The visiting Lincoln Hill basketball team took the San Quentin Warriors into over- time but fell short, 77-66.
“Great game; one of the best games we had,” Lincoln Hill center Dominique Thompson said. “A lot of lead changes—tight until the end.”
Lincoln Hill, named after the church of pastor Miguel Rodriquez, visits the court on the prison yard more to win over souls than to win the game. In fact, Rodriquez had just returned from a trip to Japan, a country he says is less than 1 percent Christian, to spread the gospel. Still, Lincoln Hill goes hard every game and this time they almost won against a team that had just defeated Golden State Warriors staffers a few days prior.
The Warriors jumped out to an 18-5 lead after the first quarter, but Lincoln Hill climbed back after they heated up in the second half. With five seconds left on the clock, Lincoln Hill guard Ramon Ronquillo made an inside pass to Thompson, who made the basket to take a 25-24 lead into the break.
Thompson led all scorers with 31 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, four steals and an assist.
Both teams gathered at center court for a message about seeking help to change from Lincoln Hill coach Cornell Swain.
“We can’t grow in isolation or on our own,” Cornell said. “We need a connection. Grow within the fellowship of brotherhood. Don’t be a weed, be a rose.”
First year Warriors guard Emerald Kemp-Aikens, who played for McClemmonds High School, addressed the guests about what the basketball program means to him. “I don’t get visits and I don’t go to church, so this is my church,” he said. “I got caught up in the streets and now I’m trying to make the best of it.”
Just before the third quarter started, Warriors Coach Rafael Cuevas expressed his concern about the score.
“You guys have us worried right now,” Cuevas said. “Nobody plays harder, and nobody prays harder than you.”
In the second half, the lead went back and forth as Warriors veteran Allan McIntosh turned his jumper up. He ended up leading the Warriors with 24 points.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Warriors were down 52-46.
“We have to hold this lead; you know how that third quarter is,” Thompson said.
McIntosh hit a jumper and followed with a three
pointer. By the five-minute mark, both teams were tied at 54-54.
With 2:30 on the clock Ronquillo put Lincoln back on top with a spin move past two Warriors for a layup that made the score 59-57.
With 47 seconds left of regulation, Lincoln led 65- 63. The Warriors trapped and caused a turnover.
The ball went to McIntosh inside and the smaller Cornell fouled to stop the easy basket. McIntosh nailed both free throws for the tie at 65- 65 with 18 seconds.
The Warriors defended the paint hard as Ronquillo tried to get to the rack. He dished the ball to teammate Chaze Russell, who shot a three-pointer. It clacked off the rim.
“We were stomping on y’alls neck but y’all came back,” Cornell said. “This is the best basketball that we play because we know it’s all love. We all family. A mil- lion fouls and we don’t get mad.”
In overtime, the Warriors dominated.
“They came out firing in the OT, and we weren’t ready for that,” Thompson said.
“I don’t get visits and I don’t go to church so this is my church”
Warrior Montrell “Jack That Thing Up” Vines scored seven of his nine points in a row during the extra period. Warrior Delvon Adams followed with another four points as Lincoln Hill went cold.
“I love them (Lincoln Hill), man; every time they come in, they bring their energy and fellowship,” Vines said. “I think Dom is comfortable here. He plays more aggressive.”