JAY — Spruce Mountain is vertically challenged this girls’ basketball season, without any player standing taller than 5-foot-9.

If you saw a 6-foot-2 senior on Lincoln’s bench and speculated that she might play a substantial role in the KVAC contest on Tuesday night at the Phoenix Dome, you guessed well.

Samantha Burke provided 10 points on a night when the Eagles shut out the Phoenix’s reserves. Her contributions were among the many uncontested layups and second-chance points that landed Lincoln a 44-27 win.

“Our height really hurt them early on, and that was what we were looking to do, pound the ball inside,” Lincoln coach Kevin Feltis said. “Our kids did a nice job with the extra pass. We found kids that were open. We rebounded well early and got a lot of second looks.”

Avae Traina, a 5-11 senior, added eight points, while 5-9 junior Brianna Genthner chipped in seven for Lincoln (12-1), currently No. 3 in the Class B South Heal Points.

It was another frustrating loss to a point-worthy opponent for Spruce Mountain (3-9), although most of them have been closer than this.


“If I would question anything from our team, I felt like we acted a little bit timid, a little bit scared,” Spruce Mountain coach Chris Bessey said. “I felt like we came long way when we lost to Winslow in the double overtime game (Jan. 8). I felt like our effort and competitiveness were getting better. Tonight I think we stepped backward a little bit.”

Senior captain Emily Hogan led the Phoenix with 12 points. Alex Bessey added seven.

Hogan’s consecutive baskets scratched Spruce Mountain within seven, 32-25, as the clock showed three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Those were the final field goals for the Phoenix, who shot 11-for-38 (29 percent) overall.

Lincoln point guard Brie Wajer added six points, four assists and three steals.

“We typically would like to get out and run a little more,” Feltis said. “It was certainly a good defensive effort by them in the first half that took things away from us at times.”

Wajer and Genthner scored early to give Lincoln a lead it never relinquished. Spruce Mountain nudged within two on three separate occasions, thanks to two buckets by St. Pierre and another from Hogan, and trailed 14-10 after one.


Lincoln’s size advantage became too troublesome in the second period. Cagney O’Brien, another frontcourt reserve, cashed in a 3-point play. Hogan countered with a drive for two, but a third-chance layup by Burke and an 18-footer by Alyx York upped the Eagles’ advantage to double digits.

“We had opportunities in the first half, a couple of open layups and free throws that we missed. We would have had to play perfect to upset them, and unfortunately we didn’t,” Bessey said. “I think there were four layups that we could have converted, good looks, and it might have been a different game at halftime. Once you get behind on them, they’re a tough team to beat.”

Olivia York and Burke each scored from close range in the waning moments of the third quarter for a 36-25 Lincoln lead.

Lincoln joined Winslow as the only visiting schools ever to beat Spruce Mountain in its echo chamber of a home gym.

“We’ve never won in this building, so we’re ecstatic,” Feltis said. “These kids have been sick and we’ve been dealing with a few nagging injuries. I’m just pretty proud of them tonight.”


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