Lincolnview senior Derek Friesner knocks down a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter of the Lancers’ loss to LCC on Friday night. Friesner’s three was one of only two that Lincolnview made in 15 attempts. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
MIDDLE POINT — It’s always special when Lima Central Catholic head coach Frank Kill brings his team to rural Middle Point to battle his alma mater. On Friday night, the Lincolnview athletic department made it a little more so.
During the pregame introductions, it was Kill, a 1997 graduate of Lincolnview and star on their state championship basketball team that year, who got the loudest ovation. The Lancer public address announcer made sure of that by recounting off of Kill’s accomplishments while he wore the Lancer blue and gold.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” Kill said following the game. “I get emotional easily, and that brought a tear to my eye.”
“That was very nice of them to do that, they didn’t have to do that,” Kill added. “That just shows the people that I continue to talk about and being family and being home. Buildings and everything change, but the people don’t. The athletic department and administration at Lincolnview High School… I can’t tell you what it means to me. It was very heartfelt.”
“It’s been 17 years since I played in these gyms, and the faces and the feelings have always been the same. I’m very grateful to have a family like this one.”
Unfortunately for the home crowd, welcoming their favorite son back was the most they had to cheer about. Kill’s Thunderbirds turned a 13-9 game after one quarter into a 41-11 contest by halftime. The T-birds would roll to a 74-32 victory.
“I though we started out the game playing pretty well,” said Lincolnview coach Brett Hammons. “But that second quarter, you know, we had tried to simulate what (LCC) was going to do to us in practice. We put as much pressure on our guards as we could, we were actually double-teaming them all practice long, but it’s just tough to simulate the pressure they put on.”
That constant on-ball pressure lead to 16 first-half turnovers by the Lancers including a dozen in what would be the decisive second quarter.
Martyce Kimbrough got the period started with a 3-pointer from the corner, then Xavier Simpson, just back from injury, followed with a three of his own, and, on the next possession, sophomore Tre Cobbs picked up a steal and took it all the way to the bucket and within the first two minutes of the quarter, the Thunderbirds had opened up a 12-point lead.
It didn’t end there.
More turnovers followed and even when the T-birds were missing shots, which wasn’t often, they were getting extra possessions by crashing the offensive boards. Six of the 11 rebounds grabbed by LCC in the period were on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Lancers had coughed up eight turnovers halfway through the quarter and had managed just two field goal attempts.
The Lancers would finally score at the two-minute mark on a bucket by Hayden Ludwig. That hoop put an end to a stunning 22-0 run by the Thunderbirds.
“We stress defense,” Kill noted of his team’s second-quarter outburst. “When you can turn your defense into offense like that, it’s really tough for another team to withstand that.”
“We’re a defensive team that, tonight, our offense was fueled by that defense,” Kill continued.
“When Tre Cobbs knocks down threes like that, we’re going to be really tough to beat,” Kill said. Cobbs connected on three from beyond the arc on Friday night. “Martyce Kimbrough, those are like layups to him, so for us to get a shooting performance from all three guards, and to come out the way we did in that second quarter was definitely a nice sight to see.”
Though the game wasn’t close, the Lancers mde an effort to be more aggressive in the seond half.
“We challenged (our players) at halftime,” Hammons added. “The way that second quarter ended and going into halftime, we challenged them about where their mindset’s at and their toughness is at. We wanted them to come out and battle, and in the third quarter, I think we did that.”
“I was pleased with their effort the whiole second half. Our defensive effort was better, we executed offensively better, and, like I told them in (the locker room), that’s something we can build on going into (Saturday) and the rest of the season,” Hammons concluded.
The Lancer junior varsity was victorious by a 57-47 final.
Score by quarters
LCC 13 28 20 13- 74
Lincolnview 9 2 10 11- 32
Simpson 13, Kimbrough 16, Cobbs 15, Walton 10, Williams 0, Stewart 4, O’Connor 0, White 6, Taflinger 3, Thomas 3, Schroeder 2, Stechshulte 0, Floyd 2
Leeth 2, Williams 7, Dowdy 7, Adams 0, McCleery 3, Ludwig 2, Farmer 3, Miller 5, Friesner 3, Fraker 0