STANFORD — The Boyle County boys pride themselves on their defense.
But the Rebels’ usually strong defensive effort was racheted up a notch Friday, when they held Lincoln County to one point over a 10-minute, 52-second stretch in the second and third quarters to build an 18-point lead en route to an 70-54 victory.
“It was a big win for us, on Lincoln’s home floor. It’s always a tough place to play,” said Brett Jones, who went 15 for 16 at the free-throw line and scored a game-high 20 points for Boyle. “We just executed what we ran in practice, and then in the third quarter we really played good defense. That was big for us.”
Hagen Tayler hit all eight of his free throws, along with two 3-pointers and scored 18 for visiting Boyle (9-6, 3-0 45th District), which won its fifth straight game and its third district game in eight days.
Lincoln (7-11, 1-1) led 18-15 with 4:26 left in the first half, but Boyle went on an 11-0 run, capped by Chapman Bean’s putback to lead 26-18 late in the half.
During that time, the Patriots managed only a free throw from Timmy Taylor to make it a 26-19 game at halftime. They then missed their first nine shots of the third quarter and committed two turnovers.
Jacob Conway, who led Lincoln with 19 points, finally converted a 3-point play with 1:34 left in the third quarter, but by that time Boyle had built a 39-22 lead. Four straight points by Taylor made it 41-28, but Jones’ drive with 4 seconds left in the period gave Boyle a 43-28 lead.
“They’re very good, they’re very disciplined on the defensive end. I feel them and West Jessamine are the two best defensive teams in our region. They came in here and popped us pretty good on our floor,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “They got after us pretty good. We’ve got to learn to be more disciplined on both ends of the floor and learn to execute better.
“We’ve got learn to rebound and just bring more energy to the table. We didn’t play with a lot of energy, and they may have had something to do with that.”
Boyle coach Steve Adams thought so, as the Rebels focused on slowing down the Patriots’ 3-point attack.
Lincoln finished just 5 for 17 from 3-point range and 23 for 59 overall from the field.
“The kids did a great job. We changed a little bit in mid-flow. We decided to change things on the perimeter, and the kids did a great job making that change,” Adams said. “And we thought if we could keep them out of the lane, closed out and challenged the 3-point shots and rebounded the ball, we could make it tough for them.
“You’ve got to hang your hat on something, and we feel we can defend every night. We may not be able to shoot it well, we may throw it away, but if we defend well, we give ourselves a chance.”
Lincoln got buckets from Taylor, Conway and Brandon Pittman to trim the Boyle lead to 48-38 with 3:57 to play, but Boyle went 18 for 22 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Jones was 10 for 11 in the final period.
“At the end of practice, we always shoot free throws and (say) that free throws will determine the game,” Jones said. “And that came up big for us.”
Boyle went 29 for 35 at the line, while Lincoln was just 3 for 10.
“That makes it hard to get back in the game,” Jackson said. “They outworked us, I thought.”
Boyle shot 50 percent (8 for 16) from the field in the second half and finished the night 17 for 37, going 7 for 14 from 3-point range.
Lincoln led 12-8 after the first quarter, but a layup from Colton Elkins and three free throws from Tyler gave Boyle a 13-12 lead.
Two buckets from Luke Hill, who had 10 points and 10 boards, gave Lincoln the lead back at 16-13.
Another Hill jumper made it 18-15, but that’s when Lincoln went cold and the game began to get out of hand.
Boyle County 8 26 43 70
Lincoln County 12 19 28 54
BOYLE (9-6) — Brett Jones 20, Aram Martin 3, Devin True 7, Micah Miniard 6, Hagen Tyler 18, Chapman Bean 8, Colton Elkins 2, Josiah Robbins 6.
LINCOLN (7-11) — Timmy Taylor 9, Brandon Pittman 7, Neil Conley 9, Jacob Conway 19, Luke Hill 10.