Tre’Shaun Fletcher and the Lincoln Abes are going back to the Tacoma Dome.
Fletcher scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in Lincoln’s 55-35 regional round win over Columbia River on Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.
Fletcher was a different player the last time the Abes reached the Dome. He was just a freshman in 2010, and he even had a different name – Tre’Shaun Lexing.
Now, Fletcher and his Abes have advanced further in the tournament than any Lincoln team since 2008. Lincoln (20-3) advances to play Thursday in the 3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome, with the opponent and game time to be determined at a seeding draw today.
“It’s about time,” Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said. “The last three years we lost in the round of 16 – it feels good getting over that hump.”
Lincoln played stifling defense in the first half, holding Columbia River to just four points in each of the first two quarters. The Abes used a 14-0 scoring run in the second quarter to pull away, taking a 26-8 lead into halftime.
“We knew they were a walk-the-ball-up team, so we wanted to up the tempo,” Fletcher said.
Not only did Lincoln pressure the ball, but the Abes’ defensive effort also limited the open looks for Columbia River.
“The last four games have been our best defensive games, and
a lot of that is due to mentality,” Shelton said. “We’re really starting to play that traditional Lincoln defense.”
Now Fletcher and the Abes take their show to the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome. Shelton is expecting big things from Fletcher.
“He’s a four-year varsity starter, he’s won three district titles, and now he’s going to the elite eight for the first time,” said Shelton. “I’m excited to see what he is going to bring.”
But the Chieftains (17-7) didn’t go down without a fight. Twice in the second half, senior Rian Bassett threw down a mammoth alley-oop dunk.
But each time Bassett appeared to swing the momentum in Columbia River’s direction, Lincoln immediately answered with a 3-pointer – one by Ahmaad Rorie, and another by Josiah Barsh.
Senior center Isaiah Smith led the Chieftains with 16 points and nine rebounds.