By T. Scott Boatright
The two schools may no longer play in the same district, but Saturday night’s gamet was a back-and-forth showdown that at times looked more like semi-controlled chaos than a hoops battle between traditionally powerful rivals.
And in the end, Lincoln Preparatory School ended up on the winning side of the scoreboard as the Panthers took a 56-43 win over Arcadia at the Jonesboro-Hodge High School Gym.
The Panthers roared out of the gates to start things off with a 12-0 before the Hornets quickly rebounded to pull within one point, 16-15, by the end of the opening stanza.
The momentum bounced back to the Panthers, who went on an 18-1 second-quarter run that propelled them to a 34-16 halftime advantage.
An early third-quarter run by Arcadia cut the Lincoln Prep lead to single digits, but the Panthers bent but never broke in the second half, maintaining a lead the rest of the way.
“I don’t know … I really don’t know what to say,” Hudson said of the game. “It kept changing. We start off with a 12-0 run then the next thing I know we’re only up one point. Then the next thing you know we go on a long run and get up by double digits again.
“The thing is, it’s about consistency. We’ve got to be consistent and we really we’re tonight. I understand basketball is a game of runs, but some of the stuff that happened tonight was self-inflicted. We have to focus on what they do offensively and what we do defensively and not let the other team dictate things.”
Lincoln Prep led by 10, 44-34, at the end of the third quarter, and Kobe Mack’s layup 22 seconds into the final stanza gave the Panthers a double-digit lead they maintained the rest of the way.
That didn’t mean doing so looked pretty, as a plethora of turnovers plagued the Panthers and both teams, actually, in a chaotic fourth quarter in which Lincoln Prep led by as many as 15 points after a pair of Mack free throws with 35.5 seconds remaining.
“So many of them were unforced,” Hudson said of those turnovers. “It got crazy out there at times. That’s getting away from what we do. I tell them that each possession matters. Just because we’re up 12 right now doesn’t mean we’ll be up by 12 two minutes from now. We’ve got to treat every possession like it’s our last and we sure didn’t do that tonight.”
“I like where we are and we should be OK, but basketball is a real fickle sport.” Hudson said. “Anything can happen in any given game. We just have to make sure we take things on games at a time, that we don’t overlook anybody, stay focused on what we’re going and just continue to get better.”
Mack double-doubled and led the Panthers with 19 points and 13 rebounds while adding a pair of steals and a block shot.
“The last two games he’s played really well,” Hudson said about Mack. “The thing with him is trying to figure out a way to build his confidence. Because they’re all kids, they get emotional and stuff sometimes. So we’ve got to work on finding some kind of way to build his confidence.”
Bralyn Mayfield also double-doubled for Lincoln Prep, totaling 14 points, 13 birds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot while Brandon Heard added 11 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists.
The Panthers also received nine points and a pair of steals from Trey Spann along with three points, seven assists and four rebounds from Stephen Burks, III.
Arcadia, now 13-10, was led by Ratrevious Crawley with 13 points.
Lincoln Prep, now 16-4 overall and 5-0 in 2-1A, returns to district play when the Panthers play host to St. Frederick on Tuesday night.