The start couldn’t have gone much worse for the Lincoln High boys basketball team.
And that didn’t lead to a great finish, either.
The Trojans fell behind 10-0 to start the game and never caught up to First Coast, losing 65-49 in the Region 1-7A quarterfinal.
“I don’t think they were nervous,” Lincoln coach Jay Hipps said. “I think they were loose enough to realize we had nothing to lose. A couple of mistakes here – a missed pass, a missed layup – and all of the sudden we’re down 10-zip.”
The Trojans, who won District 1-7A by beating Chiles and Ocala Forest last week, played their way out of the first-quarter funk and cut the Buccaneers lead to 23-18 at the half. Lincoln actually had a 3-pointer go in and out of the basket right with five seconds left in the second quarter that would have cut the lead to two.
But the Trojans lost their momentum during the halftime break.
“When we came out, we kind of lost sight of the things that we needed to do,” Lincoln freshman Alex Perry said.
Hipps saw it the same way.
“A couple of lapses on defense. A couple of mismatches and a missed assignment and we’re down 11,” Hipps said. “Then we’re playing catch-up and that’s not something we can do. We just don’t have the offensive firepower to play catch-up.”
The Trojans tried to rally, thanks to double-digit scoring efforts from Perry (11 points), Kameron Mack (11 points), Jahvaughn Powell (10 points) and Patrice Sarrazin (10 points).
But Lincoln simply couldn’t make the game-changing plays needed in the second half.
Credit First Coast for much of Lincoln’s struggles. The Buccaneers attacked the rim on nearly every possession. Brandon Ross had 16 points and Joel Cotton added 15 for First Coast.
But Lincoln didn’t help itself much, either. Turnovers, missed layups and untimely defensive lapses – all the signs of a young team that started two sophomores and no seniors – proved to be too much to overcome.
Despite the loss, Hipps said the postseason experience was good for his team. The Trojans won the district title as the No. 3 seed in the four-team district.
“I think it was a great experience,” Hipps said. “No matter what happened tonight, we’re still district champs. I think they are very excited about that, because I don’t think they expected that.”