If you thought the third-ranked Lincoln boys were going to ease their way into the postseason, guess again.
In every facet — especially inside scoring — the Abes thoroughly dominated Evergreen of Vancouver, sending the Plainsmen to a 101-65 loss Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament in Tacoma.
Willie Thomas led Lincoln (21-0) with 20 points. Trevante Anderson added 18 points. All 12 Abes contributed in the team’s season-high scoring output.
“They came out in a triangle-and-two (defense), which we hoped they would,” Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said. “We’ve got five guys who can all score, so if you want to take away two of them, we have others.”
Specifically, Evergreen (5-12), the fourth-place team from the 3A GSHL, came in trying to take away the Abes’ top two guards, Anderson and Emmett Linton.
Honestly, it did not matter what the Plainsmen tried to do — the Abes did what they wanted on the inside, getting many easy buckets in the paint, led by Thomas, who had eight points in the first quarter.
“We play really well together,” Anderson said. “We moved the ball around … and got teammates going early. After that, other things opened up.”
Lincoln made 13 of 19 field-goal attempts in the first quarter to grab a 30-11 lead.
And the Abes kept going, hitting their first four shots to start the second quarter — capped by Linton’s 3-pointer from the left center arc. Lincoln was in control, up 39-11 with 6:13 remaining in the first half.
The Abes will play Central Kitsap in the district quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Timberline High School.
Top Performer: Erik Stevenson, Timberline
Scored 28 points in win over Stadium
Central Kitsap 62, Bonney Lake 52: The Cougars kept looking for a knockout blow.
Finality came in the form of seven made free throws in the final minute.
Central Kitsap coach Scott McMinds said he welcomed a chance to face the undefeated Abes.
“Hey, if we are going to compete and see where we are, we’ve got to play the best teams,” McMinds said. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids and the program.”
Winning Wednesday’s game — played at North Thurston High School — gave the Cougars a boost of confidence considering the team was making its first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season.
Facing a Bonney Lake team that hadn’t practiced since last week because of snow cancellations, Central Kitsap pushed the tempo early, grabbing a 12-7 lead after the first quarter and a 30-19 advantage at halftime.
“Offensively, whatever we ran, we had good looks, good value possessions,” McMinds said.
The Cougars found success slashing to the basket against a taller Bonney Lake team that features 6-foot-10 center Zane Foster. Central Kitsap’s Elijah McGee scored all 11 of his points in the first two quarters, using his quickness to get to the rim.
“I just feels good when we are playing hard together,” said Central Kitsap senior RJ Secrest, who scored a game-high 20 points.
Bonney Lake coach Sam Oliver said his team fought hard enough to win, but put itself in a precarious position early.
“It’s hard to dig yourself out of a hole like that,” Oliver said. “It takes a lot of energy to do that.”
Tyson Lawes led Bonney Lake with 14 points.
With one playoff win under their belt, the Cougars need at least one more to advance to regionals. Their first chance is Friday against Lincoln.
“I think it’ll be exciting,” Secrest said.
Capital 74, Lakes 45: How will the Cougars perform in the playoffs without the Class 3A South Sound Conference’s most valuable player?
TJ Mickelson, the Cougars’ standout point guard who broke his collarbone going up for a rebound against North Thurston last week, is happy with the result.
Sitting on Capital’s bench, he watched as his brother, Matt, scored 14 points and Chris Penner scored a season-high 28 points as the Cougars walloped Lakes to advance to a winner-to-state game.
“We’re a team,” Matt Mickelson said. “We knew we had to step up and we did. … We just came ready to play, like always.”
Spanaway Lake 62, Fort Vancouver 54: Divante Moffitt scored 16 points, Jordan Garner scored 14, and Isaiah Turner added 12 in the Sentinels’ victory.
“Obviously the winter storm affected a lot of people,” Spanaway Lake coach Dominic Batten said. “We haven’t been able to practice since Saturday, so we came out really flat.”
Spanaway Lake advances to face Capital at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Olympia High School for a trip to state.
Batten also had praise for freshmen Michael Smith who helped turn the game around for the team.
“He came off the bench for us and had a couple big blocks, got our team fired up,” Batten said. “We just kinda fed off him tonight.”
Spanaway Lake didn’t focus on their win long, already looking to Friday’s matchup.
“We got a chance to watch Capital,” Batten said. “We know they are gonna be a very well disciplined team.”
Timberline 86, Stadium 64: The Blazers were on fire in their taming of the Tigers that saw the Timberline team in top form.
“In the second half, I thought that the combination of Erik Stevenson, Tariq Romain and Eli Morton proved to be just a little bit too much tonight,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “That was the highest point production that we had all season from those three guards at one time.”
Stevenson scored 28 points, Romain had 20 points, and Morton had 19.
Those three scored 67 of their team's 86 points.
“We actually did very well on the offensive boards and that ended up being the difference,” Thomas said.
Still, Thomas is looking for improvement.
