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Roundup tourney a good test for Lincoln basketball

Strong competition sharpens Zebras
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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The Lincoln Roundup Tournament match between the Fighting Zebras and Oakmont went down to the wire, Dec. 22, before the Vikings were able to escape with a 70-67 victory. The Lincoln boys held a slim two-point lead with 40 seconds left when the Vikes’ Mitchell Padilla drained a three-pointer to give his club a one-point lead. On the exchange, the Zebras called a timeout and set up a play to get the ball to Travis Miskell for an open shot. Miskell had the hot hand scoring 20 points in the contest. Coach Robert Ash’s strategy worked well getting Miskell free for a 10-foot jumper. But the shot caromed off the rim to set up an Oakmont breakaway lay in for the final points of the game. The two clubs played terrific basketball with the Vikings shooting 55 percent from the floor; the Zebras’ scorched the nets at 56 percent. Oakmont was 7-9 from the free-throw line, Lincoln 11-15. “We’re shooting it a lot better,” Ash said of his team’s performance, but felt turnovers were still hurting his club. “We had plenty of opportunities, but I think we turned the ball over a little too much. Oakmont’s a really good team.” The defenses were tight, but the fouls were few. However, the Norsemen did lose center Tyler Alsey via five fouls, and Lincoln’s Miskell had to sit out much of the first half after picking up three fouls. Oakmont looked as if they might break the game open in the third quarter taking an early 12-point lead. However, by the end of the period the Zebras had narrowed the gap to three. “We went to a match up zone, which kind of confused them for a little bit,” Ash said of the third-quarter comeback. “The big thing was the big guy (Alsey) fouled out. He was giving us trouble.” After shaking off some charging fouls early in the game, Lincoln began working the ball inside where Alsey was vulnerable. Alsey had eight points in the first quarter, and finished the game with 10. Miskell and sophomore point guard Marcus Salgado started driving the lane and dishing to the big men underneath. Salgado added 14 points, while 6-5 sophomore Ethan Everett tallied 13. Although the Zebras finished 1-2 in the tournament, and now stand at 9-5 on the season, the energy and optimism run high. Miskell said the team is much more mature this year than last, and feels a little bit more work on the offense will make the boys in blue contenders in the Pioneer Valley League. “We’re moving the ball a lot more; we just need more motion without the ball,” said Miskell as to the team’s progress. “I think we have the pieces to go all the way this year, I really do. We’re out talented by a couple teams but our work ethic and our hustle, and our heart for the game, is just unbelievable. And I think that’s what’s going to carry us this year.” Vista del Lago, Dec. 21 _ The visiting Eagles did not go away from the Roundup disappointed picking up their first win of the season, 69-62. However, it happened to be at Lincoln’s expense. Still, the Zebras battled back from a 63-52 deficit to make the game close, in spite of a night of cold shooting and 17 turnovers. Lincoln shot less than 40 percent from the floor, and was 3-13 beyond the 3-point arc. Everett led the club with 20 points, and James Pallas added eight. Golden Sierra, Dec. 20 _ Shooting was not a problem in the tournament opener for the Fighting Zebras as they skinned the Grizzlies, 80-30. The Lincoln press forced the visitors into numerous turnovers leading to easy baskets. Five Zebras scored in double figures: Alexis Gonzales (15), Salgado (15), Kyle Lowe (14), Everett (10), and Miskell (10). All nine Zebras scored in the game. Lincoln led by 26 points at the end of the first quarter. It was Lincoln’s sixth win in a row. JV _ The Lincoln boys basketball junior varsity came away 2-1 in the Roundup tournament. Although they dropped their last game to Oakmont, the Fighting Zebras downed Vista del Lago 70-52, and breezed past Golden Sierra 83-40. Frosh _ The blue-and-gold freshman team fared as did the varsity with one win and two losses in the tournament. Lincoln made a run at Oakmont before falling 47-35. The Zebras struggled with Vista del Lago, 70-44, but blew by Golden Sierra, 64-18, in the first game. Lincoln Roundup Tournament Dec. 20-22, Lincoln High School VARSITY Lincoln 80, Golden Sierra 30 Vista 69, Lincoln 62 Oakmont 70, Lincoln 67 JV Lincoln 83, Golden Sierra 40 Lincoln 70, Vista 52 Oakmont 75, Lincoln 49 FROSH Lincoln 64, Golden Sierra 18 Vista 70, Lincoln 44 Oakmont 47, Lincoln 35