Team Preview: Lincoln to look a bit different, despite experience
SHINNSTON – Few schools enjoyed the amount of success without an advancement to the state tournament experienced by Lincoln on the hardwood, one year ago. The Cougars fought their way to a regional final before they fell to East Fairmont.…
SHINNSTON – Few schools enjoyed the amount of success without an advancement to the state tournament experienced by Lincoln on the hardwood, one year ago. The Cougars fought their way to a regional final before they fell to East Fairmont.
Many players from last year’s team return for another go around, but the group will not look the same.
Lincoln head coach Rob Hawkins insists changes are on the horizon, thanks to a multitude of developments.
“We have a player back from an injury and we have a freshman class that has some size. We have gone from being a team with little depth to having some depth. We also have some height with 2 or 3 players who are taller than 5-8, including my first six-footer in Aliyah Rockwell,” he said.
Everything, though, starts with the four returning starters, which includes Class AAA All-State second-team player. She comes into her senior year after she put up averages of 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 2.2 blocks, and 1.7 assists per game as a junior.
Hawkins considers her one of the best players in W.Va. and foresees a big senior season for the new Glenville State commit. “She has continued to work hard over the offseason and is in for a big year,” he said.
Alongside Riley, Brooklyn Davisson, Aliyah Elder, and Alexis Williams make up the rest of the starters. Davisson has started at guard in the last two years. Hawkins expects her to continue to mature. Elder is back, but won’t resume her center position. Williams returns after a shoulder injury and generates plenty of excitement.
On the bench, Adrian Elder gives the Cougars an option at power forward and further depth in the paint.
One new transfer from Liberty Harrison is Riley Pearlman. Hawkins thinks “she will be a great addition.”
Even with all the changes, Hawkins says he’s excited to get started and see what this group can do.
“I am anxious to see how we can blend this together. The biggest concern obviously is the roster flipping it did is huge and it is going to benefit us. But we have to figure out a way to blend them together,” he says.
Hawkins alluded to the fact that people’s roles are going to change and their minutes are going to change, but everyone eventually will end up in the right positions.
All of this change will take place in a schedule that is just as unforgiving as usual. Not only does the Big 10 project to be one of the strongest conferences in Class AAA, thus making the conference part of the schedule daunting, but the non-conference schedule is just as tough. The Cougars will face Ripley (twice), Sissonville, Tucker County, Petersburg, and Martinsburg.
All of those teams come on top of who the Cougars face in their region. East Fairmont and Philip Barbour, both state tournament participants one season ago, will await them likely regardless of it the Cougars host a co-regional final.
Despite the road ahead, Hawkins looks forward to the challenges. He believes his team should be better for it by the time they hit the postseason.
“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “Obviously, we overlap with football but I am excited to see how this team progresses and see what our ceiling is because I think we can be really good.”