Warren Lincoln sophomore Markus Blackwell controls the ball against St. Clair Shores South Lake on Feb. 1 at Lincoln High School.

Warren Lincoln sophomore Markus Blackwell controls the ball against St. Clair Shores South Lake on Feb. 1 at Lincoln High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Warren Lincoln boys basketball expectations at all-time high

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Warren Weekly | Published February 3, 2023

 Lincoln junior Timarion Minor drives past a South Lake defender.

Lincoln junior Timarion Minor drives past a South Lake defender.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


WARREN — By every aspect of the 2022 season, Warren Lincoln’s 19-3 record was a success for the up-and-coming program, for everyone except Lincoln coach Wydell Henry and his guys.

While falling short of the school’s first district title since 2005, the team understood that last season’s success set a new standard for expectations this season.

“It sets it high,” Henry said. “I hear people all the time say, ‘Coach, if it’s not Breslin (Center) or the states it’s a disappointment.’ For my guys, expectations are definitely final four bound.”

Lincoln is no longer the underdog story they’ve been in years past, for beating No. 1 ranked North Farmington earlier in the season was a wakeup call for the rest of their Division 1 and Macomb Area Conference Gold opponents.

North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian praised Lincoln after their matchup.

“I don’t think they’re flying under the radar anymore,” Negoshian said.

The reason behind Lincoln’s success has been their slew of talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the court. Led by sophomore twins Markus and Moses Blackwell, Lincoln’s 11-3 start this season is no surprise to anyone who knows their personnel.

Aside from the Blackwell twins, junior guard Kimari Barden, junior forward Timarion Minor, and senior guard Kurtis Rhodes have all made significant contributions for Lincoln.

Holding opponents to 54 points per game, Barden and Moses Blackwell have commanded a stout defensive unit.

“Those two guys really set the tone on the defensive end, and everyone else buys in,” Henry said.

Markus Blackwell, Rhodes, and Minor lead a high-powered offensive unit, averaging 68 points per game.

Minor has made his presence felt in the paint while Blackwell has been one of Lincoln’s primary threats offensively as their leading ball handler.

“He (Markus) has a tremendous skill set,” Henry said. “He can shoot the ball with the best of them, and I think he’s one of the top in the state when he gets going. I think he’s one of the best guards in the state.”

It’s been a prove-it year for Lincoln, showing the rest of the league that not only is their success sustainable but they’re a different team than in years past.

Their district finals loss to Detroit Pershing last season, where Henry coached from 2013 to 2017, was a defining moment for the young squad, but Minor said it translated to motivation.

“It was really just not picking up where we left off, but doing better than we did last year,” Minor said. “We knew our schedule was going to be harder than last year, but we were one year older.”

A tough schedule is an understatement describing the gauntlet Lincoln faced in both their summer sessions and during the season.

Lincoln squared off against some of the best talent in the state of Michigan this season during the summer, facing Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (13-1), Muskegon (12-0), Grand Rapids Catholic Central (9-4) and Ann Arbor Skyline (8-5).

Henry said the summer games were a test to see where his team stood.

“It gets you going,” Henry said. “For the guys who haven’t played a lot, it was very important. We went to seven or eight camps over the summer.”

If the obstacles weren’t strong enough before the start of the year, Lincoln faced off against Brother Rice, North Farmington, Detroit Martin Luther King, Macomb Dakota and Grosse Pointe North in their first five games. Lincoln went 4-1 in that span, suffering their lone loss to Brother Rice.

Henry said Lincoln’s schedule is something both him and the team pride themselves on.

“We want to play the best,” Henry said. “We don’t want to dump no one. If you want to build a championship culture, you have to play the best and see where you’re at. I tell my guys that we’re either going to get some exposure or get exposed.”

Holding the top spot in the MAC Gold by one game, Lincoln controls their own destiny as they head into the last weeks of their season.

While “three straight league titles” has a nice ring to it, Minor said the guys are focused on redeeming themselves in the district championship game, bringing home that trophy to the community.

“It would mean a lot,” Minor said. “We felt last year we were close, and now we have to come back and get it.”