Ypsilanti, MI — Friday night was the Emoni Bates show at the Eastern Michigan Convocation Center, as the no. 1 recruit of the 2022 class put up 40 points and 12 rebounds to lead Lincoln High school to a 67-60 overtime win against their hometown rival, Ypsilanti High.
Bates made sure to get his teammates involved despite all the attention being on him. DeCorion Temple and Braelon Green both put up eight points a piece.
Although Bates was the bulk of offense, his team played hard and created second chance opportunities for one another; dishing the ball off when needed and rallying together in regulation time to give themselves a shot at winning.
Going into tonight’s game versus Ypsilanti, spectators all believed it would be no surprise for Bates to have a standout performance, considering he put up an all-worldly performance the last game (63 points, 21 rebounds in a 108-102 double-overtime game against Chelsea on 2/18).
In the first half, however, Bates couldn’t seem to find the stroke on his jump shot.
“My teammates told me to keep shooting,” Bates said after the game. “I knew my shots were not falling, but I came back harder.”
Outside of helping his team offensively, Bates is an emotional leader. It is very rare that you see an individual so young and gifted and also, just as passionate.
There were many times in Friday’s game that fans saw him cheering on his team; flexing when they made shots and sometimes even letting out a scream over the roar of the crowd. I heard him encouraging DC Temple in the second quarter, telling him to keep playing hard and saying “we got this.”
His poise and ability to take constructive criticism from head coach Jesse Davis was great to see as well. In fact, it’s what stands out from other athletes his age. He hung on to every word he said as they stood hand-in-hand during a Lincoln free-throw. This is a young star who is willing to listen and learn to reach his full potential.
These things are what I believe will make him special in the long run.
Friday’s game was a great experience. If you have not seen this Ohio Lincoln team play, I suggest you head to a game nearest you. These young men are on a mission — and it’s amazing to watch.