Aubrey Shelton thinks a bit of history is at stake.
Officially, the Narrows 3A boys’ basketball title will not be settled Wednesday night when No. 6 Foss hosts No. 2 Lincoln. Plenty of other sideshows will be part of the attraction.
* Lincoln has three NCAA Division I type players in Tre’Shaun Fletcher (Colorado signee), Ahmaad Rorie (California commit as a junior) and Armond Davis, and Foss has one in Dezmyn Trent (Seattle University offer).
* In terms of metro schools, it does not get any deeper into the city than these two schools.
* Foss and Lincoln ain’t the best of friends.
Mutual respect exists – just in funny ways. But with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season – and the Abes clinging to a one-game lead in the standings via their earlier 65-57 win over Foss on Jan. 4 – the importance of this game is heightened.
“It is funny, because usually by the second time (the two teams play), one team or the other has pulled away in the standings – at least since I have been the head coach,” Foss coach Mike Cocke said. “For the league stuff being on the line, it is probably the biggest game the city has had in a while. Our kids understand if they take care of business, they can get a (Narrows 3A) tiebreaker game later on a neutral floor.”
Added Shelton, the Lincoln coach: “People should be coming to this game. When was the last time there were three kids with Div. I offers – high-profile kids are three of the best players in the state? And we are battling for the league title. We have not seen that much talent on a floor in Tacoma in a long time.”
* LINCOLN NOTES: Since the Abes’ 45-41 loss to Bellarmine Prep on Friday that knocked them out of the top spot in the 3A rankings, Shelton said he has seen a little improvement in the areas of his team that concerned him – notably effort and leadership. He also promises Lincoln will get back to being the aggressor on defense. … As far as Fletcher guarding Trent, Shelton expects that to happen on occasion, adding he’d like his senior to play off of him because he is such a quality help-side defender. “We will run fresh bodies at (Trent),” Shelton said. … After being held to a season-low eight points on 3-for-13 shooting, Rorie has been staying after practice to get up extra shots. Shelton said he expects the guard to have a big night. … Davis came off the bench against Bellarmine Prep as punishment for a “school thing,” Shelton said. He is expected to start against Foss.
* FOSS NOTES: The biggest change for the Falcons since the earlier game is that junior Tamariye Nelson, a transfer from Georgia, is in the starting lineup. He scored 10 points off the bench in the last meeting, and gives Foss not only an explosive scoring option, he also is laterally quick and has longer arms to disrupt some of the Lincoln guards – notably Rorie. “He will definitely be on Rorie at some points,” Cocke said. … When Cocke looks back at the last game, Foss trailed by two points heading into the final quarter – and Trent only played 95 seconds before fouling out. “One he fouled out, the wheels fell off,” Cocke said. … Guard Jericho Ballard has been hindered by a foot injury the past six games, but Cocke said the senior is close to fully healthy.