Foss High School boys basketball coach Mike Cocke’ has joked about it with Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton a few times that these Lincoln-Foss games always seem to come down to the final minute.
Foss led by as much as 14 points in the first half. But Cocke’ reminded his players that it was far from over.
“You put a team that’s won 13 games in a row down 10 on the road – like I told my guys, ‘They are going to fight, scrap and claw. How are you going to respond to that?’” Cocke’ said.
They certainly didn’t respond bigger than Lincoln did.
The Abes got back to their signature brand of basketball – overwhelming the state’s top-ranked 2A school with energy and depth. Five players scored in double figures as Lincoln rallied for a 78-73 victory on Monday at Foss for a nonleague victory over their former league nemesis.
This is still very much a rivalry game – even if fourth-ranked 3A Lincoln (14-0) and Foss (10-5) now play in different leagues and different classifications. Two of their previous three meetings had gone into overtime.
“The difference in this game was we were the ones who wanted it the most,” said Lincoln’s Emmett Linton III, who scored 13 points, including two 3-pointers. “We felt like we wanted it more, so we went out and took it.”
Lincoln used a 15-4 run from the end of the second quarter into the third quarter to take a lead after trailing 47-33. Trevante Anderson, who finished with 13 points, scored 11 in the third quarter after not hitting a shot in the first half.
It was 74-67 Lincoln with 2:29 remaining in the game when Le’Zjon Bonds, who transferred from Foss to Lincoln, hit a 3-pointer.
But then Foss did what worked so well in the first half. Demetrius Crosby attacked the basket, scored, and drew a foul – after Micah Pollard hit a 3-pointer – to cut the lead to 74-73.
Foss had a last chance with 8.2 seconds remaining, still trailing by one, but Lincoln’s Willie Thomas stole a pass intended for Foss standout Roberto Gittens on a post-up attempt.
“The whole gym knew it was going to (Gittens),” Cocke’ said of his senior, who scored 18 points and had three emphatic dunks. “But we got to execute down the stretch.”
Foss ended the game with three consecutive turnovers.
“I think our depth kind of got to them,” Shelton said. “They don’t play as many guys as us. We were a little fresher in the second half.”
An example of how deep Lincoln is – David Harris led the Abes with a season-high 17 points off of the bench. He spent the entire season on JV last year.
Harris, a 6-foot-5 senior, has scored in double figures in eight of the Abes’ 14 games.
He’s the best-kept secret in Tacoma,” Shelton said, beaming. “No one knows who the kid is, but he does everything for us.
“He’s our best teammate. He cares about everybody, he plays hard, he doesn’t give up on any possessions … he’s just a coach’s dream.”
Foss scored 47 points in the first half. It was held to 26 in the second half.
Donald Scott scored 18 points and Crosby added 17 points.
The Falcons still haven’t lost to a 2A team yet this season. Its five losses have come against 3A Timberline and Lincoln and schools from Arizona, California, Nevada.
“People might not believe it, but I believe we would be a top-10 3A team if we played these guys and Wilson every night,” Cocke’ said. “We think we’re a pretty good team, and (Lincoln is) a pretty good team. It just didn’t go our way tonight.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
NO. 4 (3A) LINCOLN
NO. 1 (2A) FOSS
Lincoln: Trevante Anderson 13, Emmett Linton III 13, Le’Zjon Bonds 11, Willie Thomas 10, Camron Deloney 2, Anthony Braggs 6, David Harris 17, John Macklin 4, Jayden Simon 2.
Foss: Damani Kelly 5, Demetrius Crosby 17, Micah Pollard 8, Tre Tyson 2, Roberto Gittens 18, Christian Barnes 5, Donald Scott 18.