Whitney girls beat Lincoln 56-52

Playoffs still a possibility for Wildcats
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Whitney High’s varsity girls basketball team staged a fourth-quarter comeback to win 56-52 at Lincoln on Friday night. Whitney (15-9 overall) is now 4-5 in the Pioneer Valley League while Lincoln (8-15) is 1-7. Lincoln led 7-0 and 11-4 early and its biggest lead of the first half was 10 points. The Zebras led 13-12 after one quarter and Whitney led 31-29 at the half. “It was just a weird game – we came out and turned the ball over seven times in the first three minutes,” Whitney coach Joel Williams said. “We played a little better in the second quarter and (Lincoln) just came out fired up in the third quarter.” The Zebras won the third quarter 17-7 and led 46-38 entering the fourth quarter. “Lincoln’s a tough team to figure out,” Williams said. “They were tied with El Dorado at the half at El Dorado and were winning at halftime at Colfax. They just keep getting better and better and they play very well.” Whitney then won the fourth quarter 18-6, taking the lead for good with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Whitney’s Kristina Fahey scored eight of her 23 points in the fourth quarter while teammates Kristine Lynch (five) and Kristin Ladas (five) scored the rest of the points. Lynch finished with 15 points while Ladas had five. Teammate Alex Rodriguez scored six points in the game. Fahey, 5-foot-11, also set a school record with 11 blocked shots. Julia Lathrop (23 points), Brooke Leedy (13) and Mikenna Kossow (five) led the Zebras. Lathrop scored 16 points in the first half. “Julia was just amazing – this was our last time seeing her play and she was amazing,” Williams said. “She just about willed her team to a win.” Whitney blew out Lincoln 71-38 when the teams met in the first round of league play. Lincoln prepared for Whitney’s speed this time by practicing against the Lincoln junior varsity boys basketball team. Lincoln coach Donna Tofft said it was Whitney’s quickness that gave the Zebras trouble during the first meeting. Fahey was also strong the first time that Whitney played Lincoln – scoring 26 points. “Lincoln is very big but they don’t have anybody that can really match-up with (Fahey) – we were moving her all over the place,” Williams said. “She played four positions and we were trying to create mismatches.” Williams believes that the Wildcats have to win their final three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. By his calculations, Whitney was ranked 22nd in the Division III power ratings heading into Friday night’s game. Sixteen teams make the playoffs. “I’m pretty sure 2-1 won’t get us in. That’s the nature of Division III. Any other Division (and a team with Whitney’s overall record) gets in,” Williams said. “We still have a chance. We have to win out to get in. I think 18-9 would get that 16th spot.” Whitney will host Placer (7-14, 4-4) at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday. The Hillmen beat Whitney 60-54 in the first round of league play. Lincoln will play at Bear River (17-5, 6-2) at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday. Bear River beat Lincoln 55-47 in the first round of league play.