When Lincoln and Foss match up in high school boy’s basketball, Tacoma hoops junkies know it is the best rivalry in town.
And it lived up to its reputation Friday night, as No. 1 Lincoln pulled away late to earn a 66-57 victory in front of a sellout crowd inside the Lincoln High gym.
No. 6 Foss stayed with the Abes until the final minutes of the fourth quarter, showing toughness despite losing star Dezmyn Trent due to foul trouble.
Tre’Shaun Fletcher drove home the victory, making a steal on defense and dribbling downcourt to send home a rim-rattling dunk. The slam gave Lincoln a 60-51 lead and sent the crowd into delirium with 3 minutes, 35 seconds to play in the game.
“The coaches kept telling us to grind on defense, that this game was going to be won on defense,” Fletcher said. “I just saw my opportunity and took it.”
Fletcher finished with 18 points, but the Colorado-bound senior was just happy Lincoln got a home victory over its cross-town rival.
“We usually get them over there, but they beat us here the last two years so it felt good my senior year get them at home finally,” Fletcher said. “It’s always fun, every single year.”
Fletcher’s steal and dunk came in the middle of a 15-3 Lincoln run that saw the Abes turn a 48-46 deficit into a 61-51 lead.
Ahmaad Rorie hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to put the Abes up, 54-48. But Trent – saddled with four fouls – came off the bench to nail a 3-pointer and cut the Falcons’ deficit to three.
Lincoln (9-1, 3-0 Narrows 3A) then reeled off seven straight points, with Trent fouling out at the 2:52 mark. Trent finished with a team-high 19 points for Foss (7-3, 3-1).
Rorie led all scorers with 25 points. He was Lincoln’s top scoring threat in the first half, pouring in 13 of 30 Abes points.
Foss trailed in the early going until Trent slammed home an alley-oop pass from Jericho Ballard to make it 20-20 midway through the second quarter.
Falcons junior forward Olashawan Miller played well in his first Lincoln-Foss game, scoring 14 points while pulling down 10 rebounds.
The game was sold out before opening tip, but there will be another opportunity: The two teams play at Foss on January 30.
“This was one of the more packed games we’ve had here – they were turning people away before the game started,” Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said.
Lincoln just returned home from a holiday showcase tournament in San Diego, going 3-1 on the junket.
“We played four very good teams down there, and it was a great experience, but none of those teams played as hard as Foss did tonight,” Shelton said.