By Mike Curto
Lincoln’s dream of winning a state title for the first time since 2002 came crashing down on Friday night, as the Abes were blown out by Lakeside in the Class 3A boys’ basketball semifinals at the Tacoma Dome.
Lakeside used a 3-point barrage to build an early lead and never looked back on the way to a 86-67 victory.
Lakeside (24-4) will face Rainier Beach in the 3A championship on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Metro League rivals faced each other three times already this season, with Rainier Beach prevailing twice.
Lakeside jumped out to an 11-2 lead right out of the gate, behind sharpshooting senior Matthew Poplawski and speedy guard Tramaine Isabell.
Poplawski hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes, and was 6-for-9 from behind the arc for the game. He finished with 23 points.
Isabell was too quick for Lincoln defenders, leading the Lions fast break to a stream of easy baskets. Isabell scored 21 points and dished out seven assists.
“I don’t know if that team can play any better,” said Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton. “After the first minute they were up 11-2 and we thought that was their best shot. They kept throwing in more shots and more shots – they were shooting NBA threes and knocking them down.”
Two minutes into the second quarter, Lakeside held a 30-12 lead. Lakeside was 10-for-24 on 3-point attempts, including 8-for-14 in the first half.
Ahmaad Rorie led Lincoln with 28 points, while Tre’Shaun Fletcher had 14 points and ten rebounds.
Lincoln (22-4) will place in the tournament. The Abes play Franklin (19-10) in the 3rd/5th place game on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Our goal all year was to win state,” said Shelton. “We’ll see if we can bounce back tomorrow. We’ve had a really good season and we don’t want to end with two losses.”