Lincoln County started off last weekend with an intense game; unfortunately, the team ultimately fell short. They concluded the weekend with a resilient win on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Lincoln lost to Needles, 64-60, on Friday, Feb. 1. They took the win against Laughlin, 67-34.
Against Needles, Lincoln established a four-point lead by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Lincoln held the lead in the beginning, but Needles tied it up with 10 seconds left in the half. Then the ball swung around to Mathew Hafen, who dropped the buzzer-beater shot from behind the arc, giving Lincoln the halftime edge, 28-25.
In the second half, the score fluctuated, and both teams took turns taking the lead. However, Needles pulled ahead towards the end of the third quarter and Lincoln struggled to catch up. In the fourth, time began to run out and Lincoln still had over 10 points to make up. Alex Vincent hit a three-pointer, Cody Zile put in a few baskets, and Talon Phillips made his foul shots to put the boys down by four with seconds left on the clock. Missed foul shots sealed the deal and Needles stole the win, 64-60.
Zile dropped 20 points, Kobe Kelley scored 14 points, and Vincent had 11.
“They came in and we anticipated them playing a certain way and they totally played in a different way,” Coach Sean FitzSimons said. “They’re a desperate team, still fighting for a playoff spot. We had a good week of practice; it’s just, at the end of the day, the shots wouldn’t go and we had a really bad third quarter. They outscored us 22-10. That was the difference in the game. It is sad, but again, better now than during a playoff game. The kids played hard, but we just couldn’t get it going.”
It was a heartbreaking loss, but Lincoln followed up with a successful win the next day.
“Laughlin’s one of the games we wanted to bounce back, obviously. It was also a game we wanted to get an edge back and get that intensity. So our game plan was to get in and get after them early. And we did. Then we backed off and coasted a bit,” said Fitzsimons.
Lincoln came out swinging in the first quarter with solid defense. The first quarter ended with Lincoln in the lead, 28-6. Laughlin outscored Lincoln in the second quarter, but the Lynx refused to let up and won the game, 67-34.
Kelley was the highest scorer with 16 points. Mathew Hafen had 15 points; Noah Smith and Vincent had 12.
“It’s one of those games you kind of don’t like as a coach because you want to keep that intensity up, but it was a league game and we needed the win, so I was happy about the effort. We definitely clinched a playoff spot,” FitzSimons said.
Lincoln is now 15-8 overall and 9-3 league, second place in the 2A Southern League behind Calvary Chapel (15-5, 11-1)
This weekend, the boys will play Mountain View Christian Academy (2-20, 1-10) at home on Friday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m.
The final regular season game is Feb. 16 against fourth-place Lake Mead (11-8, 7-5).