Basketball: Lincoln boys fall to Lexington Catholic 90-76
Brandon Pittman of Lincoln County drives into the lane against Lexington Catholic defender Reese Ryan during the second half of Lincoln's 90-76 loss Tuesday. (Nancy Leedy / February 13, 2013)
Lexington Catholic didn't need much defense to earn the win, as it shot 65.3 percent from the field.
The Knights went 32 for 49, with Whitman, a 6-9 senior, going 11 for 13 from the field and Johnson, a sophomore, going 8 for 13, including hitting five of nine shots from 3-point range. The team also racked up the points at the free-throw line, sinking 21 of 27 free throw attempts, led by Whitman’s 8-of-11 stint.
“We would have had to have played really well, because they have the big kid inside (Whitman) that’s really good and they shoot the ball very well,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “They shot 70 percent. Danville shot 70 percent. That’s not doing a very good job defensively. We’ve got to change our thought process and our mentality between now and next Wednesday (when Lincoln plays in the district tournament) or it could be a long night.”
Lincoln (13-16) traded leads with Lexington Catholic (18-9) five times in the first quarter. Johnson rang up the first of his five 3-pointers to help the Knights take a 5-2 lead, but Brandon Pittman, who finished with 15 points for the Patriots, answered with his own triple to tie the game at 5-all, then hit again from 3-point range after Catholic took a 9-5 lead. B.J. Hoover, who scored 13 points, followed the second Pittman trey with a bucket to give Lincoln its first lead at 10-9 with 3:13 left in the period.
Whitman converted on a three-point play to put Lexington Catholic back on top, only to have Jacob Conway, who led Lincoln with 19 points, collect his own three-point play to give the Patriots a 13-12 lead.
Michael Talbott drove inside with 13.8 seconds left to give the edge back to Lexington Catholic, but Pittman scored off a Timmy Taylor assist with one second left to make it 15-14 Lincoln.
There were four ties in the second quarter before the Knights went on top to stay. Luke Hill put up a jumper with 3:45 left in the first half to knot the game at 23-all, then Reese Ryan answered inside for Lexington Catholic for the final lead change.
The Knights led 32-29 at halftime, but it wasn’t until late in the third quarter that they started to pull away, taking control with a 15-7 run.
Neil Conley had just drained a 3-pointer in the third to pull Lincoln within 40-38 when Lexington Catholic broke on its run. Johnson tallied eight of the 15 points in the run, nailing two 3-pointers, including a bouncer at the buzzer that put the Knights up 55-45 going into the fourth quarter.
“We did not compete on the defensive end,” Jackson said. “We lost people in transition. We weren’t very focused from the beginning, and we weren’t focused at the end.
“We let them go from basket to basket. We lost 3-point shooters. Our help-side (defense) was not very good on Whitman. He’s a load in there one-on-one and Luke can’t guard him by himself. He’s got to have some help. We had some people that were supposed to help, and they didn’t get there. They were too spread out.”
Lincoln never recovered from the third-quarter run. Lexington Catholic led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before moving on for the win.
Lincoln had four players in double figures Tuesday, with Taylor adding 14 points. The Patriots shot 43 percent from the field, going 25 for 58 overall and 13 for 33 from 3-point range. They were 13 for 17 at the foul line.
The Knights outrebounded the Patriots 34-19 and had seven turnovers to Lincoln’s 11. Pittman had seven rebounds for Lincoln, and Taylor and Conway each had four.
Lexington Catholic 14 32 55 90
Lincoln County 15 29 45 76
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (18-9) — Reese Ryan 12, Jack Whitman 30, Dillon Avare 6, Jarod Griffin 11, Tanner Johnson 25, Michael Talbott 6.
LINCOLN (13-16) — Timmy Taylor 12, B.J. Hoover 13, Brandon Pittman 15, Neil Conley 9, Jacob Conway 19, Luke Hill 8.