If Eldon Mustangs boys' basketball coach Jim Lincoln could've put anything on his Christmas wish list before the season, a powerful 6-foot-5 post player might have been his first choice. Lincoln will have to wait until at least next season for that present, but he can get something even better tonight: a district championship. Eldon, the host school for the Class 4, District 10 tournament, plays Helias Catholic at 7:30 p.m. tonight in a rematch from last year's title game.


If Eldon Mustangs boys' basketball coach Jim Lincoln could've put anything on his Christmas wish list before the season, a powerful 6-foot-5 post player might have been his first choice.

Lincoln will have to wait until at least next season for that present, but he can get something even better tonight: a district championship. Eldon, the host school for the Class 4, District 10 tournament, plays Helias Catholic at 7:30 p.m. tonight in a rematch from last year's title game.

Since coming to Eldon in 2009, Lincoln has tweaked his coaching style to suit his varsity roster.

The Mustangs aren't tall in the post area, but they do have some noticeable strengths elsewhere: outside shooting, passing and all-around height.

Perhaps Lincoln's biggest principle is to shoot it when you're open, or face consequences.

"One of the things I've done as a coach, for the last three years I've been here, we're going to shoot it," Lincoln said. "I don't care how many you miss. If you're one of the shooters, you better shoot it when you're open. And if you don't shoot it, you're coming out."

Lincoln has given the green light to outside shooters such as John Hall and Sam Lincoln, along with forwards Ryan Kliethermes and Zach Shreve.

The bombs-away style does backfire on occasional, Lincoln admitted. But Eldon has mostly thrived on it this season, amassing a 21-5 overall record after Wednesday night's semifinal win against Fulton.

"That's just always been one of my philosophies as a coach," Lincoln said. "Does it hurt us sometimes? Yeah, but, we've developed some shooters here. We got some kids that can stroke it and that kind of offsets not having that big 6-foot-5 moose in the middle."

Eldon is also typically taller than opposing teams in the backcourt.

"We have overall good team size," Lincoln said. "We're 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 at a lot of positions. We have to take advantage of being able to step out and knock down some shots."

The playbook really opens up when Eldon is making its 3-pointers.

"One of our advantages, since we shoot well, is that if you go man-to-man on us we're going to pick you apart," he said.

Class 4, District 10
Monday, Feb. 20
No. 4 Boonville 51, No. 5 Osage 49

Wednesday, Feb. 22
No. 1 Helias Catholic 66, Boonville 25
No. 2 Eldon 70, No. 3 Fulton 58

Friday, Feb. 24
Helias Catholic vs. Eldon, 7:30 p.m.