Veteran Chargers rally to upend Lincoln, 64-62
PETERSBURG — First-year Lincoln coach Dave Mahurin said his team would be more offensive-minded this season, and behind Joel Sanders' career-high 22 points, the Alices did just that against Pike Central in their first game Wednesday.
They just didn't have the finishing touch against the more veteran Chargers.
Kendric Sorgius' three-point play with 2.2 seconds left put Pike Central ahead by two, and Zach Steffey's half-court heave at the buzzer was just long, allowing the Chargers to steal a 64-62 victory.
Sanders had an efficient shooting night, netting 6-of-7 three-pointers in his career night, but he wasn't the only one providing offense for Lincoln. Darrius Hill joined in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Wade Hall chipped in 11 points.
All six of the Alices' primary rotation had at least five points, though Lincoln was without injured senior Luke Tolliver, who Mahurin said could be available next game.
Mahurin was mostly pleased with his team's performance against a Pike Central team that returns all of its key pieces from a squad that was a buzzer beater away from winning last year's sectional. The Chargers had their best three in double figures, Julian Gish led with 20, Quade Morton had 18 and Sorgius 16.
“I came in here not knowing if we'd be able to compete or not. I'm not making excuses, but we have a lot of guys out there who were unproven on the floor,” Mahurin said. “You take Tolliver off with an injury, who's our only real known quantity at the guard position, but we competed well.
“We had them on the ropes, and we can learn from this. All I ever ask of them is to compete as hard as you can and give yourselves a chance to win, and we did that.”
Lincoln led through much of the second half in a back-and-forth contest, and it was a Sanders' 3-pointer with 2:55 remaining that put the Alices up, 59-57. Following a Chargers miss, Sanders drilled another trifecta with 2:36 left to push the margin to five.
Pike Central missed again, but Lincoln turned it over in a rush to push it up the floor, and Gish's layup cut the Chargers' deficit to 62-59 with just over two minutes left. Lincoln milked some clock before Hill was rejected on what initially appeared to be an open look with about 40 ticks to go.
Morton's driving hoop with 25 seconds left made it 62-61, and Zach Steffey was fouled with :16 showing. Steffey missed his first bonus attempt, and the Chargers ran a nice set play to get Sorgius an open shot under the hoop. He was fouled on the make and put in his free throw for a two-point Pike Central lead. Steffey's half-court attempt was well-guarded by the Chargers.
Sanders scored nine and Hill four for all of Lincoln's fourth-quarter points. Gish scored 13 in the second half.
“They beat us. They made the plays to beat us, which is totally different than us rolling over,” Mahurin said. “We made some mistakes, which we're going to do, but I told the kids I still love them. We've got 20 more of these to go, and our goal is the same as when we came here, win one game.
“Joel's a great kid, and he shot it well. Everyone played well for us. Darrius, when he figures out how big, strong and good he can be, he's got a chance to play at the next level. He needs to continue getting experience, but I loved what he did for us.”
Morton had the game's first points with a long two, but Gus McCrary 3-pointers bookended a 10-point Lincoln run. The biggest lead was at 17-7, but the Chargers finished with a fury to get within 17-14 after one.
More from this section
Morton scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. The second quarter alone had five lead changes and three ties, including the halftime score, 30-30.
Lincoln did well in the third period, putting up 19 points, a number it only hit three times in a single quarter last season, and the Alices carried a 49-44 edge into the fourth. Sanders drained a 3 to begin the final stanza for an eight-point lead. Pike Central came back with the next seven points, including fast-break dunks by Sorgius and Gish, but Lincoln stayed poised.
“I was disappointed with our offense early. We struggled to maintain our composure against their athleticism early and didn't run what we wanted to run,” Mahurin said. “In the second half, the offense operated efficiently, even our sideline out of bounds plays operated well. It was the first game of the year, and we didn't finish, but I'll take it.
“Last year we averaged 41 points per game. We scored 64 tonight, and it could have been 70.”
Lincoln's junior varsity won a thriller, 48-47, as Luke Hall drained a 25-footer at the buzzer to lift the Alices. Raden Benson led the JV with 18 points, but Hall scored all 15 of his points in the fourth period to spur Lincoln's comeback.
Lincoln hosts Evansville Reitz at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2.
PIKE CENTRAL 64, LINCOLN 62
McCrary (f) 2-7 0-0 6, Hill (f) 5-10 2-3 12, Hall (f) 5-6 0-0 11, Steffey (g) 2-7 1-3 5, Sanders (g) 7-9 2-2 22, Hambrick 3-5 0-0 6, Gillis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-44 5-8 62.
Sorgius (f) 6-10 3-4 16, P. Howald (f) 1-5 0-0 3, B. Howald (g) 0-0 2-2 2, Gish (g) 8-14 1-2 20, Morton (g) 7-14 3-3 18, Ridao 0-1 0-0 0, Mason 2-4 0-2 5. Totals: 24-48 9-13 64.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Lincoln |17-13-19-13 — 62
Pike Central |14-16-14-20 — 64
3-pointers: Lincoln 9-17 (Sanders 6-7, McCrary 2-6, Hall 1-1, Steffey 0-2, Hambrick 0-1), Pike Central 7-19 (Gish 3-7, P.Howald 1-2, Sorgius 1-3, Mason 1-3, Morton 1-4). Rebounds: Lincoln 23 (Hill 10), Pike Central 16 (P.Howald 5). Turnovers: Lincoln 15, Pike Central 8. Fouls: Lincoln 12, Pike Central 12. JV: Lincoln 48-47.