MILL CREEK – With an evening game and the prospect of Friday afternoon traffic through Seattle, Lincoln High boys basketball coach Aubrey Shelton decided his team would leave Tacoma for its Class 3A regional game against O’Dea at 2 p.m.
The good news? The traffic was light and the team arrived at Jackson High School at 3 p.m. The bad news? That left about two hours for the team to sit around with little to do but watch a movie on its charter bus.
The result? A lethargic effort that saw the Abes fall behind big thanks to carelessness with the ball as fourth-ranked O’Dea ended No. 9 Lincoln’s season 67-48.
“We were asleep,” Shelton said. “It’s the most dead we’ve been in warm-ups all season. I don’t know if it was the bus ride or what but we came out flight, we were tight. It was sad to see.”
Both teams turned the ball over 22 times, but it was all about timing. Lincoln (18-9) had 10 turnovers in the first half and 17 by the end of the third quarter. O’Dea (20-7) had 10 of its turnovers in the fourth quarter when the game had virtually been decided.
Though only junior Tre’Shaun Lexing, who finished with 29 points, seemed to be able to score for the Abes, Lincoln stayed within striking distance at 28-20 early in the third quarter, a 13-3 run aided by five Abes turnovers made it 40-23 and Lincoln never got closer than 13 the rest of the way. O’Dea went 15-for-19 from the line in the fourth quarter and was 21-for-29 in the game.
“If we had to do it again we might come into the gym and walk around,” Shelton said. “But what can you really do? The disappointment isn’t in the loss but in how we played. We’re better than that.”
— Mike Allende, contributing writer