Lincoln could have used Norman Powell last night at St. Augustine, but Powell is busy rising at UCLA under first-year coach Steve Alford.
It should have been expected.
There’s a connection between Powell and Alford.
That was apparent three years ago at a Lincoln-St. Augustine game in the Saints’ old Daugherty Gym.
The date, Feb. 15, 2011.
Alford, then coaching New Mexico, arrived in town for a game the next day at San Diego State.
The coach first took in the afternoon contest between the Hornets and Saints.
Alford was there to see Powell, who didn’t disappoint, dunking and breaking away for 35 points on 14 of 19 shooting from the field, harassing the Saints on defense, and leading Lincoln to an 85-53 victory.
Powell didn’t go to New Mexico. He chose UCLA, but it wasn’t until Alford’s arrival on the Westwood campus this season that the 6-foot, 4-inch junior emerged.
Powell scored a season high 19 points earlier this week and was a stout defender as the No. 25 Bruins scored a 69-56 victory at No. 21 Colorado and put themselves firmly in the hunt for Pac-12 Conference and posteason honors.
“I don’t hang my hat on the offensive end,” Powell told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “Defense, defense, defense, defense. That’s what coach tells us every time we go out to play a game.”
Alford had another view: “Norman is a load when you give him freedom in the post and on drives to the basket.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln was woeful in the Western League rivals’ first 2013-14 meeting. The Saints entertained a full house of mostly purple-clad fans and dismissed the Hornets, 70-45, after running to a 45-17 halftime lead.
BARNBURNER IN CARLSBAD
Tommy McCarthy drained a three-point looper with 1.3 seconds remaining to give La Costa Canyon a 54-52 victory over visiting Torrey Pines in a battle of North County honchos.
La Costa Canyon, ranked third in the U-T San Diego poll, and top-ranked St Augustine will meet Monday evening at Francis Parker in the feature of many Martin Luther King holiday games around the San Diego Section. The undercard matches No. 4 Torrey Pines and the host No. 8 Lancers.