The Lincoln boys basketball team grabbed a 10 point lead in the middle of the third but couldn’t close down the stretch as Ankeny (3-0) hit two late free throws to take down Lincoln (1-1) by a final of 62-60.
The game was a seesaw affair from the jump as both high-octane offenses found early success in the transition game. The Hawks and Railsplitters went blow-for-blow through the first half as Lincoln grabbed a 19-13 advantage before Ankeny answered with a 7-point lead of their own, only to give up a 9-0 to the Rails that gave Lincoln a 34-32 halftime advantage.
The Rails led 46-36 in the third quarter but only managed nine more points through the final 12 minutes of the game, leaving the door open for Ankeny in the closing minute. With the game tied and 20 seconds left, senior Kamron Francis was fouled attacking the rim and hit one of two free throws to give Lincoln a 55-54 advantage. On his second, Francis grabbed the rebound on his own miss and passed it out to senior Andrew Klein.
Klein missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Rails set up for one last stop to win the game. Senior Ben Badger was guarding the ball in the closing moments and centered his chest to the ball-handler who was on his way to the basket. Badger was called for a block and the Hawks had two free throws to take the lead with four seconds left. One free throw connected and the game went into overtime.
Late in overtime, Lincoln picked up a key defensive rebound by Andrew Klein before it was poked out of bounds and declared Ankeny ball. With five seconds remaining, Kameron Young was called for his fifth foul while contesting the potential game-winning shot. The Hawks connected on two free throws and a Ben Badger buzzer beater rimmed out to drop Lincoln to 1-1 on the young season.
“There were a few times we made big-time plays down the stretch and didn’t get rewarded,” said fourth-year head coach Justin Einerson. “In reality, our execution has got to be cleaner from tip-to-buzzer if we’re going to beat good teams like Ankeny. I can guarantee the execution will improve and I love the heart we compete with.”
Ben Badger led the Rails with 16 points and four assists. Kameron Young scored 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field. Senior Kamron Francis added 10 points and five rebounds. Senior Nate Feller, nursing a finger injury, had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Lincoln opens up CIML Metro play on Friday as East comes to the Roundhouse. Tip is scheduled for 7:45pm.