Down by three at halftime to Peninsula High School in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district playoffs, Lincoln junior Trevion Brown knew something needed to change. So Brown took over, scoring 18 of his 27 points in the second half and guided the Abes to a 68-54 win over the Seahawks.
“My mindset was just to win and play as hard as I can for my teammates and just do what I’m supposed to do,” Brown said. “I was born to play this game. I had to get out there and do it.”
Peninsula (16-6) junior guard JaQuori McLaughlin, a University of Washington commit, nailed a three at the halftime buzzer to put the Seahawks up by three, 29-26. The Abes went to a diamond-and-one defense in the second half to limit McLaughlin’s effectiveness. For the most part, it worked with McLaughlin finishing with 18 points.
“We know he’s a good player,” said Lincoln senior guard Josiah Barsh, the Narrows 3A co-MVP this season. “He got some shots up, but most of his shots were contested — hard shots.”
Lincoln (19-3) played relentlessly on defense, and took the ball aggressively to the rim throughout the game.
“We play scrappy,” Brown said. “Our identity is just to play hard defense.”
Lincoln was up by five late in the third quarter, when Peninsula coach Jake Jackson was assessed a technical foul. After that, the Abes began to pull away. Jackson voiced some of his frustrations after the game.
“We started the game strong,” Jackson said. “It was 12-2 (Peninsula) at the start. We won the first two quarters. In the third quarter, things just didn’t go our way. I’ll never have excuses. I thought the things that were in our control tonight, our guys gave it their all.”
Peninsula exploited Lincoln with its height advantage early on, but struggled to get 6-foot-9 junior center Jimmy Ritchie going in the second half.
“It’s just hard,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, we had so much pressure up front with the guards. We were trying to alleviate the pressure with (Ritchie) and Austin (Kingman) coming up and setting screens for (McLaughlin).”
Lincoln will face Columbia River (18-4) in a bi-district semifinal playoff on Thursday, 6 p.m. at Rogers High School, while Peninsula will face Kelso or Shelton in a consolation game Tuesday, 7:45 p.m., at Clover Park High School.