Temperatures were so cold that families ran from their cars into the confines of the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center to watch the boys’ title match of the 2016 Kaysinger Conference Basketball Tournament.
Lincoln’s offense, undersized and facing perennial conference powerhouse Sacred Heart, fell just as cold at times during the Kaysinger Conference Basketball Tournament championship, sponsored by W-K Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac.
In a boys’ tournament that featured few upsets, the top-seeded Gremlins won their seventh tournament title in eight years over Lincoln, 71-40.
Gremlin head coach Steve Goodwin said his team was excited in preparation and victory.
“We had a plan,” Goodwin said. “The other night we didn’t play as well as felt we were capable of, and we really wanted to come out and show a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
Sacred Heart entered the fourth quarter with a 50-37 lead and held the Cardinals to three points the rest of the way.
Micah Tanguay led the fourth quarter surge as Sacred Heart pulled away. He scored 11 in the fourth and finished with a game-high 26 points.
The Gremlins pushed the pace in the game’s waning minutes. Tanguay and Lyles directed a two-on-one fast-break at the expense of a reeling Blake Roberts. When Tanguay’s tip-in fell – making the score 68-40 – Roberts was left on his knees looking at the Lincoln bench.
Both teams entered their reserves as the largest crowd of the tournament slowly filed out.
Lincoln head coach Tyler Burke said the Cardinals would have needed to play a more perfect game to overcome Sacred Heart.
“When you play a team that’s bigger than you like that, you have no room for error,” Burke said. “We were just a step late sometimes today.”
Colby Young and Trent Lyles scored nine points apiece for Sacred Heart. Mason Sanders led Lincoln with 13 points. Boone Kroenke scored eight.
Sacred Heart allowed one Lincoln field goal before an 8-0 run to start the game.
The Gremlin lead was 12-8 with 1:34 to go in the first quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Sacred Heart had seven fouls to Lincoln’s two when Tyler Kroenke hit two free throws to make the score 17-12.
Sanders hit a three on a buzzer-beating fast-break before the first quarter ended.
Sacred Heart opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to give Sacred Heart a 27-15 lead, forcing a Lincoln time out.
With the Gremlins leading 34-23, Will Prenger missed two shots off the front of the rim before halftime.
Lyles pushed the Gremlin lead to 10 points with a 3-pointer with 5:22 to play in the third quarter.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2