In what has started to play like a broken record, Robinson High School's boys' basketball team came out on the short end of another close decision.
For the second straight night, the Maroons took on an opponent from Indiana and suffered another close loss.
After dropping a six-point decision at Terre Haute North Tuesday, Robinson played host to a solid Vincennes Lincoln squad and battled until the end, only to suffer a 55-50 loss.
"It seems like we have this same conversation every night," RHS head coach Mack Thompson said. "I feel so bad because the kids fight so hard and I can't figure out how to get them over the hump."
The two teams played to a low-scoring stalemate in the first quarter, as the game was tied 6-6 heading into the second period.
It was still tied 8-8 early in the second period before Vincennes Lincoln went on an 11-2 run - with all of the Alices points coming from Emmanuel Smith - to take a 19-10 lead. A three-pointer by Ethan Shidler and a free throw from Brayden Childress pulled RHS to within 19-14 with 1:43 remaining, but Lincoln scored the final four points of the period and took a 23-14 lead at halftime.
Robinson started strong in the third quarter, holding Lincoln scoreless for more than five minutes, while putting together an 11-0 run to regain the lead. Two three-pointers and a free throw from Kade Lassen pulled the Maroons to within 23-21, then after two minutes went by without anyone scoring, Sawyer Hoalt scored to tie the game at 23-23 with 3:59 to play.
A layup by Childress put Robinson in front, 25-23, with 3:10 left, but Lincoln's Ethan Bushey ended the run and the Alices' drought with a three-pointer to give them a 26-25 lead with 2:49 remaining. Hoalt hit a jumper to put RHS back on top, but Smith nailed a three-pointer to give Lincoln the lead back, then after a basket by Childress, Bushey hit consecutive threes to give Lincoln a 35-29 lead with 28.5 seconds left. Childress responded with a three-point play right before the end of the period to pull RHS to within 35-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Maroons continued to hang around early in the final period, then put together a 7-1 run - including four straight points from Childress -to tie the score at 45-45 with 2:36 to play. However, Bushey would answer with another three-pointer 14 seconds later to put Lincoln back in front, then after Childress missed a pair of free throws, Smith knocked down two to give the Alices a 50-45 lead with 1:04 remaining.
Nick Weber then buried a long three-pointer with 53 seconds left to pull the Maroons to within 50-48. Robinson appeared to force a turnover on the ensuing possession, but the call did not go their way and they were forced to foul. Lincoln would hit four straight free throws to extend the lead to 54-48 with 24.1 seconds left before Jeffrey Goble scored inside with 6.5 seconds left. Another free throw by Lincoln followed to seal the win for the Alices.
"The effort was there and the guys fought, but we can't let what we can't control affect us mentally," Thompson said. "We got frustrated and we were in foul trouble and was disappointed on how we handled things at times. We have to be better in those situations."
The three-point and free throw lines continue to be a struggle for the Maroons, as they were outscored in both of those areas. Robinson was just 8-17 at the free throw line (47 percent), while Lincoln made 14-18 foul shots (78 percent). Also, the Maroons were just 4-20 from long distance (20 percent), while Lincoln made 7-21 three-pointers (33 percent).
"We can't shoot 8-17 at the free throw line," Thompson said. "Late in the game if we hit our free throws early, we are up three instead of down three. But, give credit to Bushey. He is more of a post player than a shooter, but he knocked down some big shots."
Childress led RHS with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Lassen posted 15 points, two steals, one rebound and one assist despite fouling out with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Goble contributed six points, seven rebounds, one steal and one assist, Sawyer Hoalt netted four points and five rebounds, Shidler totaled three points, four rebounds and four assists, Weber collected three points and three rebounds and Wesley Jackson recorded one point, six rebounds and four assists.
Bushey led Lincoln with 18 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot, while Smith totaled 18 points, three steals, two rebounds and one assist and Torrence Gillis added 10 points and one assist.
Robinson also lost the junior varsity game 74-49.
Weber led RHS with 18 points, while Cole Johnson was also in double figures with 13.