Prep Basketball: Lincoln County girls defeat Garrard County 57-45
Lincoln County¿s Kourtney Belcher (21) looks to get a shot off against the Garrard County defense of Ryan Cain (23) and Devin Conley in the second quarter of the Patriots¿ 57-45 win Friday in Lancaster. Belcher had six points for Lincoln. Cain had 12 points for Garrard and Conley scored 13. (Clay Jackson / January 6, 2013)
They wrapped up their win over Garrard County in regulation time Friday night, claiming a 57-45 victory at Garrard Middle School.
That’s a decently close margin, but in reality Lincoln dominated. The Patriots (12-3, 2-0 45th District) never trailed, jumping out to a 12-1 lead in the first quarter and leading by as many as 32 points in the second half. The final score could have been so much worse had Garrard (8-2, 0-2) not outscored Lincoln 20-0 in the final 7 minutes, 32 seconds.
“The final score didn’t show the difference that was there early, but I got some of our younger kids in there the second half,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “They need to have opportunities to get ready for next year, to face varsity opponents and bigger, stronger girls. They got that tonight. It showed some weaknesses that we have to improve on, but that helps us learn and get better.”
Garrard coach Scott Bolin agreed that the final outcome was misleading.
“Obviously, the score doesn’t indicate it tonight, but we’re a nice team,” he said. “We didn’t play well offensively. We turned (the ball) over at some bad times, we missed a lot of point-blank shots, and once we started missing some shots we didn’t do a good job of recovering.”
Garrard’s offensive woes showed early. The Golden Lions, who shot 34 percent (15 for 44) from the field, iced over in the opening frame, going 1 for 12. Devin Conley, who led Garrard with 13 points, connected for their lone goal with just 6.8 seconds on the clock, ending a 10-0 Lincoln run.
“We did (struggle),” Bolin said. “Had some good looks at (basket), but you’ve just got to hunker down and play, and we didn’t do that for a long time. Against a really good team like Lincoln, they make you pay for it. And that’s what happened tonight.”
Lincoln, which finished at 45 percent (24 for 53) from the field, also struggled early before Emily Fox, who had a game-high 19 points, drove inside for a layup to ignite the 10-0 run. The Patriots were 1 for 5 before Fox hit.
Rachel Spangler, who finished with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds to help Lincoln hold a 32-27 edge on the glass, also drove inside for a bucket in the run. Sydney Harris followed with two free throws and Kourtney Belcher closed with back-to-back buckets to make it 12-1.
“Both teams struggled in the first putting the ball in the hole. We were, like, 0 for 3 and they were, like, 0 for 4, well it was 0-for-a lot for both teams,” McWhorter said. “Once we got a couple shots to fall it got us going, and defensively our intensity picked up and we got on a roll.”
And Lincoln kept rolling.
Fox sparked another Lincoln run before the first quarter ended, driving the baseline for a bucket as the buzzer sounded. The Patriots would rip off 11 unanswered points in the run, opening the second quarter with baskets by Spangler, Kelsi Honaker and Harris and a 3-pointer from Fox to make it 23-4.
“We came out and played really well after some rest,” McWhorter said. “I gave the girls Wednesday off after playing Danville (on Tuesday) and going into a double overtime. I felt like they needed the day off to go home and rest. We had a long trip to Florida, and I think they came back energized tonight, and once we started hitting, we played more of how we are capable of playing.”
Garrard managed to get its offense righted before halftime, going 4 for 6 over the final 5 minutes to get within 27-16. Victoria Floyd, who finished with 11 points, picked up a three-point play and a field goal, Kelly Smith and Conley got a bucket apiece, Autumn Murray sank two free throws and Conley got one.
Lincoln reserves Caitlin Hall and Tiandra Hocker closed out the first-half scoring, with Hall draining a 3-pointer and Hocker scoring off a Spencer Sims assist to double up on Garrard, 32-16.
The assist by Sims was one of 15 for the Patriots in the win.
“I thought the girls did a good job moving the ball and finding each other when we were open,” McWhorter said. “We had 15 assists tonight, and I told them before the game our goal was to have 15 or more assists and 12 or fewer turnovers. We got one category but didn’t get the other (17 turnovers).”
The Patriots spent the third quarter cushioning their lead, outpointing Garrard 23-9. Fox scored 10 of the 23 points in the period, Hocker had six points, Ciara Saylor had three and Spangler and Belcher each had two points.