By Wade Hilligoss
Lincoln Southwest quarterback Rylan Cotton has showed his leadership and toughness time and time again on the football field, and it came in handy Tuesday night on the basketball court.
Cotton lead Southwest to a 71-57 win over Lincoln East on the Spartans’ home court to move on to the semifinals of the 2009 Heartland Athletic Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Silverhawks (3-4) led the pesky Spartans (1-6) by three at halftime, with Jeff Seybold coming off the bench for a much needed 12 first-half points.
However, it was Cotton who was the steady hand throughout the whole game. Cotton ended up with a team-high 20 points. He also broke up a fight and calmed down teammate Vino Brown after a technical foul in the third quarter.
Cotton, a 6-2 senior guard, had layups to start the beginning of the third and fourth quarters including one after a breakaway steal to squash an East High rally with 7:20 left in the fourth.
East took an 8-4 lead early in the first, but Southwest went on a 7-0 run after that and never trailed thereafter. East tied the game 49-49 in the third thanks to a 3-pointer from Brad Hilligoss and a layup by Jordan Newman, but the Spartans could never manage a lead.
Cotton’s 20 points was also a game high. Seybold finished with 15 for the Silverhawks. Southwest also got 14 points from Dylan Heath, 13 from Jordan Tyrance, 7 from Landon Schmidt, and two from Drew Edmond.
Jordan Yurth led East with 15 points. Hilligoss, Jordan Herstein and Josh Hastreiter each had 10, Newman added seven , Aaron Grantham had three and Spencer Quinn scored two.
Southwest moves on to the HAC Tourney semifinals to face Fremont on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. LincolnPrepSports will have coverage of that game, as well as the first semifinal matchup between Lincoln Southeast and Lincoln High at 1:30 p.m.
East will face Lincoln Northeast in the loser’s bracket at 11:45 a.m.