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Golden Eagles soar over Titan boys

Tri’s Dillon Stevens (31) launches a free throw as Titan teammates Zach Smith (23) and Logan Stephens (41) plus three players from host Cambridge City Lincoln watch from the foul lane during Friday night’s TEC boys basketball game. Stevens scored 11 points in the first quarter and 17 for the game, but the host Golden Eagles won the contest 68-51.

By JIM JEFFRIES - For The Courier-Times

CAMBRIDGE CITY - The Tri High School boys basketball team started strongly on Friday night at Lincoln High School, but gradually let the lead slip away and the game got away from it in the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles won at home 68-51 in the Tri-Eastern Conference matchup.

Junior Dillon Stevens was on fire in the first quarter, scoring 11 of Tri's 18 points. He hit a three to start the game, followed by two free throws, and another three before any of his teammates got into the stat column.

Bryce Pennington hit a three and Michael Dalrymple hit a basket to keep the Eagles in the game early, but Tri led 8-5.

Kyle Falck and Logan Stephens added baskets for the Titans before Dillon Stevens added another deep jumper. Two scores by Pennington were followed by a Falck three-pointer gave Tri the lead 18-12.

But Lincoln's Hayden Pierce added back-to-back baskets to stop Tri's momentum. Still, the Titans led 18-16 after one quarter.

A quick jumper by Cameron Gwin tied the score at the beginning of the second quarter. This opened the floodgates for Lincoln. Free throws by Darian Bishop, a layup by Pierce, and a three-pointer by Pennington gave the Golden Eagles a 26-18 advantage.

Falck finally got Tri on the board in the quarter with a bucket. Smith and Stevens added threes for the Titans, along with a layup for Falck. Tri made a nice comeback to tie the game with a minute left before halftime. A Dalrymple three-pointer gave Lincoln a 31-28 lead at intermission.

Cambridge City extended the lead in the third quarter by scoring the first five points on free throws by Pennington and a three-pointer by Dalrymple. Kyle Flack converted an and-one followed by a steal and basket to get the Titans back to within five points.

Pennington hit a jumper for Lincoln, but Tri countered with a three by Zach Smith. Dalrymple hit a basket, followed by an old-fashioned three point play by Pennington. This gave the Golden Eagles a nine-point lead.

Tri tried to regain momentum on a basket by Dillon Stevens and two free throws by Kyle Falck, but Pierce nailed a jumper to give Lincoln a 47-40 advantage after three.

The visitors' Evan Murphy nailed a three-pointer to start the fourth quarter, but Lincoln blew the game open after that. Five straight points by Pennington forced the Titans to call a timeout with 6:19 left in the game and down by nine.

Up to this point in the contest, the Tri defense had done a fabulous job of defending Lincoln's top scorer, Cameron Gwin. Coming into the game, Gwin was averaging just over 17 points. He had just two through a little more than three quarters.

A three by Gwin was countered by a basket by Falck. Gwin buried another three, but it was matched by a three from the Titans' Jimmy Jeffries with three and a half minutes left. Tri did not hit another basket the rest of the game.

Lincoln got two-point baskets by Pierce and Pennington, followed by another three by Gwin. Evan Murphy added two points for Tri on free throws. Pierce added a late free throw and basket to give Lincoln a 68-51 lead, which was the final score.

Tri was led in scoring by Kyle Falck with 18 points, narrowly edging Dillon Stevens' 17 points. Zach Smith added six, while Evan Murphy had five, Jimmy Jeffries three, and Logan Stephens two.

Lincoln had four players score in double digits, led by Bryce Pennington's game-high 24 points. Hayden Pierce had 17, while Cameron Gwin tallied 11, Michael Dalrymple 10, and Darian Bishop five.

Tri fell to 2-9 on the season and 0-3 in the Tri-Eastern Conference, while Lincoln climbed to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in TEC play.

The Titans will host Union County Friday night in another TEC matchup, while Lincoln hosts conference foe Union City on the same night.

Lincoln 68, Tri 51

TRI (51)

Falck 7-9 3-3 18, D. Stevens 5-13 3-5 17, Smith 2-14 0-0 6, Murphy 1-4 2-2 5, Jeffries 1-3 0-0 3 Stephens 1-2 0-2 2, J. Stevens 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-0 0-0 0.

LINCOLN (68)

Pennington 8-10 4-4 24, Pierce 5-10 3-5 17, Gwin 4-10 0-0 11, Dalrymple 4-6 0-0 10, Bishop 1-1 2-3 5, A. Bertsch 0-2 0-0 0.

Tri`18`10`12`11`-51

Lincoln`16`15`16`21`-68

3-pt. goals - Tri 9 (D. Stephens 4, Smith 2, Jeffries, Falck, Murphy), Lincoln 9 (Pennington 3, Gwin 3, Dalrymple 2, Bishop). Records - Tri 2-9, 0-3 TEC; Lincoln 5-6, 1-1 TEC.