Boys Basketball: Lincoln outlasts Marshall in overtime to take over second place

Lincoln senior guard Chris Young drives past a Marshall defender on Friday at Marshall High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

Marshall High School forward Mark Alexander’s performance against Lincoln on Friday quickly went from a night to a remember to a night he’d likely want to forget.

The 6-foot-6 senior made his first nine shots from the floor, scored a game-high 27 points and was dominant on the boards, but made one crucial mistake.

With the game tied at 63-63 with 19 seconds remaining, Alexander found himself all alone on a breakaway and went up for a dunk. The try bounced off the back rim and hit the ceiling, and visiting Lincoln took advantage of it’s new life to win 76-71 in overtime.

Marshall senior forward Mark Alexander goes up for a layup in the lane against Lincoln on Friday at Marshall High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“I can’t take too much away from him, because outside of that one miss, he played one hell of a game for us tonight,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles. “There’s nothing I can say negative about him. I would have preferred for him to make it, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

With a second chance in overtime, the Mustangs (9-10, 4-1) hit a setback of their own.

Lincoln senior guard Ares Brown, who scored a team-high 24 points in regulation, fouled out with 2:41 left in overtime, but fellow senior Chris Young rose to the occasion.

Young scored nine of Lincoln’s 13 points in overtime, finished with 23 points and hit four consecutive free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.

“Chris is pretty sick and he played the whole game. He didn’t come out of the game once and didn’t complain,” said Lincoln head coach Matt Jackson. “He’s just a warrior and has so much heart. I don’t think there’s anyone in this league that plays with as much heart as he does.”

The Mustangs also got a lift from an unlikely source to pull ahead in overtime.

After Alexander gave the Phoenix a 69-68 lead on a put-back with 1:23 remaining, senior guard Remfel Ganal stole a ball from a Marshall guard on the next possession and fed senior guard Nick Young streaking down the middle of the court. Young, standing at 6-1, skied for a dunk to give the Mustangs some cushion.

“He came off the bench ready to play,” Jackson said of Ganal. “He’s a senior who has given up a lot of playing time and he just wants his team to win, but when he’s called on, he gives 110 percent. He’s a great free throw shooter too and he’s quick as hell.”

Lincoln senior guard Ares Brown drives into the lane between two Marshall defenders on Friday at Marshall High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Even though Brown fouled out in the game’s most crucial stage, he was Lincoln’s most consistent scoring threat in regulation and went 5-for-5 from 3-point range.

Still, Marshall (6-9, 3-2) largely outplayed the Mustangs in the half-court game, but after every Lincoln made basket, the Mustangs went into a full-court press and it payed dividends.

The Mustangs’ press played a large role in forcing 32 Marshall turnovers, 19 coming on Lincoln steals. The press also wore down the Marshall starting lineup, most of which played the entire game due to the Phoenix having just seven players on their roster.

“They were tired, but it was also the indecisive decision making from our sophomore guards,” Miles said. “They’re getting better against the pressure, but they have a long way to go. I can’t expect any more from them then what they’re giving me.”

Marshall’s roster issues will continue in the near future, but Miles expects the return of as many as three players when grade reports are submitted in three weeks. The influx of players will not only help during games, but when the Phoenix practice, allowing Miles to put two full squads on the floor.

“At this point, all I can do is hope that we can stay healthy and that we can finish the season at a level higher than we are at now,” Miles said.

Scoring Leaders

Ares Brown – 24
Chris Young – 23
Nick Young – 16
Seth Snoddy – 5
Mitchell Lee – 4

Mark Alexander – 27
Preston Deming – 13
Aumen Holliday – 13
Mizell Parker – 12
Two players tied with 3 points

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  1. Kezar for Keeps says:

    These stories are starting to really bother me. Marshall playing with 7 kids, Lincoln girls paying with 6, ISA and Jordan girls canceling their seasons. It’s a crying shame. The reality is that most of those schools have loads of talent on campus, but for whatever reason, can’t or won’t play. Most often, it is grades. Marshall has just as much talent walking the hallways than on the floor. It’s on the coaches, the teachers, the administrators and most importantly the kids. I know we try to blame everyone else for our problems, but come on guys, it’s not difficult to get a 2.0 in high school and if you do, you can play high school sports, an experience you will cherish forever. There is so much potential in the public schools that goes wasted and I’m tired of seeing it year after year.

    • GCJ01 says:

      I agree with you Kezar. Obtaining a 2.0 is not hard at all. The funny thing is, they even lowered the credit requirement in some schools (like Burton) that kids need in order to graduate. The kids need to focus on their school work just as much as they do playing sports (although I’m a believer that acadimics are far more important).

      Marshall’s problem is that their players do not make the grades. I don’t know how long Marshall has had this problem. When I was playing in the late 90’s, they didn’t have this problem. They were able to field basketball teams at least with a bench that was ten deep.

