By John Goralski
Lincoln College needed a player to come up big as they took on the junior varsity team at Post University. The Eagles are a division two team in the NCAA, while Lincoln College competes in the third division of junior college programs.
So Conrad Booker scoring a couple of baskets early was a good sign, right? Booker’s three pointer to give him seven at the half had to be good news. Nine points in the contest would be just the edge that Lincoln needed, wouldn’t it?
Last year it would have been great. This year, Booker was scoring against his former team.
“I’m real proud Conrad, and so is the rest of my staff,” said Wildcat coach John Wasielewski. “It’s such a great thing to see former players who have worked hard and are now playing at the next level. In this case, it’s a couple levels above us at NCAA DII. He definitely is going to be a great addition to the Post squad.”
Booker is one of two alumni playing basketball at the next level,and that’s a good sign for the program, but it didn’t help on Monday, Dec. 3 when Booker helped lift Post over Lincoln to spark a three-game losing streak for his former team.
“We came out real strong at the very beginning, but against a DII team, no lead is ever big enough,” said Wasielewski. “We really didn’t do a good job on the boards in the first half and that kind of gave Post the momentum. They got second chance scoring opportunities which they converted most of the time. When you give this team a second or third chance to shoot on a possession, they are going to make you pay.”
Tylon Holmes paced the Wildcats at the start. Lincoln built a lead of eight points in the early mintues, forcing Post to take an early timeout. The Eagles regained the lead, but Lincoln trailed by just three points at the half.
Holmes paced the attack with 32 points, going 5-for-9 from three point range. Sean Douglas powered the Wildcats in the second half, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Mat Correa collected 11 points with five assists and five steals. Alonzo Chaz Oates scored 11, but Post never trailed after the break.
Post opened up a 15 point lead in the second half and held on for a 105-92 win.
“We did score 92, but it was one of those cases where we had to work way too hard for a majority of those points,” Wasielewski said. “It was a tough game against a real tough opponent, but I think we didn’t do too badly despite the loss.”
UConn wins a tight one
The Wildcats trailed by seven at the break. The Huskies posted five players in double digit scoring, but with two minutes to go, Lincoln pulled within two points of the lead. On Thursday, Dec. 6, Lincoln College lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, but they didn’t go down without a fight.
“This was a very winnable game for us and a very tough loss to a division opponent,” said Wasielewski. “Once again, we had no trouble putting points on the board. It was just some fundamentals like boxing out and defensive rotations that we didn’t do. We weren’t crashing on the boards as a team on either end and that really hurt us.”
Two Wildcats battled for double-doubles in a balanced attack. Douglas led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Correa contributed 14 points with 11 assists. Charles Davis returned to the lineup to post 14 points off the bench, and Howell McFarlane went 3-for-6 from the perimeter for 13 points.
Bristol wins nail biter
Holmes slashed toward the basket to draw a foul, and his two free throws knotted the game, 66-66, in the last minute of the contest. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Wildcats were in their third heated battle of the week. For the third time in a row, that rally fell short.
“This game was a real tough one to lose. We know we could’ve easily beaten them, but once again it’s those little things that are coming back to get us,” said Wasielewski. “I’m confident that we will get better.”
The Wildcats struggled through the game, shooting just 42.9 percent from the free throw line (12-for-28). As a result, Bristol Community College maintained a two-point lead throughout the first half.
Holmes (4 steals) powered the Wildcats with 19 points. Correa (5 assists) scored 12 points, and McFarlane added 10. Robinson came off the bench to score eight points with five steals, but it wasn’t enough.
Holmes tied the game, 66-66, after converting a pair of late freethrows. Bristol took the lead but missed the back end of a 1-and-1 on the next possession. The Wildcats had two attempts to secure the lead because of a clock malfunction but Bristol intercepted a pass to clinch the win.
With the loss, Lincoln dropped below .500 for the first time this season. At 5-4, the Wildcats will have one more chance to even their record before the break at Mass Bay CC on Saturday, Dec. 15.