"I can't remember ever having a better game," said Ryan Young, who also had two steals, two rebounds and one assist. "It was just amazing.
"I knew the game would be close. I just brought it upon myself not to let us lose. We had to go, and we did."
He had 15 of his 23 points in the final 11 minutes, 21 seconds. He was 6-for-7 from the foul line in that stretch and 9-for-10 during the game.
"I haven't been a good free throw shooter in the past, but I can make them when it counts," the Lincoln junior said.
He also was 7-for-12 from the field and showed no fear when he drove the ball inside against Boyle and the region's best shot blocker, Spencer Perrin.
"We respected Perrin, but we couldn't let him intimidate us," Young, who had a shot blocked early in the game by Perrin, said. "If we had played intimidated, we would not have won."
Young didn't mind the bumps he took when he went inside. He credited playing football and the increased strength it brought for enabling him to finish more plays on the court this season.
"Our success in football carried over to basketball. I know I'm a stronger, better player because coach (Larry) French had a heck of a weightlifting program for football. It made me a stronger player, and tonight that really helped," Young said.
Hustle and heart
But you can't teach hustle and heart. Young has both.
A 7-0 Boyle run gave the Rebels their final lead at 43-42 with 7:25 to play. Guess who put Lincoln ahead to stay? That's right. It was Young.
He drove inside, scored and was fouled. His free throw made it 45-43 with 6:47 left. Thirty seconds later, he scored again. About 90 seconds later he hustled to grab a rebound when teammate Trent Calhoun missed a free throw that led to a score by Braxton Miller for a 52-45 lead with 4:01 left.
"He really brought his 'A' game tonight," Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. "He ran the team. He got in the lane. He passed the ball well. He kept us under control and never let us get rattled. We talked about poise and composure before the game, and he did the things it took to make sure we played with poise. That's what a good point guard does."
Young's father knows. He proudly sat near as the Patriots received their championship trophy and watched his son and his teammates celebrate.
"He played a lot bigger role in his team winning than I did on my team," Paul Young said. "I was just a sub. But I know how much it means to be part of a regional championship team."
Lincoln athletics director Steve Ralston does, too. He was on Lincoln's 1975 regional title team. His son, Daniel, is a junior guard for the Patriots and had four points in Tuesday's win.
"That has been something Steve and I could always brag about to our sons. We had both been on regional championship teams," Paul Young said. "Actually, we just tried to motivate them. Hopefully we did because now they both know what it feels like."
"... I've got my own title"
No one will blame Ryan Young for reminding his father years from now that he had 23 points in the championship win.
"My dad has always reminded me of that 1980 team," the Lincoln junior said. "But now I've got my own title. The competitive juices just really came out in me tonight. I wanted to win this game so bad.
"Now that we have, I doubt that I will ever forget it. It was just an amazing game from start to finish."
It was and because Young's play was amazing, one day he'll have a chance to show off his own regional championship scrapbook and tell others about the night he had a career game at the best possible time.