It can be difficult to even gather a simple thought when Lincoln Park’s gym is loud and raging and that was certainly the case on Wednesday.
But Uplift senior Demarius Jacobs has reached that special point in his senior season when the game has slowed down for him and everything is just a little bit easier than it used to be.
The Titans needed that moment of brilliance. Lincoln Park had the ball and a chance to win the game, but Jacobs stole the ball with 11 seconds to play and converted a layup at the other end to give Uplift a 63-61 victory.
“I knew the ball handler personally and I knew he was going to give it to us in some way,” Jacobs said. “I stuck my hand in there and I got it. I just saw the light.”
Jacobs, one of the city’s best dunkers, did not slam the ball. The Titans missed two dunks in the fourth quarter that helped Lincoln Park (13-9, 7-3 Red-North) cut an 11 point deficit in the final four minutes.
“I just wanted to put the ball in the rim and make sure we won,” Jacobs said.
The SIU recruit finished with 15 points. Toraze Dobbs, a 6-5 junior, was the main offensive weapon for No. 8 Uplift (20-4, 10-0). He scored 24 and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Titans were down 17-10 when Dobbs basically started dominating the game.
“I come out every night and think no one can guard me,” Dobbs said. “I’m an all-around player, I can shoot the ball and handle it.”
Uplift coach David Taylor is worried about his talented squad’s tendency to give up big leads.
“We have to get out of the habit,” Taylor said. “They are kids, I just have to coach them through it.”
Jacobs has been there to save Uplift almost every time.
“That was pretty heroic tonight,” Taylor said. “He’s been our guy all year, he’s bailed us out so many times. His awareness coupled with his athleticism and his basketball skill puts him head and shoulders above a lot of kids. He can do things like that where he decides to take over and will that sort of stuff. I think he’s the Player of the Year.”
Senior Hamza Gocobija led Lincoln Park with 17 points and Bryce McGill added 11. Alec Brent finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Tujautae Williams flashed some impressive potential, he had eight points and five boards.
The Titans have some major goals now that the regular season is over.
“We are vying for a city title and a Class 2A state title,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of been the goal since the beginning of the season but now that it is here it is front and center.”
Uplift is a confident group.
“I’m tired of playing these teams, it’s time to get to the real competition, Simeon and Morgan Park,” Dobbs said. “We are ready to get to the big teams.”
“After we get Simeon out of our way it is over with,” said Jacobs.Tags: Lincoln Park, Uplift