      Times have changed a lot since then. The bigger shock is that Lincoln only has less than ten people on their women’s basketball team. RIght now they are playing with six because three of their players are injured. However, a school that is known to produce good basketball teams only has nine players this year is disturbing.

      We can’t blame the low enrollment because enrollment at Lincoln is hardly an issue. Grade is out of the question as well. So, I’m guessing the interest might be declining. Whatever the reason, any team that has to field a team under ten players or has to cancel their season is sad. The unfortunate thing is that there is no “quick-fix” solution to this problem.

      • Don L. says:

        Let me share something about my academic experiences as a former AAA athlete at Wallenberg (cross country / fencing) back in the late 80’s / early 90’s. During my freshman year at Wallenberg, we didn’t have sports yet. I seem to recall my GPA was a decent 2.8 or so.

        When Wallenberg put together it’s sports program the next season, I signed up for a couple things I thought I could do. I can’t identify the reason why, but my GPA for both my sophomore and junior seasons were barely above 2.0. You could blame my participation in sports, lack of focus or whatever. However, I don’t think it was a problem with the teachers. I actually got some D’s at some point during these years so I got the grades corrected by going to summer school.

        When my senior year rolled around, I didn’t know what to expect. However, my senior year was the BEST I ever had. I was above a 3.0 GPA and on the honor roll the whole year. I can’t identify the change. I just recall that things seemed “easier” than it was years before. Maybe it was some maturity. What also helped was that I only had classes in the early part of the day as I was a TA after lunch and had a athlete’s study hall for sixth period. That gave me plenty of time to study and do what I needed to do.

        All this time, I didn’t have much school support. I chose to go to summer school myself. I never talked to any school advisors or anything like that. I do not know how things are at the private schools, but I feel the public school advisors are generally geared for two types of students: The high achieving ones and the bottom of the barrel ones. THe high achieving ones are always looking to get into their preferred colleges and will get advising on how to do it. The lower end students who really struggle usually get sent to talk to advisors by teachers. The middle of the pack students don’t really fit either group and I don’t remember being encouraged to talk to anyone at the school about my academics.

        All in all though, while I did not graduate from Wallenberg with a high GPA, I did get it done. I’m proud to say I graduated from college about six years later and my college GPA was higher than my high school GPA. I’m not saying that anyone can do it like I did but hopefully it can be encouraging to the students who struggle.

        • GCJ01 says:

          Don L.,

          Thank you for proving my point. It was YOUR motivation that got the job done. YOU put in the work. It doesn’t matter what your GPA was, YOU did what you had to do to get the job done. Teacher’s can’t be blamed for what students, themselves, can control. Before I continue, congrats on improving your GPA!

          Myself, I played two sports (basketball and volleyball) and the lowest my GPA ever got was a 2.82 (during my sophomore year). I ended up graduating with a GPA over a 3.0. Not to mention, I had a job at the same time. So obtaining a 2.0 is not hard to do at all. The problem is this era of students SEEM to not apply themselves as much as they should. They want things to come to them instead of working for it. It does not work that way.

          I never thought about the advisor situation like that before. That’s actually important to think about. I considered myself to be the middle of the pack because my GPA was in the 3.2-3.4 range. But, I would take it upon myself to go to speak with an advisor. I didn’t wait for someone to tell me. I guess I was just proactive.

    • AAA Fan says:

      I’m a SFUSD student and I know why. There’s little school support. You can take a kid of the exact same academic ability and put him at SI and you can put him at Marshall and even though SI is arguably more difficult to get good grades at, he’ll get better grades. All the teachers at those schools really care about the boys and and the program and are willing to make sacrifices so that the kids not only get to play, but also stay afloat academically. At a school like Marshall, the teachers are like “You want to miss my class to play basketball? Are you kidding me? Every kid thinks they’ll be the next star, how bout you sit down and learn something.” While you could say the teachers are looking out for the kids priorities what actually happens is as follows: the kids, upset that they can’t play ball, are resentful about school and therefore don’t work to get good grades which is just a vicious cycle of nothing getting done. I bet that if you built the kind of community programs they have at schools with cash, you’d see some really strong and talented AAA teams. Its bad for the league all-around. What teachers don’t realize is that athletes who are given a chance are more likely to work for it.

      • GCJ01 says:

        I hear what you’re saying AAA Fan, HOWEVER, you can’t blame the teachers. THE PARENTS should be doing the same thing at home.

        I’m sure many of the SFUSD teachers care. As a student, the first person to blame for anything that goes wrong is the teacher. I’ve had my fair share of bad teachers, but there is more to the story than this.

