Lincoln tops Whitney 48-44

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity boys basketball team won 48-44 at Whitney on Thursday night in front of a wild crowd in Rocklin. Lincoln (18-4 overall) improved to 6-2 in the Pioneer Valley League while the Wildcats (11-13) fell to 3-6. The Zebras are 2-0 against Whitney now as they topped the Wildcats 72-54 in the first round of league play as well. Lincoln is tied for second place in the PVL with Placer. Colfax (8-1) is in first place while El Dorado (5-4) sits in fourth. Lincoln led 15-14 after one quarter but Whitney led 23-20 at the half and 30-29 entering the fourth quarter. The Wildcats led 35-32 when Lincoln senior Steven Bobyk made it 35-34 with a lay-up with 4:10 left in the game. Lincoln center Jacob Courage then hit a jumper to put the Zebras ahead (36-35) and Bobyk nailed a 3-pointer to make it 39-35 with 2:57 left in the game. Whitney’s Brenden McCue hit a 3-pointer with 2:01 left, making it 39-38, but Lincoln never gave up the lead. Lincoln senior Keenan Hale converted a 3-point play to make it 48-42 with 14 seconds remaining. “That 3-pointer changed the game, it gave us the momentum back,” said Bobyk about his long-range bomb with 2:57 left. “We came out too confident – then we woke up and started playing better basketball.” Lincoln led 11-0 midway through the first quarter as senior guard Dusty Foster swished three 3-pointers and Courage threw down a dunk. “Our guys were jumping around like they had won the world championship,” said Lincoln coach Ben Palafox about his team being over confident after taking the early lead. Foster (14 points), Hale (11), Courage (10) and Bobyk (nine) led the Lincoln offense while Cody Borst (18 points), McCue (14) and Michael Burkhalter (eight) led Whitney. Both Palafox and Whitney head coach Bryce Newell agreed that the game was played at Whitney’s pace. “We tried to slow them down,” said Newell, after watching his team do just that. “They hit some shots (in the fourth quarter). We made a couple turnovers and they hit some tough shots.” McCue impressed Newell. “He’s deceptively athletic,” Newell said. “He gets to the basket and he’s been playing very well lately.” “We just didn’t execute near the end and they did,” McCue said. “They came up with a few loose balls . . . I tried to be aggressive and it felt good . . . We played with a lot of excitement tonight.” Whitney will play at Placer (14-9 overall) on Tuesday. Whitney beat Placer 65-58 in the first round of league play. Lincoln will host Bear River (11-10, 2-6) on Tuesday. The Zebras beat the Bruins 53-38 when they played on Jan. 15.