City Boys Hoops: Washington at Lincoln [PREVIEW]
The Lincoln boys basketball team was a 5-0 in December. January the Pats are 1-5 including a 60-53 loss at home Friday night to Brandon Valley.
Coach Jeff Halseth hasn't lost faith in this club that has lost four in a row.
"They don't give up and fight to the very end," said Halseth.
But he added this is a team that has trouble playing consistently for 32 minutes.
Halseth said part of practices recently is concentrating on higher intensity levels.
The other parts of the Patriot's game Halseth has been preaching are offensive patience and cutting down on giving the opponent second opportunities.
Against rival Washington Saturday, the Patriots have to avoid sluggish minutes and not take the Warriors too lightly.
The Pats trounced WHS 62-35 a few weeks ago as Washington shot only 24 percent for the game.
"Our defense was pretty good that night," said Halseth. "They now have gotten some confidence from the perimeter with a couple of kids who can shoot the '3' and you've got to go guard them because they could go off. They have some big horses down low, too, and we need to did a good job on them as well."
Halseth harps to his team that the game is all about rebounds, getting to the line and turnovers. He feels his team is losing in all three of those categories.
Lincoln is a good free-throw shooting team at 74 percent coming into the weekend, but have 66 fewer attempts on the season.
With the loss Friday night to Brandon Valley, the comfortable lead in District 2 has vanished for Lincoln and they now find themselves the second seed behind the Lynx.
The Patriots have four starters scoring in double-figures a contest lead by Addison Park, Adam Jaros and Nermin Krdzalic all near 13 points a game. Calvin Krause chips in 12 a game.
Meanwhile, Washington comes into the game only 4-9 but have been playing much better.
First year coach Craig Nelson sites better guard play and cutting down the number of turnovers.
They played good defense but couldn't score early in the year. Now, they have been scoring but unable to put the clamps on.
For the month the Warriors have a 2-6 record, one win better than Lincoln.
"We're getting the looks we want, but we've got to figure out how to finish plays. We've got to produce," Nelson said. "I really like how our team has looked in the last two weeks. We just need to be more consistent scoring and defending."
The Warriors have been without their potential scoring leader. Junior Brett Stanley, who is 6-3 and long and athletic, was hurt in game three Dec. 14 in a 70-44 loss at Brookings. He tore his PCL in his right knee. He didn't require surgery. He has been back now for three games but hasn't been as explosive or confident with or without the ball. However, he did score ten points Tuesday against Brandon Valley.
Senior guard Ty Wiley has given the Warriors the needed outside presence as he hit six 3-pointers against Roosevelt. He also had 12 points on three 3-pointers in the 55-48 win Tuesday versus Brandon Valley.
Wing Alex Willis and center Grant Lewis have also stepped up their contributions as Nelson is staying positive about his team.
"I absolutely love the way our guys are working," Nelson said. They're bringing the energy they need to."
Class AA Boys District Standings