STANFORD — The score was one-sided from the start, but Lincoln County coach Jeff Jackson insisted Tuesday’s 72-40 victory over Danville Tuesday in the 45th District opener for both teams was not as easy as it seemed.
“I never thought the score would be like this,” said Jackson. “They are athletic, probably the most athletic team in the (12th) region. But we moved the ball well and shot well. We got off to a good start.”
That good start was due in large part to Jacob Conway, who had a game-high 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field. He had nine points in just over six minutes to help the Patriots take a 15-6 lead and then Lincoln’s defense — or Danville’s inept offense — turned the game into a mismatch.
Danville (3-10) didn’t have a field goal the final 12 minutes, 18 seconds of the first half. The Admirals had just three free throws in the second quarter when the Patriots expanded a 17-8 lead to 30-11 at intermission.
“They are a dangerous team, but we never let them get anything going,” Jackson said. “We rebounded well. We limited their second shots and most shots they did take were contested. They go to the glass really well, but we didn’t let them.
“Conway helped us get off to a great start. Defensively, everybody played well. Jacob has got to score but Timmy (Taylor) also did a great job running the team. We are improving and it showed tonight.”
Lincoln went 25-for-50 from the field and 12-for-16 at the foul line and outrebounded Danville 32-28. The Admirals were only 14-for-41 from the field and also had 13 turnovers. It was Danville’s second lowest scoring game of the season and led to a fifth straight loss.
“I thought we missed some open shots early and then we took ourselves out of the game defensively,” Danville coach Andrew Zaheri said. “They made some shots and we are on a long losing streak and it was like, ‘Oh no, here we go again.’ We had a good walk-through (practice) today. But we just couldn’t get anything to go our way at the beginning of the game and it was like we lost all confidence.
“One good thing for us will be getting back in school. We have been to two Christmas tournaments and out of a normal routine. We play again at Mercer County Saturday and I’m hoping get back in school and playing district and area teams will bring out the competitive fire in us and get us back going. We can play better than this.”
Taylor added 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting for Lincoln and B.J. Hoover got 18 on 4-for-8 shooting.
Alex Burnside got 15 points to lead Danville and freshman Jakobi Turner had 9.
“We started Turner in our last tournament and we have to go ahead and play him because of some things he can add to our team.¿He just needs experience,” Zaheri said. “Lincoln really played well and shot well. We just have to find a way to get better like Lincoln has.”
The Patriots, who had only nine turnovers, were coming off a holiday tournament in Florida that Jackson said helped his team. The Patriots have now won five of their last six games after losing seven straight.
“Our kids battle. We played some very athletic teams in Florida and helped us in a game like this,” Jackson said. “Now we just have to make sure we keep getting better.”
Danville 8 11 23 40
Lincoln County 17 30 50 72
DANVILLE (3-8) — Alex Burnside 15, Jakobi Turner 9, Christian Gateskill-Fuqua 4, Damir Karanpandzic 2, Kyle Lange 2, J.B. Williams 2, John Roney 2, Trenton Johnson 1, Jawan Grey 1.
LINCOLN (6-9) — Jacob Conway 23, Timmy Taylor 14, B.J. Hoover 14, John Sims 6, Neil Conley 6, Brandon Pittman 3, Luke Hill 4, Andrew Wilks 2.