Fourth-seeded Lincoln Academy relied on balanced scoring and defense Tuesday to fend off a potential upset and defeat fifth-ranked Wells 43-33 in a Class B South girls’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

The Eagles (17-2) will take on top-ranked Mountain Valley (18-1) in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Eagles had seven players score at least three points and also forced 19 turnovers.

“The balanced scoring today is obviously what we’re always after,” said Lincoln Coach Kevin Feltis. “I want to give the Wells kids a lot of credit. They battled and scrapped and did a really nice job, and they’re well coached. I knew exactly what we were going to be in for and we kind of talked it about on the way up here that we were in for a dogfight, and that’s exactly what it was.”

Gabrielle Wajer and Avae Traina paced the Eagles with eight points each, and Samantha Burke and Kaitlyn Feltis each added six. Natalie Thurber led Wells with 14 points.

Wajer added five rebounds and four assists, and controlled an offense that only turned the ball over nine times.

“She’s a great team leader and she does all the things we ask her to,” said Feltis. “That kid is equally happy to be distributing the basketball as she scoring it. We never talk about how many points she scores. She could easily be a 1,000-point scorer. But … we’re a team-first system and we ask her to distribute the ball as much as we ask her to shoot it, and she certainly embraces that.”

A fast-paced first quarter ended 10-10. Lincoln was able to take advantage of a significant size advantage in the second and took a 24-16 advantage into halftime.

Thurber scored 10 in the third quarter for the Warriors, who pulled within 32-29 heading to the fourth. But after Wells scored the first basket of the final quarter, Lincoln Academy went on an 8-0 run that pushed its lead up to nine with just under three minutes to play.

“We were 4-14 last year and I had basically the same group, and they were sophomores and freshmen,” said Wells Coach Don Abbott. “They grew up a lot this year and we just ran into a buzzsaw today – a big, strong, physical team. But it’s nice to know we’re able to compete at this level and go through the whole experience. It will leave them hungry coming back next year and they’ll have a little something to prove.”

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