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Freshman Lucca ices Cogs’ victory at free-throw line

GENOA – With Genoa-Kingston holding a slim, late lead over Byron Tuesday night, the Cogs were in a situation where senior point guard Mason Lucca normally would be handling the ball.

With the Cogs up two points with 10 seconds left, a couple of good free throws would ice the contest with a clean inbounds pass.

It was a scenario where G-K coach Corey Jenkins would usually look get the ball to the veteran Lucca, his point guard.

However, with Lucca fouled out, Jenkins still had plenty of confidence in his second choice for the situation, Mason’s brother, freshman Tommy Lucca.

Tommy Lucca took the inbounds pass in the left corner, got fouled, and confidently sank two free throws to complete a 47-43 Cogs win.

The freshman’s first conversion was the front end of a 1-and-1.

“Normally we would design a play for Mason to get it,” Jenkins said. “We have the utmost confidence in Tommy as well. It’s nice to have two options, but at that time with him being out of the game, Tommy was our option.”

G-K (14-7) lost Mason with more than four minutes left in the game, meaning it was Tommy’s turn to take over point guard duties and handle the ball.

He did commit one turnover against the tough, disciplined Byron (11-10) 1-3-1 zone, overthrowing Griffin McNeal in the corner, but Jenkins thought his freshman handled crunch time well.

“You wouldn’t be able to tell he’s a freshman, would you? His IQ out there, it’s high,” Jenkins said.”

Tommy Lucca finished with 10 points for G-K, and Mason Lucca added nine. Senior forward Adam Price led the Cogs with 18 points – his season average.

Price has been a huge part of G-K’s offense all season, and Tommy Lucca said that without him the Cogs wouldn’t be where they were, at seven games over .500 with a chance to tie for the top spot in the Big Northern East with a win at Burlington Central on Saturday. The Cogs are 5-2 in league play, and the Rockets, who won at G-K earlier this year, are 4-1.

In Tuesday’s win, Price scored 13 points in the first half, chipping in five after the break, all of them coming in the fourth. One thing Tommy Lucca wanted to see his team do more of in the second half was find Price.

“They didn’t really take him away. We just really didn’t get him the touches we should have,” Tommy Lucca said. “We should have worked the ball in the corner a little more, got him more looks. First half he played well and pretty much carried us throughout it.”

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