Trojans top Lions in double-overtime

Trojans top Lions in double-overtime


Trojans top Lions in double-overtime


Lincoln point guard JahVaughn Powell hopped around his backcourt and pounded his dribble emphatically as time wound down.

He couldn’t help but let his elation bubble over after willing his team to victory with every little steal, rebound or driving layup he could muster against Leon.

Because this was no ordinary win. This was a 19-point second-half comeback in just under 12 minutes. This was another double overtime thriller just weeks after Leon squeaked out a 68-65 victory in extra time.

No, Powell and his Trojans teammates dug deep and pulled out a 72-66 win in Thursday’s District 2-7A title game at Chiles.

“My coach just said take it one step at a time,” said Powell, who scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and overtime. “Cut it to 12, cut it to eight by a certain point and then just keep pushing from there. Our motto is ‘Never give up.’ We’re a team and we stick together . . . and we know we’ll get it done in the end.”

It was a Powell steal and layup, followed by a 3-pointer that ignited Lincoln (19-7) late in the third quarter. The Leon lead was cut to 10 to start the fourth. Powell slashed the deficit to two with 3:48 left. With a full-court pressing defense activated, Trojans sophomore Alex Perry picked a steal for a layup, and Powell hit three free throws shortly after to give the Trojans a three-point lead.

“He’s our emotional leader,” Lincoln coach Dimitric Salters said of his versatile senior. “When he’s not scoring, he’s keeping the team involved positively. He makes steals, gets rebounds, he causes havoc on defense. He ignites us in so many different ways. He’s the key to our team both offensively and defensively.”

Lions guard Willie Willis hit a trey at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, and Leon (18-8) had a four-point lead in the first overtime and a two-point lead with 21 seconds left with possession of the ball. But the lead slipped away on a turnover, which Powell turned into a coast-to-coast layup to tie.

In the second overtime, Perry and Isiah Tillman off the bench scored crucial points to grab the lead back. Powell sealed the game with two free throws at the end.

“This was an intense game,” Lions coach Rick Davis said. “We just need to take better control of the basketball. We played careless in the second half. They ran at us in the fourth quarter, we panicked and started throwing the ball away.”

Leon committed 18 turnovers after halftime compared with Lincoln’s seven. Cedrick Harper scored a team-high 15 points for the Lions, while grabbing 20 rebounds, blocking five shots and picking four steals.

Malik Griffin (15 points), Willis (13 points) and Marvin Biggins (11 points) also scored effectively, but the collapse and resulting loss means Leon will hit the road in the first round of the playoffs next week.

Lincoln guard Kameron Mack scored an evenly distributed 17 points, including two 3s in the fourth quarter, while Tillman scored 14 points and pulled in five rebounds and Perry scored 11 to go with 14 rebounds.

“He had a minor injury, but the last three games he’s been the Isiah of old,” Salters said. “We need him off the bench, we need him to play big. He showed up tonight rebounding, scoring and doing everything we needed him to do in a reserve role.”

Powell’s stat tally consisted of six rebounds, six steals, five assists and two blocks. Plus one signature win in his senior year to accomplish Step 1 of the goals he set at the beginning of the year.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that you get the first round at your home place where we’re undefeated so far,” Powell said. “You can’t do nothing but be excited.”


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