forth quarter. Foothill scored five points the rest of the way. “We have four zone defenses, but they’re all match up,” said Lincoln head JV coach Chance Peterson. “So a lot of teams confuse them with man-to-man but they’re really a match up.” Peterson substituted players five at a time without losing a step. In fact, sometimes the second team would take things up a notch. The relentless pressure began to wear down the Mustangs, which led to a number of easy baskets. “Starting 3-0 in league is a great start,” Peterson said crediting a tough preseason schedule for helping to prepare his players for the PVL. “We’re pressing all the time; we’re pushing the ball as much as we can.” Freshman guard John Reyes scored 19 in the contest, including three 3-pointers and 4-6 from the free throw line. Freshman Mitchell Holt scored eight. Frosh _ Lincoln’s freshman squad fell to Foothill, 63-43. FOOTHILL 67, LINCOLN 44 Mustangs 11 20 27 20 – 67 Zebras 11 21 11 12 – 44 Rebounds – FH – 23, LN – 20. Turnovers – FH – 10, LN – 17. Pioneer Valley League Boys Basketball Standings Team W L GB Off Def Dif Foothill 3 0 - 59.4 49.2 10.2 Center 3 0 - 64.1 55.6 8.5 Placer 1 1 1 ½ 61.5 56.0 5.5 Lincoln 1 2 2 57.6 55.1 2.5 Bear River 0 2 2 ½ 57.8 54.5 3.3 Colfax 0 3 3 54.8 56.7 -1.9 W – wins, L – losses, GB – games behind, Off – scoring average, Def – opponent’s average, Dif - difference