        Kids do not get bad grades all because of the teacher. Teachers can’t force you to do the work. YOU have to do it. YOU have to pay attention in class. YOU have to study. Yes, there are horrible teachers out there, and you just have to put up with it. However, you can not always blame the teachers for why you receive bad grades. Like I said in another post, you’re lucky, the district LOWERED the credit requirements that you need to graduate from when I went to Burton. So tell me, can you sit there and really place full blame on the teachers?

        Something that needs to be learned is application. Kids need to apply themselves and keep a STRONG mentality to get through the tough times dealing with teachers that they do not like (or subjects that are difficult for them). It can be done. But you have to stop the complaining and excuses and HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF that you can do it. The worse enemy you can have is yourself. Think about it.

  2. GCJ01 says:

    Marshall shot themselves in the foot. Next time a simple lay-up will suffice. As a Burton grad, I should mock my rival for their mistake, but I want to see both programs do well (that is until we face one another).

    This year both Burton and Marshall have been defying the odds and are in a better position to challenge the power houses of the AAA than they have been in recent years. However, making mistakes like trying to be fancy and going for a dunk instead of a simple lay-up when you have a chance to win the game does not equate to playing smart basketball.

    Marshall, you have something to prove. The one positive thing to take away from this game is that you know you can beat Lincoln. The good thing is, you play them again. I hope you continue to have a great season Marshall.

  3. cheeks says:

    Does Eric Luis have a photography website?

  4. Feel The Pain says:

    Marshall played a great game despite the loss. Even though they fell short this time out, I expect them to make a nice run against the Neff, probably going 5-1 or even 6-0. If they had their full complement of players they would be a favorite to win it all, but expecting a 7 man rotation to get through the playoffs may be a bit too much. It also depends on the seeding as it is conceivable, at this time, that Marshall (Lang #3) and Mission (Lang #1) could end up meeting in a semi-final matchup.

    On a side note, watch for Balboa to make a nice run as well against the Neff. Although they started out 0-4, I expect them to play well over the next 3 weeks and get back into the playoff hunt (Lang #4 is probably the best they can hope for).

    The AAA games over the next 2 weeks will tell us a lot about how the 2 divisions stack up talent wise. Since Lowell is the front runner in the Neff, I’m looking forward to their games against Marshall, Balboa, Washington, and Lincoln as any of those teams would be a potential first round matchup for the Cardinal. I’ve said before that the Lowell/Marshall game will tell us a lot about the Cardinal, as they have survived 2 OT games and 3 other wins against the Neff’s lower tier schools.

    I still believe the top 5 teams in the Lang could challenge as a number one, or at least two seed, in the Neff. Don’t sleep on the Bucs, their prime to make a run.

  5. Don L. says:


    Just taking our discussion here from the other thread since it’s getting “old”. I’ll have to double check if I can make the the 02/16 game at Kezar. I work near Candlestick so Burton / Marshall (and Balboa) are relatively easy to get to as I typically get off work at 5 PM (or after). It’s a little harder to get to Kezar though. We’ll see though.

    • GCJ01 says:

      Don L,

      Okay, let me check Burton’s schedule. I coach in the South Bay so I have to make sure the day I pick doesn’t fall on a day I have a game. Plus, attending a game at Burton would be easier for me than attending one at Kezar anyway.

    • GCJ01 says:

      Don L.,

      Burton plays Gal at Burton on Tuesday Feb. 21st. That should be a great game since those two teams will be fighting for second place in the Neff division. Does that work?

      • Don L. says:


        Tuesday Feb. 21st might work out since I also know Galileo’s coach and it’s close by. I’ll confirm with you as we get closer.

    • anonymus says:

      Remember Lowell has been playing the last three weeks without its starting center and without a decent backup. That may continue for another week or so

  6. Anonymous says:

    Best team hands down

  7. 49ers says:

    hey, that was a crazy crazy game. best AAA so far this season. #5 and #24 from lincoln played a good game and #55 from marshall is a beast. the difference was that guard from lincoln whom never stop pushing the offense. good game though.

  8. native says:

    is kemari playing for marshall?

  9. elba415 says:

    Marshall played good #55 was good

  10. AAA player says:

    As a student athlete, I know what it feels like to balance school with sports. Its not easy to maintain a descent grade with sports and i think its because when you come home after a long 1-2 hours of school, you just want to relax your tired body. But instead, you have homework and studying. I think student-athletes should really try hard in the classroom because the word student comes first, and getting good grades is a priority because without grades, you can’t expect to play a season. Also, I think coaches should let players occasionally miss a day of practice to study for a big test or do a big homework assignment. It would be better to skip one day and do well in school then not skip and screw your grades over and having to miss a season.

    • GCJ01 says:

      Well said! If you can teach the rest of the student populous who fail to understand this, it would be of great help to them! Again, very well put and I wish you the best of luck in both your academics and athletic career.

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