Lincoln Park heating up, takes down Brookville in second-round rout

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 10:27 PM

Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski feels his team is coming together at the right time.

The defending state champion Leopards took another step toward the Class 3A boys state championship game with a 66-46 victory over District 9 champion Brookville on Wednesday night at Armstrong High School.

Lincoln Park led the whole way, taking a 16-3 lead less than six minutes into the game. The taller Leopards also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Raiders 11-3 in the first quarter.

“Better,” Bariski said when asked about his team’s performance. “Our best performance in about a month. I think they’ve understood the severity of where we’re at and what we need to do and how we need to start playing, and we did that tonight.”

The Leopards (23-5) will move on to the quarterfinal round Friday night against Beaver Falls at a site and time to be determined.

Brookville, which came into Wednesday’s action winning 10 of its past 11 games, finished its season at 18-8. The Raiders are now 2-18 all-time in the PIAA playoffs. One of the victories was last Friday against Neshannock. The other was an opening-round win against Seton LaSalle in 1997.

“We were hoping they’d have an off night,” said Raiders coach Dalton Park. “We saw film on them where they were light out, and I saw nights where they didn’t shoot so well. But it was the opposite. We didn’t shoot well.”

Brookville got its share of steals, forcing seven Lincoln Park turnovers in the second quarter, but the Raiders were often getting just one offensive shot.

Said Park: “Honestly, the big difference in the game was a lot of rebounds balls getting tipped, and they would get it. We didn’t get second opportunities. They got a lot of second opportunities.”

“I think our size makes a difference all the way around,” Bariski said. “They have two bigs, and we have three. One time I put a fourth in, so we had a 6-7, 6-5, 6-6 and a 6-3. Our size made a difference tonight.”

Junior guard Dakari Bradford led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points while Isaiah Smith chipped in with 11. Nine players hit the scoring column for the deep Leopards.

“Our bench has been plagued by injury,” Bariski said. “We haven’t been able to go that deep into it. Going into the season, we thought we’d be that team that played eight, nine guys. They battle at practice every day. The second group — we call it the blue group — beats the first one a lot.”

Andre Wilder and Montae Reddix grabbed five rebounds apiece for Lincoln Park.

Brookville got its deficit down to 10 twice in the second period but couldn’t cut it to single digits.

The Leopards were 30 of 48 from the field. Bariski cleared the bench with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left in the game.

A 3-pointer by L.A. Pratt late in the third period put Lincoln Park up, 52-32.

Junior Jace Miner led the Raiders with 18 points.

“The kids were excited coming in. They’re disappointed now,” Park said. “You’re playing a caliber of team like that and you’re missing shots early, the confidence isn’t there.”

Park said the team got through early injuries and started out 3-4 before catching fire, despite the loss of its best shooter, David Cable, who suffered a broken foot.


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