“We gotta get better executing, running our plays, and starting out the game in the defensive mindset,” Thomas said. “We didn’t have all five guys working together so when you play that way you can’t get a good comfortable lead to put yourself in the position to excel as a team.
Prairie 56, Peninsula 44: Seth Hall scored a game-high 30 points for Prairie, which advances to face Timberline at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Timberline.
Peninsula faces Stadium in a loser-out game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at North Thurston.
Elijah McLaughlin led the Seahawks with 15 points.
Kelso 62, Gig Harbor 52: Riley Noah scored a game high 20 points and was followed closely by fellow sophomore Shaw Anderson who scored 17 points in the Hilanders’ win.
Kelso advances to face Wilson at 6 p.m. Friday at Olympia in a winner-to-state game.
RJ Green scored 12 points for Gig Harbor, which heads to a loser-out game against North Thurston at 6 p.m. Friday at Capital.
4A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST
Puyallup 58, Tahoma 47: The Vikings jumped out to a 20-point lead by halftime thanks to Brennan Winter’s team-high 25 points in a district play-in game at Graham-Kapowsin.
Tahoma was eliminated with the loss.
Minutes into the game, Puyallup’s (13-8) top perimeter defender Jacob Holcomb went down with an right ankle injury taking him out of the rest game. In stepped Winter, Landon Neff (12 points) and Ethan Steward (10) to carry the Vikings to victory.
“Jacob is a very big part of our team, and we were fortunate to have other guys step up tonight,” Puyallup coach Scott Campbell said. “Brennan is a senior, and this could have been his last game. He really stepped up and played his heart out tonight.”
Puyallup will play at Federal Way (20-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round.
Life Christian 80, Rainier 40: In their 35th home win in a row, the Eagles secured a decisive win over the Mountaineers.
Luke Lovelady scored a game-high 18 points and got his 1,000th career rebound.
“We came out with a great first quarter,” said Life Christian coach Mark Lovelady of the Eagles’ 23-7 first-quarter lead.
However, after that strong first quarter for the Eagles they let the Mountaineers climb their way back into the game.
“The 2nd quarter was a little flat,” Mark Lovelady said. “We just can’t take any lapses when we build a lead.”
The team rallied back, scoring 27 points in the third quarter to put them squarely back in the driver’s seat.
Eric Overgaard went on to score 17 points to close out the game for the Eagles.
Top performer: Sharon Ajayi, Kentwood
Scored 24 points in Kentwood’s overtime win over Emerald Ridge
4A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST
Rogers 63, Auburn Mountainview 29: The Rams were able to cruise to victory over the Lions behind Jessi Westering’s 12 points.
Helping out her teammate was Raigan Barrett, scoring 11 points to extend their lead as Rogers advances to a winner-to-state game against Camas, which beat Olympia, at 6 p.m. Friday at Stadium.
The Lions were led by Taylor Flores’ 14 points. They face Olympia in a loser-out game at 6 p.m. Friday at Rogers.
Kentwood 53, Emerald Ridge 50 (OT): A fifth period was needed to decide the game between the Conquerors and Jaguars as missed shots at the end of regulation led to overtime in the district play-in game.
Sharon Ajayi’s 24 points led all scores in the game for Kentwood. The Jaguars’ Sammantha McGinty led her team with 14 points.
Kentwood advances to face Auburn Riverside in the first round of the district tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday at Auburn Riverside.
Life Christian 46, Mossyrock 40: Landyn Lovelady scored game-high 16 points to lift the Eagles.
“In the first half, we were evenly matched,” Life Christian assistant coach Shawna Thomas said. “Strong defense was a key, all the girls followed the game plan and played hard.”
Lovelady had a big night on defense for Life Christian getting five steals.
Close behind were teammates Alea Yum, who got 10 rebounds along with two steals, and Alyssa Donaldson who got eigh rebounds and four steals.
Staf writers Lauren Smith, Chase Hutchinson, Jordan Whitford, The Kitsap Sun and Puyallup Herald contributed to this report.
DISTRICT PLAYOFF SCORES
Puyallup 58, Tahoma 47
Camas 67, Todd Beamer 50
Auburn Riverside 81, South Kitsap 68
Central Kitsap 62, Bonney Lake 52
Lincoln 101, Evergreen of Vancouver 65
Timberline 86, Stadium 64
Prairie 56, Peninsula 44
Kelso 62, Gig Harbor 52
Wilson 69, North Thurston 62
Spanaway Lake 62, Fort Vancouver 54
Capital 74, Lakes 45
White River 61, Port Angeles 59
Fife 63, Clover Park 60
Life Christian 80, Rainier 40
Puyallup 40, Enumclaw 30
Union 55, Federal Way 23
Kentwood 53, Emerald Ridge 50
Rogers 63, Auburn Mountainview 29
Camas 51, Olympia 35
Kalama 81, Northwest Christian 32
Life Christian 46, Mossyrock 40
Read the playoff roundup online at thenewstribune.com