The third-seeded Lincoln East Spartans blew out No. 2 Lincoln Southeast on Saturday afternoon to advance to Monday’s District A-4 final. East is one more upset away from punching its ticket to state.
Here are five thoughts on the game.
Can’t Count Out Carter Glenn
Lincoln East may have entered Saturday’s game as the lower seed and with a sub-.500 record, but they had the best player on the floor on Saturday and that proved to be the difference.
Carter Glenn, East’s senior point guard, came out firing early and Southeast never found an answer for him as he finished with 25 points on 8-of-12 from the field (4-of-7 from 3) and 5-of-8 from the free-throw line, four assists and three steals.
Glenn hit his first four shots including three 3s and led East to a 15-9 lead after the first quarter. He added another 3 and a layup to give him 16 points in the first half. He added two more layups to his total in the third quarter. He also dished out a pair of assists to a 3-point shooter in the quarter, and until McGinness Schneider hit a 3 at the buzzer, Glenn was outscoring the Knights by himself, 20 to 19.
Saturday was Glenn’s 12th 20-point outing of the season. He’s a top-10 scorer in Class A and is having a fantastic senior season to cap off a terrific four-year varsity career. He’s taken a big leap each year of his career and is playing his best basketball at the right time.
Tough Way to Go Out
Last week, senior Ajantae Hogan became Lincoln Southeast’s all-time leading scorer. That’s the same school that produced players like former Husker Jake Muhleisen and former Jayhawk/Bluejay Nick Bahe.
Hogan finished his career with 1,269 points after averaging better than 17 points in each of his last three seasons including 20.5 points per game as a senior. He’s a tough match-up at 6-foot-5 with long arms and explosive leaping ability.
East did a great job of keeping Hogan in check, however. They held him to nine points on 2-of-13 shooting. He didn’t make a field goal until early in the second half, and his second bucket came late when the game was in garbage time. East did a great job of staying in front of him and forcing him into tough shots, and Glenn spent a lot of time guarding him despite giving up five or six inches.
East took a 23-14 lead into halftime. That’s a significant advantage, but hardly an insurmountable one. The Spartans blew the game wide open in the third, however, outscoring the Nights 21-8 to take a 44-22 lead after three.
East had one empty possession the entire quarter. The Spartans shot 8-of-9 from the field including 5-of-6 from downtown. Their only miss was a 3-point attempt that Hogan swatted out of bounds, so East retained possession. They had one turnover in the period.
Senior Joseph Marfisi went 3-for-3 from the arc in the quarter and added a pair of free throws in the fourth to finish second on the team with 11 points. East did a great job of executing their offense to the point where the Spartans led by as much as 25 points.
Southeast had a tough time scoring on Saturday, but a big part of that was some really unfortunate injury luck. Junior wing Jake Appleget, Southeast’s second-leading scorer, was on the bench in a boot on Saturday. He scored 18 points in the first East-Southeast meeting, which was a much closer contest even if East pulled away in the fourth to win by 13.
Appleget, a Division I football prospect, averaged 11.7 points, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals (all second on the team) the season while shooting 49% from the field including 39% from 3. Schneider did his best to pick up the slack with 15 points to lead the team, and senior Corey Krueger went 3-for-3 from deep for nine points, but the rets of the Knights (including Hogan) combined for just 14 points.
Time for a Rubber Match
Saturday’s results mean we get round three of Lincoln East versus Lincoln Pius X. The Thunderbolts beat Omaha South 59-44 in the other semifinal. The Spartans and Bolts will face off on Monday night with a berth to the state tournament on the line.
Pius won the first meeting 47-43 and that was without Glenn playing. The Spartans won the rematch 66-59 behind big games from Glenn and Trevor Henrickson. Pius is 18-2 this season with 14 double-digit wins including 10 of 20 or more. Only four teams have played Pius to within single digits, and the Spartans are the only team to have done it twice. East is one of just two teams to beat Pius, joining Bellevue West.
Monday’s showdown could be much more competitive than a typical 1 vs. 3 seed matchup based on the recent history.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.