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Placer freshmen get inspiration from former Oklahoma Sooners guard, win over Lincoln

By: Journal sports staff
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Placer’s freshmen boys basketball team left no doubt that it was one of the top teams this season by dismantling the Lincoln Zebras 55-32 in Placer’s final Pioneer Valley League game of the season at Earl Crabbe Gym Friday night.

Placer (15-6) went in to the game with the inspirational words "play for your brothers" that were given to them via cellphone in a pre-game speech by former Colorado High School standout Jaison Williams, who also played guard for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Hillmen coach Ralph Lewis and Williams have been acquainted since Lewis coached in Colorado and Williams was just a standout seventh-grader whose skills were compared to the likes of NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups.

The message that Williams delivered was, "for each player to play for each other," and "You don't let your brothers down."

Placer took that inspirational speech on to the court — and from the opening tip-off the Hillmen never looked back.

Jack Kearns (17 points) and Taylor Levesque (19 points) combined for 17 of Placer’s 20 first-quarter points all while holding Lincoln scoreless for the first seven minutes.

Marcus Ante (eight points, 11 assists), Josh Matthews (six points) and Austen Lipsmeyer helped apply team-based pressure that kept Lincoln on its heels the whole game.

Defensively, Simeon Engle (four points) and Ryan Huston applied great spark off the bench.

“For me, I think this was a perfect ending to our season,” coach Lewis said. “This team proved they are ready to compete in the next level of their basketball careers. I look forward to watching them continue to grow as Placer Hillmen basketball players.”

Lincoln JV 63, Placer 58 — Derek Haney scored 23 points and Justin DiRuscio added 17, but it wasn’t enough for the Hillmen (11-12, 3-6 Pioneer Valley League) on Friday. Logan Markstein had four points and 10 rebounds for Placer, which was tied with the Zebras 26-26 at halftime.