Week of Buzzer Beaters Creating Triumph and Defeat

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Lincoln Athletics

Lions faceoff with Pilgrim on Thursday.

Chris Cooke, Lion's Roar Staff

     After Lincoln’s brutal 45-44 loss to Burriville the team had a quick bounce back last night against the North Providence Cougars. Shockingly this would be game two of a four-game week, with the Lions (4-6) going into NPH the team was in desperate need of a win.

     Monday’s matchup at home would end in heartbreak after the Lions nearly mounted a deficit that once expanded to 19 points. The mindset of the Lions pushing forward trailing by such a large amount was to win the four-minute segments, meaning mentally set the score to 0-0 and to outscore the opponent one half of a quarter at a time. This mindset seemed to be working well for LHS throughout the second half.

     Though the Lions nearly mounted the large first-half margin their efforts were simply not enough to seal the deal. The team’s comeback late in the 4th can mostly be attributed to the team’s commitment and superstar plays from players like Camden DiChiara, Wayne McNamara, and Will Denio. The team’s commitment to capping off the home win fell short on just one shot. With 5 seconds left on the clock, Lincoln had an opportunity for one last drive for the win created by a missed 1-and-1 free throw by Burriville. According to (Guard) Will Denio, the team’s strategy was to “get in our spots and use screens and movement to create an open look, from either the corners or to the guys cutting to the basket”. This strategy drawn up by Coach Crooks created an open look for (Sophomore) Camden DiCharia whose difficult reverse layup would be off the mark ending Lincoln´s comeback with a close 45-44 loss.

     Unlike earlier in the week Lincoln’s fate would be decided by yet another last-second shot that would fall in their favor. (Junior) Preston DeSousa was told his minutes would be significantly boosted with the loss of Wayne McNamara due to injury. The highly important game for LHS to bounce back pushing for a .500 record wouldn’t come easy.

     The back and forth game between the programs would open opportunities for both schools and punch the dagger but time and time again opportunities were missed. Will Denio’s shot at the buzzer to end the first overtime seemed like to be the nail in the coffin but his routine three would be off the mark forcing yet another overtime period. The next would be the last as the game’s second overtime came to a close a clutch corner three by (Junior) Preston DeSousa would prove to be the dagger! This remarkable shot from the corner is one to remember and helped Lincoln edge the Cougars in a hard-fought battle extending past regulation minutes.

     Some might say the hard-fought battle with North Providence inspired the Lions to turn the win into a domino effect. The second step of their mission was completed in dominating fashion with a 66-37 win over the West Warwick Wizards. The Lions scoring was well distributed throughout the lineup with three starters credited with double digits points including Will Denio, Wayne McNamara, and Camden DiCharia.

     Sadly just as the Lions seemed to get the “train rolling” again their trip down to Newport against Rogers created a 52-37 loss. This game seemed out of reach from the opening tip for the local squad. As the season reaches just past the halfway point of the season each secured win for Lincoln will prove to be pivotal in both guaranteeing a spot in the playoffs and being rewarded with the best possible seed.

     The Lincoln Lion’s next matchup is set for Thursday, February 10, and the team hopes to have as much fan support as possible in the scenario of still having a limited crowd capacity due to team COVID-19 issues earlier in the season. This matchup creates a sense of urgency for a win in the home stretch of the regular season as seniors will be celebrated in their final home game of the 2021-2022 season. This game against Pilgrim is a rescheduled game from the ice storm that hit across Rhode Island last Friday. Though Lincoln’s consistency has been in question so far this season the team hopes to boost their record back to 7-7 at a .500 win percentage. As well as gain school support as possible as they hope for a deep postseason run to another state championship for the second time in three years.

               Lions faceoff with Pilgrim on Thursday (Lincoln Athletics)