Lincoln shows no mercy against Pasadena in regional semis
In the state playoffs nothing is supposed to be easy. On Saturday night in the Division II SoCal Regional Semifinals, Lincoln certainly made it look easy, drubbing visiting Pasadena 81-45 to take their next step towards a state title.
“We just knew that we had to come out here and play hard,” said Lincoln guard Norman Powell. “We all got on the same page and said ‘Let’s go out here and crush them.’”
And that is exactly what second-seed Lincoln did, grabbing control of the game early with their pressure and pace. Ahead 28-8 after the first quarter, the Hornets didn’t let up on sixth-seed Pasadena.
“In quite a few games we have blown leads so I just wanted to make sure to let them know we couldn’t let off the gas or take them for granted,” said Lincoln head coach Jason Bryant. “We just wanted to make sure they kept their foot on the gas and kept pushing and pressuring until the end of the game.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Lincoln’s lead was so decisive that the mercy rule came into effect. Because the Hornets (28-2) had a 40-point lead, the final four minutes of the game were played with a running clock, something Bryant hadn’t seen this season.
“Especially not this deep in the playoffs,” Bryant said. “I anticipated it being a tougher game. Pasadena is a good team, but we were just super focused and ready to what we needed to do.”
Lincoln’s pressure overwhelmed Pasadena (26-8) from the start, and that combined with hot shooting in the first quarter helped the Hornets score the first 12 points of the game and build a commanding lead. Lincoln didn’t cool off in the second quarter and led by 24 at the half.
“We feed off each other’s energy,” Powell said. “So when somebody is hot, the role players step up and they hit shots because the leaders are hitting shots.”
With Lincoln still pushing late in the third quarter, Hornets forward Victor Dean put home a two-handed dunk to make it a 67-29 game. From there, Lincoln’s reserves played the fourth quarter as the Hornets closed out a lopsided victory.
“I don’t think anybody can handle our pressure when we’re all on the same page,” Powell said.
Powell scored a game-high 29 points, including 11 in the first quarter. There were points in the game where the junior couldn’t be stopped.
“We were waiting for him to have a great game in these playoffs and that’s probably his first really good game,” Bryant said. “It has been a team effort to this point, but today was Norman’s day.”
Powell seemingly had it all working against Pasadena. He scored inside and outside and had a couple big dunks, including a poster worthy effort in the third quarter.
“I just do what my coach asks me to do and he needed me to score tonight,” Powell said. “I just put it on myself to have one of my best games.”
For Pasadena, guard George Toyama led the way with 15 points. The Bulldogs had won nine of their past 10 games coming in.
With the win, Lincoln advances to next Saturday’s SoCal Regional Final, where they will meet fifth-seed Compton at 4 p.m. at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California. The Hornets are now one win away from playing for a state title.
“It means everything because this is a not even a three-year old program,” Bryant said. “We’re just trying to re-create what the team in 94 did – they went all the way to the state championship and won. That’s been our goal all year hopefully we can get it done.”
Lincoln – 81 (28-18-27-8)
Powell 29, Dean 17, Tyree Robinson 10, Tyrell Robinson 5, Maxey 2 (starters) Byrd 6, Kirkland 4, Simpson 4, K. Smith 2, J. Smith 2
Pasadena – 45 (8-14-13-10)
Toyama 15, Lewis Jr. 10, Jolley 4, Barber 2, Bridges 0 (starters) Daniels 4, Holden 4, Shares 2
Lincoln guard Norman Powell puts up a floater against Pasadena
More like this:
- Lincoln shocked by Summit in state regional finals — March 19, 2011
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- Lincoln rolls Clovis North in state debut — March 10, 2011
- Division II: Lincoln vs. Hoover — March 4, 2011
- Lincoln ousts Compton to advance to state finals — March 21, 2010