By Nick Johnson
Times Bulletin Correspondent
MIDDLE POINT — The Lincolnview Lancers welcomed the Spencerville Bearcats to Lincolnview High School on senior night for the Lancers as six seniors played their last home game in front of the Lancer faithful. The Lancers got a one-point victory over Northwest Conference foe Spencerville. Lincolnview’s 56-55 win means the Lancers and Bearcats share a runner-up finish in the NWC. Both squads finish 6-2 in conference.
The Lancers said goodbye to Kyle Williams, just the sixth Lincolnview boys’ basketball player to reach 1,000 points scored in a career, and Williams ranks second all-time in made 3-pointers. Lincolnview also says goodbye to fellow seniors Derek Friesner, Ethan Fraker, Conner McCleery, Eli Farmer and Logan Miller.
“We have six seniors that have given me four great years since we have been in the high school program. I wanted to send them out the right way, and Williams, McCleery and Farmer brought the energy tonight and great effort. Then we got Logan, Ethan and Derek, who have been great every day in practice and they really deserve this, to go out with a win,” said Lincolnview coach Brett Hammons.
On the night Williams was honored for point-scoring ability, the senior opened the game with a 3-pointer for the Lancers.
Spencerville cut the lead to 3-2 with two foul shots from Ben Bowers. After that, the Lancers went on a 9-0 run, getting a basket from fellow senior McCleery and four points from Hayden Ludwig and three from Justis Dowdy. The Lancers had an early 12-2 lead.
The Bearcats scored the next five, getting a 3-pointer from Mason Nourse and a basket from Zach Goecke, but a layup from Williams gave Lincolnview a 14-7 lead at the end of first period.
Lincolnview opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run a 3-pointer Farmer and three points from Ludwig to make the score 22-7.
The Bearcats used 3-pointers from Nourse and Bowers to cut the Lancers lead to 25-14, but Ludwig added four points before the break to give the Lancers a 29-18 halftime margin.
Spencerville wasn’t messing around to start the third quarter, as Nourse scored seven-straight points, including two triples, to cut the Lancer lead to four. The Bearcats used a layup from Goecke to cut the Lincolnview edge to two points but layups from Dowdy and McCleery to extend the lead back to 33-27.
Dakota Prichard got a steal and took the ball coast-to-coast for the Bearcats to make the score 35-31, Lincolnview, at the end of third stanza.
After Bowers’ jumper to start the fourth for Spencerville, Lincolnview got a 3-pointer from Williams and baskets from Dowdy and McCleery to increase the lead to 42-33.
Midway through the fourth period, a Nourse trey cut the Lancer lead to 44-40, but Lincolnview quickly countered with a three-point play from Dowdy to make it 47-40.
The Lancers had a 53-44 lead with three minutes left, but Spencerville got hot from beyond the arc, as Bowers drained two 3-pointers and Nourse connected on another one.
After two Goecke foul shots, the Bearcats were just down two with seconds left on the clock. Spencerville fouled Williams, who calmly drained two foul shots to give the Lancers a 56-52 lead.
With seconds ticking off the clock, Bowers knocked down a 3-pointer for Spencerville to make it 56-55 Lincolnview, but the Lancers quickly inbounded the ball and the horn sounded.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” said Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh. “We gave ourselves some chances in the second half, but we didn’t deserve to win, and they played harder than us all game. They beat us to the ball, they got offensive rebounds and loose balls. Our guys didn’t come ready to play, and we got what we deserved.”
“We didn’t shoot the ball well, and I think part of that isn’t not having the intensity we have had all year,’ Senasbaugh continued. “We were not in the right mind-frame. I can’t put my finger on it, I just know that wasn’t the team I had coached the last couple weeks.”
“Extremely proud of the players. We knew it was going to be our last game here, and we came in on a three-game losing streak and playing last night, a tough game against Wayne Trace, but we had to get back up for this game,” said Hammons. “I thought we battled all game long, and we were able to get out to an early lead. Luckily, we were able to hold Spencerville off at the end.”
The Bearcats had two scorers in double digits as Bowers had a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds and Nourse chipped in with 19 points for Spencerville. The Lancers had three players in double figures points as Ludwig had 15 points and seven rebounds, Williams added 13 points and Dowdy offered 12 points and nine boards in the Lancer victory.
Spencerville drops to 15-5 on the year whereas the Lancers improve to 11-11 on the season.
Score by quarters
Spencerville 7 11 13 24- 55
Lincolnview 14 15 5 21- 56
Nourse 19, Myers 0, Goecke 8, Bowers 24, Prichard 3, B. Croft 1, G. Croft 0, Long 0
Leeth 4, Williams 13, Dowdy 12, Adams 0, McCleery 8, Farmer 4, Ludwig 15