By Matthew Snyder
KENTFIELD – For 26 minutes on Wednesday night, the Lincoln boys basketball team looked ready to cruise to a comfortable victory over University of Irvine in the opening round of the Don Bambauer Holiday Classic at Marin Catholic.
But the Trojans’ trapping zone defense forced the Mustangs into 11 fourth-quarter turnovers and erased a 19-point deficit on the way to an improbable 87-78 overtime win.
Trailing 69-50 with 5:41 remaining in regulation, University (5-7) began to trap the Mustangs (2-9) with impunity. That pressure spurred a layup-heavy 21-3 University run that included 10 consecutive points.
University senior forward Chris DaSilva poured in nine points during the surge and senior guard Arya Anvar added seven.
With the Mustangs clinging to a 72-71 advantage with 16 seconds left, Lincoln senior guard Mitchell Lee was fouled for a one-and-one free-throw opportunity.
In the pressure-packed moment, Lee sank both free throws to push the Mustangs’ lead to three points.
Out of timeouts, the Trojans raced down the court looking for a three-pointer, but Lincoln junior guard Tyree Marzetta deflected an errant pass out of bounds on the left wing, and with 5 seconds remaining, Lincoln head coach Matt Jackson called timeout.
On the ensuing inbound play, University immediately got the ball to senior captain Stephen Kwan. The guard used a hard right-handed dribble to get to the top of the key, blanketed by Lincoln senior Demetrius Williams. Kwan then stepped back and sank a 23-foot jump shot as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 74-74 and force overtime.
Riding their sudden momentum, University rattled off 13 points in the overtime period to close out the victory.
“That loss hurt,” Jackson said. “We had a sizeable lead late in the game, [but] we just didn’t take care of the ball. Their zone affected us, for whatever reason, I don’t know.”
Lincoln juniors Davion Telfor and Seth Snoddy, who scored 20 and 14 points, respectively, benefited from James Gurr and Lee penetrating on drives, which frequently resulted in baskets around the hoop.
Lee also thrived during the third quarter. With Gurr on the bench with foul trouble, the senior scored six points and added three assists, which helped the Mustangs push their lead from 41-36 at halftime to 61-47 at the end of the third period.
But turnovers and foul trouble eventually did Lincoln in. Telfor, who Jackson considers the Mustangs’ best all-around player, fouled out with 58 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It was big [losing Telfor],” Gurr said. “We needed [him]. He’s one of our biggest guys out there on the court. He’s the energy-bringer to our team.”
Snoddy, who finished with a game-high 15 rebounds, kept DaSilva in check for three quarters. Listed at 6-foot-4, DaSilva entered the game averaging 26.2 points per game, but managed just 12 through 24 minutes and struggled with Snoddy’s wingspan.
University’s switch to the half-court zone opened up the game in that fourth quarter, though, and DaSilva benefited from a slew of easy baskets on the fast break to finish with a game-high 30 points on 13-for-21 shooting. He also added 10 rebounds.
Jackson expressed frustration at Lincoln’s inability to build upon last weekend’s momentum, when the Mustangs earned their first two wins of the season. He briefly mentioned some disappointing calls from the officials, but said that in the end, there were “no excuses” for the loss.
“We just have to finish,” Jackson said. “The game is a 32-minute game. In this case, it was 36 minutes. We just need to finish hard.”
Chris DaSilva – 30
Stephen Kwan – 23
Arya Anvar – 19
Tim Kwan – 7
Two players tied with 3 points
Davion Telfor – 20
Seth Snoddy – 14
James Gurr – 12
Mitchell Lee – 10
Demetrius Williams – 7