SIOUX CITY | Sioux Falls Lincoln spent some time at No. 1 in South Dakota Class AA boys basketball, but has since slipped to No. 4.
The Patriots paid a visit to West High Tuesday, running their record to 11-4 with a 75-57 win over the Wolverines.
Balanced Lincoln (11-4) had three starters reach double figures and have a definite difference-maker in Diang Gatluak, a 6-foot-5 senior forward. Gatluak can not only run the floor, but also possesses an uncanny range and uses an expansive wingspan to his advantage on the top of a half-court press.
Gatluak finished with 20 points, nailing four 3-pointers, while Jared Jaros hit five treys and also notched 20 points. Alex Glanzer was also in double figures with 18 points.
“They play good defense and pass the ball really well and made a ton of 3-pointers,” West Coach CoCo Cofield said. “Our defense was terrible tonight. We didn’t play the way we needed to on defense, we gave up too many open 3s and layups.
“That was very uncharacteristic of us and not a good night tonight.”
So much so that Cofield whisked mingling spectators out of the gym shortly after the conclusion of the game so that he could conduct an impromptu practice.
Cliff McCray paced West (10-8) with 15 points, but was the only Wolverine to reach double digits. Belt finished with eight points.
West was coming off an impressive 68-44 victory at Bishop Heelan last week and had won four of its last six games. The Wolverines, though, had trouble containing a Lincoln squad that was very adept at finding the open man.
Lincoln took a 54-40 lead into the fourth quarter. Both coaches emptied the bench midway through the final stanza.
West’s schedule to finish the regular season isn’t easy. The Wolverines face Spirit Lake, Le Mars and Dakota Valley in their last three games before tournament time.
“If our defense is going to be that bad, we have a rude awakening coming,” Cofield said. “You have to play with energy, will and determination from the time you step on the court.”