The Fort begins 1A title defense with blowout win in play-in game

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Jasmine Olivar (15) leads a fast break for the Apaches against the Lincoln Prep Lightning on Wednesday. Fort Thomas was victorious, 60-19.

Apaches defeat Lightning 60-19; will host No. 8 Desert Christian on Saturday

By Jon Johnson

FORT THOMAS – A solid team effort accentuated with red-hot offense and stifling defense led the No. 1 Fort Thomas Apaches (6-0 region, 16-0 conference, 28-3 overall) to an easy tournament play-in opening round game victory over the No. 16 Lincoln Prep Lightning on Wednesday, 60-19.

The Apaches will next host the No. 8 Desert Christian Eagles on Saturday, Feb. 12, starting at 4:30 p.m. Fort Thomas has only lost three games all season long (two to No.1 overall seeds in 2A and 3A) and has won 17 games in a row. Desert Christian lost twice in the 1A South & Tucson Tournament before beating Williams in the play-in game, 46-44. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Hailey Hinton goes up for two of her game-high 16 points on the night.

Fort Thomas head coach Lee Haws spoke highly of the Lightning’s effort after the game Wednesday and praised his players for their good team play.  

“Lincoln Prep played some tough defense,” said coach Haws. “It was good for us to see a pressing defense. As you progress in the tournament, the game usually gets more physical, so it was good for us to start off that way.”   

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Jasmine Olivar drives past Lincoln Prep’s Alexis Ortiz.

Jasmine Olivar was her normal self, garnering extra attention and extra defenders yet still managing to stop and pop her mid-range jumper. Olivar opened the game with 9 points in the first and had 6 in the second to score 15 for the game. 

Alleenna Gilbert was on fire in the first as she hit 8 of her 10 points in the game. Chasinee Stanley (12 points) nailed the first of two 3-pointers on the night and Fort Thomas took an early 24-10 lead after the first quarter.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Chasinee Stanley races down the court. Stanley finished with 12 points.

“We shot well in the first half,” Haws said. “We scored 24 in the first quarter and then 14 in the second, so we shot well . . . We ran a variation of stuff, and so we were able to go through almost everything. We hit the high post a lot on our curl screen. It was good.” 

Then, the defensive lockdown began. While the Apaches continued to score, the Lightning failed to put the ball through the hoop for the next quarter and a half. Fort Thomas held them scoreless for the entire second quarter and took a commanding 38-10 lead into the break. 

In the third quarter, it was the Hailey Hinton show as the senior wing player hit 10 of her game-high 16 points, including going 2-2 from the charity stripe. Time after time, the Apaches made the right play, hit the right pass, or took the right shot to push them further and further from the Lightning.  

Fort Thomas held Lincoln Prep to just 6 points in the third quarter and only 3 points in the truncated, mercy-rule running clock fourth quarter to finish off the Lightning’s season, 60-19.

“It really was a good team win,” Haws said. “Everyone shared the ball and made the right pass.” 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Lincoln Prep’s Danna Cubero drives against the defense of Kenia McCabe (10).

Click here to see the Gila Herald’s photo album from the game.  

In other local 1A State Playoff hoops, No. 15 Duncan lost to No. 2 Rock Point, 34-64, to end its season. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Fort Thomas head coach Lee Haws hopes to hold up the gold basketball when the 2022 state playoffs have concluded.