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02/22/2018 - GIRLS A-5 DISTRICT BASKETBALL: Links Punch Ticket To State With Win Over 'Bolts

By Jeff Motz

It's been 14 long years since the Lincoln High girls basketball team went dancing in March.

But after Thursday night's 38-29 win over Lincoln Pius X to win the A-5 girls district basketball title at Bishop Flavin Gym, the Links can dust off those dancing shoes for the big show next week here in Lincoln. 

Lincoln High's trip to the Girls State Basketball Tournament will mark the first time since the Links made the 2004 tourney, suffering a first-round loss.

What helped the Links (16-9) in Thursday's win was going to a 1-3-1 zone, after starting out man-to-man.  The zone essentially took away Pius X's ability to attack the basket and forced them to shoot from outside.

Lincoln High's front line of 6-3 post players and sisters Nyayongah and Nyagoa Gony and 6-0 Nyayien Koang made things miserable for the Thunderbolts.

Pius X rallied for a 17-15 halftime lead when Grace Dierwer sank a three-pointer from deep in the left corner right before the buzzer.  The Thunderbolts extended their lead to 24-17 halfway through the third period, when Lauren Taubenheim sank two free-throws as part of her team-high 10 points.

Lincoln High then went on a 21-5 spurt the rest of the game.   Natayah Wilson scored on a layup as part of her 11-point performance.  Nyayongah Gony then scored on a drive to the hoop and Wilson followed it up with a steal and layup to give the Links a 31-26 advantage with three minutes to play.

The Links then converted on some free throws late and held on for the win and district title.

Nyayongah Gony led Lincoln High with 12 points.  Pius X committed 23 turnovers in the game.
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