Remarkable Season Comes To an End for Lincoln H.S. Boys’ Basketball

By Yovany Moreno 

On Feb. 24, the Abraham Lincoln High School boys’ varsity basketball team reigned as the 2023 CIF city champions with a win at Kezar Pavilion, overwhelming the Lowell Cardinals. The Mustangs scored twice as many points as their opponents: 54-27. 

Winning the city title got the Mustangs into the 2023 CIF State Boys Basketball Championship – Division III tournament that began with them facing the Cougars of Christopher High School from Gilroy.

Abraham Lincoln High School senior Jeremyah Aquino prepares to shoot a free throw in the first round of the CIF State Championship tournament at home versus Christopher High School from Gilroy. Photos by Yovany Moreno.

Ceeyan Lutt, a returning sophomore, shared what he thought were keys the team would need to get past the first round of the tournament. 

“As long as we box out more, rebound, and talk on defense everything else will fall into place,” he said. 

Being one-game elimination rounds, preparation for the state tournament is important. Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric Bringas, who is also the director of Sports Science and Technology at MAD Excellence Foundation, provided insight as to how his connection with Murray Athletics has helped him prepare the kids for this very moment.

“We have adopted the philosophy of CEO and Director of Performance John Murray,” Bringas said. With his years of working with the Golden State Warriors and in the NBA, we take all those skills and expertise and bring them to the high school level.” 

Bringas said he focuses on getting the kids’ muscular and nervous systems attuned for game time. 

“My job is to get them physically and mentally ready for the game, and that means pre-game nutrition, pre-game hydration, lifting and breathing techniques,” he said. 

Coach Carl Jacobs and players on the bench look on as the players take the court after a time out.

On Feb. 28 the Lincoln Mustangs played their first game of the state playoffs at home and defeated the Christopher H.S Cougars in a nail-biter and moved past the first round with a 72-66 victory. Led by their guards, who are also twin brothers, seniors Jeremyah and Justin Aquino, the Mustangs pulled away with the lead in the second quarter and stayed ahead with their relentless defense until the clock expired. 

Justin Aquino attributed the victory to their team’s connectedness. 

“Trust in your teammate, know how much work they have put in, we play as a team, and stay poised, Aquino said. “We saw one of our guys, #13 [Quentin Kennedy], and he was on ‘go,’ so we were just feeding him the ball and the rest is history. Got the job done.” 

Left to right: Quentin Kennedy (#13), Cortevious Taylor (#30) and Jeremyah Aquino (#0) take a fourth-quarter time out.

Head Coach, Carl Jacobs, was proud of his team’s resilience and the mindset shown during the first state playoff game. He specifically mentioned his guards. 

“They are very experienced players,” Jacobs said. “They have been playing varsity since freshman year.” 

That includes a trip to the Regional Finals last year for the 2021-22 season. 

“We know what we have to do,” Jeremyah Aquino said. “When we hit adversity, we don’t get down on each other, we pick each other up. We keep our head up, that’s the only way we get back in the game; just stay at the same level the whole time.” 

Jeremyah had a stellar performance in the game against Christopher High School. He stole the ball, fearlessly penetrated the lane to draw fouls multiple times, and scored the game-winning free throws that put the game away, defeating the Cougars 72-66. 

“Player of the game, I’ll give it to Jeremyah, for his leadership on defense and his leadership controlling the offense,” Bringas said at the end of the game. 

Quentin Kennedy (#13) and Justin Aquino (#4) protect the court on defense.

Jacobs noted he wanted to have his team focus on improving on its tempo for the next round. 

“We started off kind of slow, that’s our M.O. [modus operandi] during the season, but it’s the postseason,” Jacobs said. “You can’t play like you used to. Against Oakland Tech, we have to bring it on from the beginning.” 

Bringas shared the strength and conditioning plan. 

“Recovery, lifting tomorrow, make sure these guys rest and recover tonight, get a great meal tonight, get plenty of sleep and then we’ve got to get the body ready for another game on Thursday,” he said. 

The city champs then traveled to face the Oakland Tech Bulldogs on March 2, and the adjustments Jacobs wanted were made. The Mustangs started off strong and kept the lead throughout the game. However, the momentum shifted late in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 18 points and held the Mustang offense to just 5 points; cutting the Mustangs’ season short with a final score of 64-59. 

“It was a hard-fought game, but unfortunately, we fell short there in the last minutes of the game,” Bringas said. 

Although the tough loss ended state championship aspirations for the promising Mustangs, the defeat marked the end of an exceptional season that includes a city title and a 27-4 overall record.  

Justin Aquino (#4).
Returning sophomore Ceeyan Lutt (#3) in the locker room getting mentally prepared for the game versus Christopher High School.
Jeremyah Aquino (#0) watches the backdoor of the court while playing defense.

See more of Yovany Moreno’s photos on Instagram: @geo-Genesis_2

2 replies »

  1. Somebody needs to consult a map of S.F. because Lincoln and Lowell are located reasonably close to one another on the same (west) side of town. Congrats to the Mustangs for a tremendous season!


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