Justis Dowdy, right, is shown turning down a screen in this file photo. Dowdy scored all 13 of his points on Saturday in the first half, but Lincolnview lost to Antwerp 66-58. (TB file photo)
By Joe Shouse
ANTWERP — On a personal level, if Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons and Antwerp head coach T.J. Hammer had their way, the game played Saturday night at Antwerp would never have tipped off. Not because one team would over-power the other, but because of the close friendship they have developed over the years.
“We went to college together and became very good friends. We were even roommates while attending Defiance College. This was tough to do tonight,” said Hammer. But setting aside the friendship, both teams played a very competitive game with the Archers prevailing down the stretch, 66-58.
The Lancers relied on the emotional play of forward Justis Dowdy in the first half. The junior tallied 13 of his team’s 26 first-half points. But foul troubled plagued Dowdy in the second half, and he was held scoreless while spending time on the bench. “That’s been trouble for us all season. Our defense isn’t very good right now and we pick up too many fouls,“ said Coach Hammons.
It was a dog fight throughout the contest with neither team taking control in the first half. Lincolnview managed a three point lead on a three-pointer from Eli Farmer in the first period but the Archers answered with a 6-0 run to close out the first quarter holding a 15-12 margin.
Antwerp’s 6-4 center Trenton Copsey opened the second period with a soft jumper in the paint to widen the Antwerp lead 17-12, but two buckets by Kyle Williams and a triple from Dowdy quickly put the Lancers back on top 19-17 with 4:19 remaining.
The Archer’s turned it around to hang on with a four point cushion prior to halftime, but Dowdy came through for the Lancers with a traditional three-point play to pull Lincolnview to within one at intermission, 27-26.
The third frame appeared to belong to Kyle Williams, who came out looking for his shot and banging home his team’s first nine points. That effort gave the Lancers their largest lead of the night at 35-28. Williams, who was held to just four points in the first half finished with 23 to lead all scorers.
“Kyle played very well and really stepped it up in the second half. Overall I was pleased with our offensive effort. It is our defense where we need to get better,” said Hammons.
Also in double figures for the Lancers was sophomore Chandler Adams, who finished with 11.
Antwerp answered the Lancers seven-point lead with a three-pointer from Derek Smalley and a basket from Sam Williamson. Sandwiched between the two scores was a basket by Trenton Copsey, who was spotted in the paint on an out-of-bounds play. The junior center timed his ally-oop jump perfectly for a timely Archer basket.
Copsey finished the night with 18 points to lead the Archer attack. Joining Copsey with double-digit scoring was Kaden Brumett with 17, Derek Smalley with 15, and Sam Williamson with 10.
The teams entered the final eight minutes even at 42-42 and no lead was larger than three points until Smalley collected himself for a long-range three-pointer to push the Archers in front 54-50 with 2:15 remaining.
In the closing minutes, Lincolnview found themselves struggling to score and missing several close range shots. The Archers were in the double bonus at the free throw line and were able to hang on by hitting eight free throws in the final minute.
“(Antwerp) made plays and we didn’t. We missed too many easy bunnies and it cost us,” said Hammons.
With the loss, the Lancers fall back to even at 6-6 while the Archers improve to 7-5.
Score by quarters
Lincolnview 12 14 18 16- 58
Antwerp 15 12 15 24- 66
Leeth 2, Williams 23, Dowdy 13, Adams 11, McCleery 2, Farmer 3, Ludwig 4
Copsey 18, Brumett 17, Smalley 15, Williamson 10, Jones 4, Stout 2