Accidentally left out of the WVSSAC boys state tournament program, Lincoln used Thursday afternoon’s Class AA quarterfinals to let the rest of the field in on a little secret:
Lincoln, a team with 12-13 record entering play at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum, stunned second-seeded Bluefield during a 63-59 victory in the best game of the tourney so far.
The No. 7 Cougars, who trailed 14-12 after one period, withstood a 9-0, second-quarter run by Bluefield and bounced back to trail only 26-24 at halftime on Jonathan Leep’s late 3-pointer.
The teams stayed tight throughout a back-and-forth second half in which neither team led by more than three points. The two squads were tied 13 times in all.
Chase Riley scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the final quarter to lead Lincoln, which went ahead for good on his jumper with 2:26 remaining.
However, a pair of missed free throws by Riley with 17 seconds to play gave Bluefield one final opportunity. A shot missed the mark, however, and Riley rebounded the ball. He raced the length of the court to score a clinching layup.
Lincoln’s overly enthusiastic student section, moments earlier singing along to the appropriate Bon Jovi song “Livin’ on a Prayer,” erupted in celebration and was soon joined by the team.
Cory Fazalare added 11 points for Lincoln (13-13).
Mookie Collier scored 24 points and Ryan Davis 14, including eight to keep his team alive in the fourth quarter, as Bluefield’s season ended at 22-4.
Lincoln will play No. 3 Chapmanville in Friday’s semifinals.
|Charleston Civic Center|
|200 Civic Center Drive, Charleston, WV 25301, USA|