STANFORD — The Lincoln County boys’ basketball season came to a heartbreaking end Monday as West Jessamine defeated the Patriots 79-69 in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament played at Lincoln.
After narrowly losing to West Jessamine 64-62 at home early in the regular season, Lincoln was hoping to redeem itself in the postseason rematch and corral the Colts.
However, there was no fencing in the Colts Monday. Chase Fain had a game-high 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds, Daulton Peters knocked back 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting and had eight boards, and Will Henderson scored 11 points, going 8-for-10 at the free-throw line, as West Jessamine (18-11) advanced to Friday’s semifinal round.
Fain, a senior forward, had just eight points in a closely-contested first half, then burned the nets for 14 points in a 23-7 third-quarter Colt run that turned a 27-25 halftime lead into a 50-32 cushion and a victory.
“We didn’t guard the second half,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “We’re just down two (at half). We talk to them about doing things the right way, getting out on the shooters, being solid on defense. But they got on a roll. We didn’t have anybody that could guard Fain tonight. The second half he just went crazy.”
“We missed a lot of shots around the basket that led to transition baskets for them. They can score, and they can really score when they are not defended. Got to give them a lot of credit, when they got a chance they were on a roll.”
West Jessamine shot 57 percent (26-for-46) from the field overall, hitting four 3-point shots. Five of the six scoring Colts shot 58 percent or better from the field. The Colts put up big numbers at the charity stripe as well, sinking 23 shots on 32 trips to the line.
Timmy Taylor and BJ Hoover led three Patriots in double figures with 18 points and 15 points for Taylor and 18 points off 4-9 3-point shooting for Hoover. But West Jessamine held Lincoln to just 38 percent (23-for-61) shooting overall. The Patriots were 8-for-28 from 3 and 15-for-20 at the foul line.
Luke Hill, who along with Shade Jacobs played his final game in a Patriot uniform Monday, rounded out the trio of Lincoln’s double-digit scorers, closing out his high-school career with a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t win for Luke and for Shade,” Jackson said. “You want to do it for them, but we just didn’t tonight.”
It appeared that Lincoln’s Hill and Jacobs stood a great chance of seeing their season extended with the Patriots and Colts in a nip-tuck battle the first half.
Hoover drained a 3-point goal to open Lincoln’s scoring and take a 3-2 lead, but Fain dropped in three quick goals for West Jessamine to nose the Colts ahead 6-3 two minutes into the first quarter.
Back-to-back jumpers by Hill gave the edge back to Lincoln, then Taylor followed with a 3-point bomb for a 10-6 margin midway of the period.
Peters, who was 3-for-3 from 3, hit his first trey to trim West’s deficit to 10-9 only to have Neil Conley hit from 3-points out for Lincoln and Hill going inside for a bucket and a 15-9 margin.
Jacob Conway, who finished with eight points and six rebounds, added a bucket in the paint for Lincoln late in the first, but Peters drained his second trey of the night then scored a bucket off a turnover to cut Lincoln’s lead to 17-14 after one.
Lincoln’s offense struggled in the second quarter, missing its first five shot attempts then turning the ball over four times. West also missed early and turned the ball over, however, Irgang drove inside for a bucket off a turnover then Peters hit for his third 3-point shot to give the Colts a 19-17 edge.
Lincoln went up 21-19 off two Taylor free throws and a Brandon Pittman bucket before Tanner Richards hit to force a 21-all tie. The lead changed hands four more times before the buzzer sounded on the first half, the final change coming with just 13.4 ticks left on the clock when Henderson hit his only 3-point shot of the game to put West Jessamine up 27-25.
“We had a good first half until we gave up that 3 at the end,”¿Jackson said. “That shot seemed like it kind of deflated us. We didn’t get out on Henderson like we needed to and he just hit.”
Lincoln never regained the lead.
Fain scored West Jessamine’s first seven points of the second half, including converting on a three-point play, to jump start the Colts third-quarter surge. Fain added seven more points in the run, Irgang and Peters each had a bucket and Henderson sank two free throws. Ian Kossick chipped in a free throw toss with two minutes showing then followed with a basket to extend the Colt lead to 50-32.