LINCOLN–(KFOR Dec. 20)–Lincoln Northeast has managed to lose three games early in the boys basketball season, all by close margins. But the Rockets heading into an early season rivalry match up with Lincoln High Friday night seemed to have a greater chance of earning their second win.
It didn’t come easy.
The Rockets bounced back from being down as much as four points in the second half and counted on back to back three-pointers from 6-2 junior guard Pierce Bazil and free throws from 5-8 point guard Jake Bard to earn a 74-68 win over the Links, before an estimated crowd of 2,000 to watch the city’s oldest rivalry at the Ed Johnson Gym and a game heard on KFOR.
Northeast (2-3) rallied back to tie the game at 48 off a 15-foot jump shot from senior guard Carson Busch. Both teams would trade baskets, but 6-7 junior center Connor Renard scored six points during a stretch and Northeast led 59-54.
The Links (0-5) tightened things up when Livon Ramsey scored to pull to within three, but the Rockets answered back on a basket from Bazil to go up 61-56.
Bazil nailed a three-pointer from the deep left corner and followed up with the same shot on the next Northeast possession before Lincoln High’s Simon Perkins answered with a three-pointer with 1:49 to play in the game, with the Rockets up 67-62.
After a time out, Northeast decided to run the clock down and Bazil and Bard combined for 7-of-10 shooting from the free throw line that essentially secured the win. Bazil finished with 21 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, while Bard added 13 for the Rockets.
The game was tied at 13 after one quarter and after Northeast sprinted to a 22-15 lead, Lincoln High went on a 9-0 run, behind the shooting of Jaxson Barber, to go up 24-22 late in the first half. The Rockets finished the half on a 6-0 run to take a 28-24 lead at halftime.
Barber finished with a game-high 24 points in the Links’ loss, while Ramsey added 18 and Perkins chipped in 12 points.
Renard had 14 and Busch with 11 points to help in Northeast’s victory.