Lincoln tops Whitney 72-54

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity boys basketball team improved to 1-1 in the Pioneer Valley League play with Wednesday night’s 72-54 victory over the visiting Whitney Wildcats. Whitney (8-9 overall) dropped to 1-2 in league with the loss. Lincoln is 13-3 overall and 4-0 at home. Lincoln led 26-21 at the half but turned the game into a lopsided affair by winning the third quarter 30-10. The Wildcats won the fourth quarter 23-16 but the game had already been decided prior to the start of it. “We came out aggressive in our man-to-man (defense) and put pressure on the ball and got out in the passing lanes,” Lincoln coach Ben Palafox said about the third quarter. At one point Lincoln scored transition baskets on five consecutive possessions in the third quarter. “We went from up five points to up 15 in the blink of an eye,” Palafox said. “We were really positive (at halftime). (Whitney) plays a 2-2-1 (defense) and then goes back into a 2-3 and we said the final score would be in the 40s or 50s . . . And then all of the sudden we are at 56 in the third quarter and the game was in control.” Senior Keenan Hale led the Zebras with 21 points while Steven Bobyk (nine points), Jacob Courage (eight) and Carlos Jaimes (eight) also chipped in offensively. Hale scored nine points and Bobyk had eight in the explosive third quarter. Josh Ladas (15 points), Evan Orrick (12) and Eric Gee (nine) led the Whitney offense while senior Cody Borst, Whitney’s leading scorer on the season, was held to two points. Bobyk was in charge of slowing Borst. “Steven did a great job on him,” Palafox said. “He not only limited his touches but just being aware of where he was on the floor. Steven did a really nice job of being physical with him and his size (6-foot-4) helps him (on defense).” Courage re-injured his knee in Lincoln’s previous game, a 60-59 loss to El Dorado in the PVL opener on Jan. 6. He went down late in the first quarter of that game and didn’t return. Palafox brought the 6-foot-7, senior center off the bench against the Wildcats. “He had a little bump (on his knee) but he fought through it,” Palafox said. “We spotted him in and out throughout the game. It was good news –a good step.” The Wildcats will host Placer (10-7, 2-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday while Lincoln will play at Bear River (9-6, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.