Lincoln falls to Sacramento 85-64

Zebras led by a point late in the third quarter
By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s boys basketball team gave the top-ranked Sacramento Dragons all they could handle on Friday night. However the visiting Zebras, the No. 8 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division III, eventually fell to No. 1 Sacramento 85-64 in this second round playoff game. The Zebras (22-6) trailed 44-32 at the half but battled back to lead 54-53 when senior star Keenan Hale sunk two free throws with two minutes left in the third quarter. Sacramento then scored the final four points of the quarter to lead 57-54 entering the fourth. Lincoln hung around and trailed by just a single point, 59-58, with six minutes remaining in the game. The Dragons, led by point guard Josiah Turner, then went on a 22-4 run to go up 81-62 with 2:20 remaining. Lincoln’s coach Ben Palafox and his players were excited about how they battled Sacramento. “We played extremely well – our kids stepped up,” Palafox said. The game turned when Lincoln turned it over three times in a row and Sacramento scored nine consecutive points early in the fourth quarter. The run put the Dragons up 68-58 with 4:57 left in the game. The Dragons are trying to reach the section championship game for the sixth consecutive season and they ended Lincoln’s season in the second round of the playoffs last year as well. The game wasn’t as competitive last year as Sacramento (22-6) won 86-43 before eventually winning the section crown. “I say it was definitely the best game we’ve played all year,” said Hale, who led Lincoln with 29 points. “Playing against easily the best team in the section and we were right there and gave them a good run.” Hale made at least two baskets in each quarter, sunk four 3-pointers and threw down a monster dunk in the second quarter. “We looked at it as four, eight-minute games . . . we just didn’t do good in that last quarter,” Hale said. Senior guard Dusty Foster (16 points) helped Hale out on offense while junior Kevin Sigrist scored six points and senior Steven Bobyk had five. Hale really enjoyed his final game for the Zebras. “It was a blast – all four years have been a blast,” Hale said. Turner scored a game-high 37 points and didn’t even make a basket in the second or third quarter. He scored 19 points in the opening quarter added 12 more in the fourth quarter. Turner made 14-of-18 free throws overall. “(Turner) is amazing,” said Hale about the guard that also lit it up (35 points) in Sacramento’s first-round playoff victory over No. 14 Hogan. Hale said he is considering his options for college. He has been offered a basketball scholarship by Chico State but he says he is also considering San Francisco State and Cal Poly.