(Council Bluffs) -- Round one of the Missouri River Conference’s greatest rivalry was all Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday night.
The Lynx (7-3, 6-0) used big runs in the first and third periods to take a 58-47 win over Sioux City East (6-3, 5-1) in a game heard on KMA 960.
“It’s a good win,” Coach Jason Isaacson told KMA Sports. “East is always a great team, and it’s always going to be a fight.”
AL threatened to end the bout early on, running off a 14-0 run in the first period, but the Black Raiders whittled an 11-point deficit down to just five at the break. However, the Lynx stormed out of the locker room with a 22-7 third quarter to put the game on ice.
Keying both big bursts was senior Noah Sandbothe, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds on the evening.
“When Noah brings energy like that, he’s a phenomenal player,” Isaacson said. “He’s really worked hard to be really versatile. We’re asking him to cut, cut, cut and be very athletic, and he’s finishing well. And he can still shoot it and handle it well.”
“I feel like I played pretty well on the glass,” Sandbothe said. “I made an emphasis to get on the offensive boards because I was lacking the last two games.”
It was those last two games that may help AL reach their highest potential as the year moves along. The Lynx challenged themselves against two of the best teams in Nebraska — Millard North and Bellevue West. Despite losses by seven and by two, Coach Isaacson feels it will only help his team.
“They definitely prepare you for that kind of environment and that type of team,” he said. “Every guy out there is dang near Division I, so everybody on our side has to be at top notch, defending and doing everything we teach. We still carried over some good stuff to this game, so it was helpful.”
Along with Sandbothe’s big night, Josh Dix finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Jamison Gruber put in 12 points of his own with four assists and four steals.
Numbers aside, any win over Sioux City East is a big one. AL has won each of the past three meetings between the two MRC rivals, which followed an eight-game streak of wins for East.
“When I first got here as a freshman, they would always beat us handily,” Sandbothe said. “This is our biggest rival, even bigger than the city rivals. It’s us two at the top (of the MRC), so it always feels good to beat East.”
Sioux City East’s DaVares Whitaker finished with a game-high 24 points, scoring 15 of those in the final period.
View complete video interviews with Coach Isaacson and Sandbothe below.