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Lincoln, Airedales ready for the season 11/8/21

Lincoln, Airedales ready for the season

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Dominic Lincoln has been counting the days to the start of the basketball season since he shook hands with Alma Athletics Director Doug Loughridge. 


Lights, camera, action! (And don’t forget the smoke machine!)


The Airedales will unveil each level of teams, from the seventh grade to senior high, Tuesday night in the Green and Gold scrimmage at Charles B. Dyer Arena. 


“It means everything,” Lincoln said. “I really, really love my staff I’m working with. Coach (Darin) Stahler does a great job every day, and coach (Eddie) Corder and coach (Robert) Nehus are here every day, and then we get coach (Chad) Powell coming over from football. The team has been amazing; they’ve already bought in and we’re on the same page.”


Lincoln hit the ground running back in June. And, while housing and other essentials were being sought, he quickly discovered what others had told him. 


“The administration has made me very comfortable,” he said. “They made sure I’ve enjoyed my stay. The people in the community helped with helping us find a house and they helped me find my wife a job. They say Alma’s a family, and it’s the truth. 


“I’m happy to be here.”


Lincoln inherits a team that found itself stuck in neutral for much of the 2020-21 season. Former coach Stan Flenor’s last season included a lot of near misses. 


“We talk about that a lot,” Lincoln said. “Coach Stahler talks about that, too. They were in many games and had a chance to win them, and they lost a couple of heartbreakers at the buzzer. 


“What we talk about in practice is finishing — we want to finish every drill, every quarter, and every game on a high note.”  


Alma started 6-1 last season before losing 11 of 13 — with six of those losses coming by eight points or less. 


“When you’re close, it just takes a little bit more focus and a little bit more attention to finish the outcome,” Lincoln said. “We’ve been talking a lot about finishing everything we do - that’s our mindset.”


Tuesday’s Green and Gold scrimmages will feature every player in the program, from seventh grade through high school. Each team will play a series of half-hour scrimmages. Public announcer David Wright will introduce each player. 


“I just wanted to add a little more excitement around basketball, get people excited about basketball, and also highlight our younger kids,” Lincoln said. “They don’t get to play in the arena much, so for them to have that experience and run out with the smoke, with their parents there on the arena floor, that sets a tone that basketball is really important.. 


“We have a lot of pride from the ground up.”


Lincoln and the Airedales kick off the 2021-22 season beginning with Thursday’s benefit game with Beebe. 


The Airedales open for keeps Nov. 18 when they head to Lincoln for three tournament games. 


Alma returns two starters, including Hunter McAlister. Stewart George and Conner Stacy are expected to contribute. 


“Our expectation is really to go out there and set the tone for our season,” Lincoln said. ``We want to play well on the defensive end and be unselfish with the basketball. We have to share the ball, hit the open guy, and keep it simple.


“Honestly, we want to set the tone for our home crowd and give us something to be proud of.”