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November 27, 2010DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- Dallas-Fort Worth area high school basketball followers were treated to some of the best basketball around this past weekend at the D/FW Metroplex Hoops Thanksgiving Hoopfest. No matchup garnered more attention than Saturday's clash between two of Dallas' most respected neighborhoods.
Oak Cliff vs. South Dallas. Dallas Kimball vs. Dallas Lincoln. Two state-ranked teams loaded with talent going head to head for city bragging rights.
When the dust settled, Lincoln left the capacity crowd at Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena with an 81-65 victory over Kimball. Lincoln, which beat Prestonwood Christian, 61-41, in the showcase on Friday, improved to 5-0 on the season.
"This was a highly anticipated game. Even this summer, when it was being scheduled, we heard about it," Lincoln coach Leonard Bishop said. "We've had good crowds in our first four games, but this one was a little bit special."
Kimball entered the game ranked No. 1 in the state by TexasHoops.com and No. 2 in the TABC/Tex Preps Basketball magazine poll. Lincoln entered No. 4 in both polls, but it featured the state's top-ranked player in Oklahoma State signee LeBryan Nash and super-versatile West Virginia signee Keaton Miles
Nash put on a show for the crowd of roughly 3,000, finishing the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks. Miles added 17 points and 12 boards and tallied most of his points in the second half.
"This was a rivalry game," Nash said. "Both teams are ranked, and everybody wanted to see who's the best in Texas. We showed that tonight."
Miles added: "We were hyped up about the game, but we didn't feed into the hype. We know we've got to take every game one at a time."
Kimball, despite suiting up North Texas signee Jordan Williams and potential Division I signee Jarion Henry, played Lincoln somewhat short-handed. SMU signee Jalen Jones is still battling eligibility issues, and guard Austin Franklin, arguably the team's most athletic player, is dealing with a groin injury.
Lincoln led, 20-16, at the end of the first quarter but went on a scoring barrage and led by as many as 20 in the second. Kimball found itself down, 44-28, in the third quarter.
The Knights trailed by 21 at halftime in its Friday game against Little Rock (Ark.) Hall but managed to battle back and win with a huge second-half performance. The third quarter against Lincoln looked as though Kimball was gunning for a repeat effort. A lot of the credit came from the inside play of Williams and the red-hot perimeter shooting of Shannon Lilly and David Tucker. The duo combined for 40 points, and Tucker had 26 points, including eight 3-point buckets.
Kimball trimmed the lead to five in the third quarter, but Lincoln extended the lead to double figures thanks in part to baskets by Nash and Miles. Lincoln outscored Kimball, 17-11, in the fourth.
"Our kids are resilient, and when [Kimball] made the run, we didn't panic," Bishop said. "We stayed within our system and pulled it out."
Dade provides additional offense
Strong games by LeBryan Nash and Keaton Miles are expected for Lincoln, but guard Xavier Dade proved to be a reliable X-factor in the win against Kimball.
Dade, a 5-foot-11 senior, finished with 20 points in the victory. He was a huge spark in the first half, scoring 14 of his 20 in the first 16 minutes.
"They [Kimball] were ranked about us, so we all kind of came out with a chip on our shoulder," Dade said. "It was good to show everyone that we beat a team we were not supposed to beat."
Dade has shown that he can be a dependable offensive option for the Tigers this season. He has scored in double figures in three of Lincoln's five games.
Williams plays old team
For two years, Jordan Williams was a Lincoln Tiger. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of every player on the team.
Williams now is at Kimball, and for the first time not in an AAU setting, he lined up against his former teammates. Williams finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss and served as the Knights' muscle inside.
"We fought back and fought back," Williams said, "but they got the job done. Their big-time players played better than our big-time players."
Williams said the atmosphere made the game fun, but he did not feel any nervousness or pressure going up against his former team. Part of that primarily is because of the AAU games as a former member of Team Texas (he switched to the Dallas Mustangs and played alongside LeBryan Nash and Keaton Miles this past summer), as well as the multiple fall ball games in a Kimball uniform.
Williams played his junior year at The Colony High School and helped the Cougars advance to the UIL Class 4A state tournament. The Colony lost to eventual state champion Houston Yates in the semifinal round.
Game No. 100 for Nash
For some, it's hard to believe that LeBryan Nash is a senior. It seems like yesterday when he was a starting forward at Lincoln as a freshman.
Saturday marked his 100th game in Lincoln uniform. It was only fitting that Nash give the crowd a major-league showing and help the Tigers stay undefeated. Nash, however, refused to take full credit for his 29-point, 11-rebound effort.
"When you play together and play good defense, you're going to win," Nash said. "That's Lincoln basketball."
Nash has accomplished quite a bit in his stay at Lincoln. He has been a multiple all-state and all-region selection, and he has made The Dallas Morning News' all-area team since his freshman year. Nash averaged a double-double as a junior.
D/FW METROPLEX HOOPS THANKSGIVING HOOPFEST
DALLAS KIMBALL 16 12 26 11 - 65
DALLAS LINCOLN 20 24 20 17 - 81
Kimball: Shannon Lilly 26, Jordan Williams 16, David Tucker 14, Jarion Henry 4, Oscar Lewis 3, Michael McGee 2
Lincoln: LeBryan Nash 29, Xavier Dade 20, Keaton Miles 17, Kyron Criner 10, Courtney Hooper 3, Denzel Whitemon 2