The West Jessamine Colts quickly rebounded from Friday’s regional loss to McCreary Central, hitting the hardwood at full gallop Tuesday to take a commanding 13-point first-quarter lead over Lincoln County.
The visiting Patriots used a 13-0 third-quarter rally to whittle the deficit down to single digits, but the Colts slammed the door shut on Lincoln in the fourth, pulling away to claim a 62-47 win.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start in three of our four games this year at home, so that gives us a lot of confidence,” said West Jessamine coach Damon Kelley. “But we haven’t learned yet to play with the intensity you need for four quarters. We’re getting better in spurts. We’ve just got to learn not to have the lapses where we don’t keep our edge mentally.”
The Colts were firing on all cylinders in the win, connecting on 63 percent of their shots (22-for-35) from the field and sinking 15-of-20 free throw attempts while holding the Patriots to 37-percent shooting (21-for-57) and 0-for-7 at the line.
Lincoln (2-3) held the early lead, with Carl-Lewis Cummins opening the night’s scoring. Jeff Ziemann answered with a trey to nudge West Jessamine in front only to have Luke Hill score inside to push Lincoln back on top.
West Jessamine (4-2) trailed only briefly. Daulton Peters tallied for the first of his team-high 12 points to jump-start a 9-2 scoring run, Ziemann followed with two free-throw tosses, Chase Fain stepped behind the arc for three and Will Henderson hit for two to give the Colts the lead for good, 12-6.
After a bucket in the paint by Hill for Lincoln, West was back on the run with Fain and Heath Jackson both going inside for goals before Peters capped off the first quarter with two free throws and a buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it 21-8.
Peters, Ziemann, Fain and Jackson, along with Robby Irgang, were the Colts’ firepower in the win, with all five hitting double figures. Peters had his 12, Fain and Jackson each had 11 points, and Ziemann and Irgang had 10 points apiece. Henderson rounded out the team scoring with eight points.
“We’ve got a balanced team. Our kids play well together,” Kelley said. “Chase Fain’s been our leading scorer most games, but there’s no selfishness to them. They pass the ball well. If anything, sometimes they overpass. I’d rather them be a little selfish sometimes.”
Lincoln answered West’s explosive start with a 10-2 scoring tear to open the second quarter. Micah Ward drove the baseline for a bucket, Hill scored back-to-back baskets, Trenton Edgington hit for two, and Cummins drove inside to trim West’s lead to 23-18 with 4:13 left in the half.
The only burp in the Lincoln run was a basket by Fain with 5:02 showing. The Colts more than made up for the run in the closing minutes of the half. Peters, Irgang and Fain hit a bucket apiece, then Irgang closed the half with a three-point play to make it 32-20.
“They outphysicaled us, outworked us, and they played much better than we did tonight,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said of the Colts. “They knocked us all over the place.”
West extended the run to 13-2 in the third quarter, with Irgang and Ziemann hitting for the Colts to make it a 36-20 margin.
Then Lincoln came calling.
Trenton Edgington, who had 12 points for Lincoln, scored 10 of his points in the third quarter as the Patriots came roaring back. Edgington ignited the run with a three-pointer. Cummins also nailed a trey in the run, then it was more Edgington, twice on layups and one more time from three-point range as Lincoln trimmed its deficit from 16 points to three, 36-33.
West was clinging to a 42-36 lead going into the fourth quarter. The margin stayed under eight until midway through the fourth when Jackson went inside to score to make it 52-42. Cummins answered with a trey for Lincoln, but the Colts took the reins for the final minute and a half, outscoring Lincoln 10-2 to put the game away.
“We got that lead in the middle of the third quarter and then they knock down a couple threes, and we didn’t make good decisions offensively,” Kelley said. “We allowed them to get back in the game, but we regrouped and were able to pull it out at the end.”
Lincoln had three separate opportunities to narrow the gap at the foul line but came up empty-handed.
“We had our chances there late to narrow the gap a little bit, missed several there in a row,” Jackson said. “They were 15-for-20 free throws, and they beat us by 15. We fouled too much.”
West out rebounded Lincoln 33-23.
West returns to action on Friday at Madison Central (5-0) and will compete in the Capital City Invitational starting Tuesday.