When Harry Rasmussen started the game 3-for-3 from the floor, it was clear he was feeling it. After splitting the regular season series against Thomas Johnson, the hot start from the senior forward is what Linganore needed during the Class 3A West Section II semifinal game on Tuesday.
Linganore secured the No. 2 seed in the section over the Patriots by a coin flip, which gave them a week’s rest before their first playoff game, but there was no room to come out flat.
Despite constant pressure from the Patriots defense, Rasmussen was able to fight his way for 21 points to lead the Lancers to a 76-67 win at home and advance to the regional semifinal at Tuscarora on Thursday.
“It was definitely a big deal seeing that first one go down” said Rasmussen. “It gives you a ton of confidence.”
The first half was faced paced as both teams tried to establish their offensive presence on the floor. A 3-pointer and a three-point play from Rasmussen sparked an early lead as he scored eight of the Lancer’s first 10 points in the opening period. Linganore engineered a 7-0 and 8-0 run to outscore the Patriots 19-14 in the second quarter and take a 33-23 lead going into halftime.
A faced paced first half turned into a chippy second half due to the circumstances that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. A closely called game by the referees put three of the five Lancer starters into foul trouble. Nick Lang, Michael Rajnik, and Rasmussen all picked up four fouls in the third quarter. Linganore coach Tom Kraft kept his composure and relied on his bench to keep the same intensity on the floor.
“Those guys that played the third quarter didn’t go out there thinking we don’t have to just protect this lead,” Kraft said. “They went out there and they extended the lead.”
Junior guard Drew Twillman and the rest of the Lancers on the floor did exactly that and continued to push the pressure on the Patriots. Twillman added two key 3’s in the third quarter and finished the game with 16 points. The Patriots, led by Braxton Foreman, were able to cut the deficit to 10 midway through the third quarter, but the Lancer offensive was too much.
“When I realized Harry had four [fouls], and Austin and Nick had three [fouls], I knew it was my role to step up and start hitting shots and take over on the offensive side,” Twillman said.
Lang and Rasmussen entered back in the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the Lancers were able to maintain a steady lead. A foul in the bonus and a technical from Jason Swann sent Rasmussen to the line at the end of the game. He fittingly hit all four free throws to secure the playoff win.
The Lancers will take one day off before traveling to Tuscarora on Thursday. The two teams met twice during the regular season, with both wins going to the Titans.
“They’re a good team,” Rasmussen said of Tuscarora. “We didn’t play them too well the second game, but I think we will give them a tough game.”