Aubrey Shelton doesn’t stake his own reputation to just anybody.
And for years, even when others might have been looking elsewhere for the city’s best talent, the Lincoln High boys basketball coach has trumpeted the leadership, intangibles and skill set of guard Josiah Barsh.
Well, this senior season might be the year Barsh holds court. He tallied a game-high 25 points Friday night, and the seventh-ranked Abes got a big road victory at No. 10 Foss, 64-56, in a 3A Narrows game.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard scored 11 points in the first quarter. Then he poured in 10 more right after halftime to help Lincoln break open a tight game.
“He is playing probably better than anybody in our league,” Foss coach Mike Cocke said. “He makes (3-pointers). He posts you up. He gets to the (free throw) line. He can score in a variety of ways.”
Frankly, much of what the Abes (8-1, 4-0 in 3A Narrows) do offensively — and the success they will enjoy — will run through Barsh and point guard Trevion Brown (13 points), who had an off night shooting the basketball but came on late in the game.
“It is (Barsh’s) time,” Shelton said. “He is our two-year captain. He is just stronger and better.”
Barsh buried a straightaway 3-pointer early in the second half. And on Lincoln’s next possession, he canned a 15-footer from the right baseline to give the Abes a 40-30 lead at the 5:05 mark.
Two minutes later, Barsh busted down the right side of the lane and got past Robert Gittens for a basket and foul. He converted the three-point play, and the Abes led 50-36.
“It is a rivalry thing with Foss, so I was ready for the game,” Barsh said. “I felt good in warm-ups. My teammates trust me with the ball — and I trust myself to hit big shots.”
Foss (8-2, 3-1) still should be a big player in the league title chase, especially with Gittens (15 points) and Stephon Shaw (14) inside. The two were a big reason the Falcons collected 18 offensive rebounds.
Gittens’ final basket cut the Abes’ advantage to 58-53 with 1:32 to go.
But Brown made nifty passes to Jayson Williams for easy layups on three consecutive Lincoln possessions in the final 2:45 to seal with win.
“We are versatile. We can play fast. We can get after people in the fullcourt. And we can play in the halfcourt,” Shelton said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons to throw out there.”