Deend Parker was having a tough time being interviewed.
Amid the madness in the middle of the Lincoln High School basketball court, the Mustangs’ forward simply had too many hugs to hand out. He deserved a few of his own.
Parker scored 32 points and pulled down seven rebounds as Lincoln beat Mission 73-66 Friday, avenging a 68-58 loss to the Bears on Jan. 10 and leaving the two teams tied atop the Academic Athletic Association’s Lang Division at 14-1 with one regular-season game to go.
“When there’s two teams that love to run like we both do, it’s about patience and taking care of the ball,” Parker said. “And once we saw we could break their press and hit a few shots, we knew it was our night.”
Parker’s blocked shot and pull-up 3-pointer on the ensuing Lincoln possession highlighted an 18-4 third-quarter run. The Mustangs (21-9) led by as many as 22 late in the fourth quarter before Mission (21-4) scored 15 of the game’s final 18 points. Lincoln guards Randall Gacayan (eight points, eight assists) and Drew Bologna (two and four) controlled the tempo and pressured Mission star guard Demaree Hampton all game. The junior finished with 18 points to lead the Bears, but had to work for every shot and had 12 points midway through the final period.
“He’s so quick and tough to stop, we just had to try our hardest,” Gacayan said. “The whole team was focused on working together to get this win.”
Both teams are likely to win their regular-season finales Tuesday against second-division teams Jordan and Balboa. The San Francisco Section playoffs start Friday with quarterfinal games. The only way Mission and the Mustangs can meet again is during the Feb. 29 final at Kezar Pavilion.