The top seed out of the Class 3A Narrows League was up for grabs, but Round 3 of Lincoln-Foss was about more than that.
“It’s a pride thing,” said Lincoln High School boys basketball coach Aubrey Shelton. “It’s a big deal in this city. It’s bragging rights. That’s what it’s more about: Just beating Foss.”
The Abes outscored the Falcons by 13 points in the fourth quarter to win the rubber match of the series, 57-40, on Saturday at Stadium High School for the No. 1 seed out of the 3A Narrows to the District 3/4 tournament.
Lincoln (17-3) hosts Hazen, and Foss (16-5) hosts Sumner on Thursday in first-round play. Both games are at 7 p.m.
The Abes switched between zone, man-to-man and full-court press defenses and it bottled up the Falcons. Foss was held to a season-low point total Saturday after coming off a season-high 93 points in a win over Wilson two games prior and 82 points on Friday against Shelton.
“Credit their defense, they did a great job,” Foss coach Mike Cocke’ said. “We played Shelton last night, had a long bus ride home and a couple of kids were banged up. We just weren’t in a flow.”
Foss led 27-26 with 3:45 left in the third quarter, but then came the charge from Lincoln’s role players.
Abraham Murray scored three consecutive baskets and Tashon Brown hit a 3-pointer during a 9-2 run.
Two Foss turnovers led to open layups on the other end for Lincoln near the start of the fourth quarter. Josiah Barsh, whose 11 points led the Abes, got the first and Brown the second as Lincoln ballooned its lead to 47-34 with 3:43 left to play.
Lincoln won the first matchup, 64-56, on Jan. 2, and Foss won the second, 70-64, on Jan. 23.
“They were talking about taking this to a coin toss,” Barsh said. “We were like, ‘No, we don’t want that. We want to beat Foss.’ This feels better.”
Michel Cocke’ and Chris Reynolds led Foss with eight points each, while leading scorers Haywood Irwin and Roberto Gittens combined to score nine. Coach Mike Cocke’ said both rolled their ankles against Shelton.
“Our guys were scrapping, fighting and getting loose balls. I just loved their effort,” Shelton said. “This is what I’ve been hoping for all year defensively.”
“I thought at beginning of the year we had a chance to be one of the best defensive teams around. And now it looks like it might be starting to come to fruition.”
Lincoln also had Jayson Williams, who signed to play football with Eastern Washington University on Wednesday, back for a second game since leaving the team to prepare for spring football. Shelton said the senior suffered a knee injury and left the team to prevent further injuring it.
Williams had five points, but was also key in running the Abes offense with Trevion Brown sitting most of the game with what Shelton said is a chronic knee injury.
“(Williams) apologized, and I wasn’t sure if we would take him back right away, but all the kids were on board,” Shelton said. “They love playing with him because he plays so hard on defense, passes and does all the dirty things and is an unselfish teammate.”