Prep boys basketball: Smithton crashes boards, beats Lincoln in tourney opener
The eighth-seeded Smithton Tigers overpowered ninth-seeded Lincoln inside and made two rare 3-pointers Friday night to win the first-round game of the Kaysinger Conference boys basketball tournament 48-35 at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
Smithton (5-16) will take on top-seeded Cole Camp in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Lincoln (2-17) will meet an undetermined opponent at 6 p.m. Monday in a consolation bracket game.
On Friday night, the Tigers outrebounded Lincoln 33-17 overall and 13-4 on offense.
“They rebounded well,” Lincoln coach Tyler Burke said. “They rebound well for their size. We’ve struggled with rebounding all year. We’re young and we’re small.”
Smithton’s rebounding prowess was illustrated best in the first and third quarters. The Tigers outrebounded Lincoln 9-3 in the first while building a 13-6 lead. In the third, they outrebounded Lincoln 11-6 to extend a 10-point halftime lead to as many as 17 midway through the quarter.
The Tigers picked up their aggressiveness in the third quarter.
“That’s kind have been our game all year is to attack and run up and down the floor,” Smithton coach Rich Pond said. “We’re quick but not big. The more we can run the better we are. We’ve just got to learn to make a layup once in a while.”
Smithton’s leading scorer, Dane Apsher, faced double- and triple-teams all night but still scored 15 points, making 11 of 13 free throws and a pair of putbacks in the fourth quarter to help keep the Tigers’ lead in double digits.
Guard Jeffery Bell joined Apsher in double figures for the Tigers.
Bell scored 10 points.
“Jeff shot the ball really well. We needed that,” Pond said. “(Tyler) Gerke and Preston McMullen both had a 3 tonight. I don’t think we’ve made a 3 in the last four games.”
Gerke and McMullen hit their 3-pointers in the second quarter, where the Tigers held a 14-11 scoring edge and took a 27-17 halftime lead.
Smithton scored 10-straight points in the third to turn a 27-20 advantage into a 17-point lead.
Lincoln came back, though, on Brock Young’s second 3-pointer of the quarter and a basket in the paint, and Brandon Mellen drove the baseline for two points, allowing Lincoln to slice its deficit to 38-27 by the start of the fourth quarter.
Young finished with a team-high 12 points for Lincoln. Corbin Mertgen had eight and Mellen finished with six.
Smithton vs. Cole Camp
5:30 p.m. Saturday at Davis Multipurpose Center
Lincoln vs. TBD
6 p.m. Monday at Davis Multipurpose Center
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