Lincoln, Mission boys' basketball teams go at it after ups and downs in nonleague play 

Mission guard Antoine Porter, right, is one of a few players to come over to the court after being a part of the school’s AAA football title. - DEVIN CHEN/SPECIAL TO THE SF EXAMINER
  • Devin Chen/Special to The SF Examiner
  • Mission guard Antoine Porter, right, is one of a few players to come over to the court after being a part of the school’s AAA football title.

Despite underwhelming nonleague records, Mission High School and Lincoln High School are still the favorites to advance to the Academic Athletic Association boys’ basketball championship game, and we’ll get a possible preview of the title game Friday.

The Bears, who fell to Washington in last season’s championship game, went 7-7 in nonleague play, but have only beat two teams with winning records in Los Gatos (7-5) and Menlo (6-3).

Mission coach Arnold Zelaya has expressed frustration in the early season, but feels the early struggles will pay off in AAA play.

“Frustrations are part of preseason growth,” Zelaya said. “I have had to clean house and make my expectations very clear. A AAA championship is my expectation every year and we fell short last year.”

Lincoln has played an even tougher nonleague schedule and went 5-9. Both teams have an abundance of athleticism and solid guard play, but have yet to put it together against quality competition.

“I would say that on paper, Mission has to be the favorite to win the AAA. We are not far behind, though,” said Lincoln coach Matt Jackson. “We played tough competition in the preseason in order to assess our strengths and weaknesses. We feel that we are battle-tested.”

Key players Antoine Porter, Miles Prescott and Algeron Malbrough all played integral parts on the AAA champion Mission football team, but Zelaya is no longer accepting the excuse of a football hangover.

“People can blame football rust, but the funny thing about rust is once you get rid of it, you rarely find something good under it,” Zelaya said. “It has just taken a little longer to figure out our issues, because of the longer football season.”

Lincoln had hardly any football crossovers in key basketball positions, but Jackson is anxious to get on the court to find out just where his team stands.

“The competition in the AAA looks to have more parity than previous years,” Jackson said. “We look forward to some pretty competitive games in league this season. When it comes down to it, you have to hit the floor and compete.”

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and www.SanFranPreps.com

 

Next game

Mission vs. Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Mission High School

NOTES: Mission beat Lincoln twice during the regular season last year. ... Mission lost in last year’s AAA championship game to Washington. ... The same two teams will meet again on Feb. 10.

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Jeremy Balan

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