The Lincoln High coaches want Keyshawn Jenkins attacking the basket instead of launching three-point shots.
The 6-foot-1 senior gave them a little of both in scoring a game-high 27 points and leading the Links to a 72-49 boys basketball victory at Lincoln Northeast on Thursday night.
With the Rocket defense sagging back to play the drive, Jenkins buried a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter to force them outside. That cleared the lanes, which Jenkins took advantage of, hitting 9 of 10 shots from the field.
The two three-pointers “got me going a little bit and seemed to energize us,” said Jenkins, who shared rebounding honors with 6-6 senior teammate Boomer Jock with nine each, leading a 40-13 Lincoln High edge on the boards.
“Those threes opened up the drive and then I could be aggressive going to the basket like the coaches want me to do,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins netted 13 points in the second quarter and keyed a 10-0 Lincoln High run that opened up a 34-25 halftime lead. He then converted a three-point play in the third quarter, followed by a drive and dunk less than a minute later.
Lincoln High’s other 6-6 senior inside, Graham Newton, scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half against the undersized Rockets, who were without injured 6-7 junior Reece Fuchs for the third straight game. Newton’s 10 third-quarter points powered Lincoln High to a 53-35 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
“I thought we did a good job going inside-outside tonight,” said Lincoln High coach Dan Noble, whose team improved to 3-2. “On Keyshawn’s two threes in the second quarter, we got the ball inside first, then kicked it out. When he sets his feet, he’s a good three-point shooter.
“Keyshawn played a good floor game tonight,” Noble added. “He can score in a lot of different ways, but he didn’t force anything and he let the offense come to him.”
A pair of 5-11 guards — sophomore Pierce Bazil and junior Carson Busch — paced Northeast (1-4) with 14 points each. Bazil had 10 of those points in the opening period, leading the Rockets to a 17-15 advantage. Their last lead came at 25-24 with 3:31 left in the first half after a corner three by Jake Bard.
“We’ve played well in stretches this season, like we did at the beginning tonight,” said first-year Northeast coach Monte Ritchie, who only played one senior on Thursday night and had three sophomores in the starting lineup. “Hopefully we can improve enough that by the end of the year, those stretches can become 32 minutes.”