LANCASTER — Lincoln County guard Jacob Conway, center Luke Hill and guard Timmy Taylor quite simply put on a clinic Thursday night at Garrard County High School.
Conway, Hill and Taylor combined for 60 points, 20 rebounds and 17 assists to lead the Patriots past the host Golden Lions 63-52 in a 45th District contest.
Conway and Hill personally outscored Garrard 53-52, with Conway burning the nets for a game-high 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 from the foul line. He also had five rebounds. Hill poured in 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field, 2-for-2 from the line, and also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. He had three assists. Taylor finished with seven points and three rebounds, but the highlight of his game was his 14 assists.
“Jacob and Luke just kept hitting layups and Timmy did a great job moving the ball,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “Luke played probably his best game of the year and Jacob just kept hitting and Timmy got the floor spread out and got in the lane.”
Conway scored 18 of his points in the second half and Hill added 10 second-half points as Lincoln (11-13, 3-2 district) broke open a close game. Garrard (3-19, 0-6) led for much of the first half, then survived a late second-quarter run by the Patriots to go into the half deadlocked at 27-all.
“The first half we did not guard very well. I didn’t think offensively we moved the ball very well. We took quick shots, had no rhythm,” Jackson said.
A big third quarter helped Lincoln start to pull away, with the Patriots opening the second half on a 12-1 run to break the tie. Hill sparked the run with a layup and two free throws, Conway scored off a Hill assist, Taylor got a shot inside, Hill hit another layup and Conway sank two free throws to make it 39-28.
And the shots just kept falling.
Lincoln, which shot 53 percent (24-for-45) overall from the field, went 8-for-12 in the third quarter and outscored Garrard 22-9 to take a 49-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
“The second half I thought we had a much different basketball team take the floor,” Jackson said. “I was pleased with how much more disciplined we were on the offensive end, and I thought defensively the second half we did a better job. We’ve got to learn to play that way for 32 minutes.”
As Lincoln’s shots fell, scorekeepers were keeping track of every point Conway, Hill and the rest of the players put up, but Hill said he wasn’t worried about keeping score.
“I just want to win at the end of the game,”¿he said. “It doesn’t matter to me how many points I have. I¿think that’s what makes our team better, that we all just want to win. I don’t think it’s anybody looking to score, it’s just, ‘somebody hit it and let’s get this going.’”
Once Lincoln got going in the second half, Garrard had no answer.
The Lions did not score their first field goal of the second half until the 4:20 mark of the third quarter. Clayton Ray, who led Garrard with 23 points, tallied the goal off a Jaylen McPherson assist to get Garrard within 39-30.
The Lions were at 51 percent (18-for-35) shooting from the field overall, but struggled in the third going 3-for-10.
Conway answered Ray’s bucket with a 3-point play to put Lincoln up 42-30, and the margin never dropped below double digits the rest of the way. The Patriots led by as many as 18 points in the final frame.
“Garrard’s a good team and played with us the first half, but I think we made better decisions the second half,” Hill said. “We knew they were going to play with us, and it was going to be a grinder. I just think we made better decisions the second half and played better defense overall.”
Jackson credited sophomore forward Brandon Pittman for being a big factor on defense against Garrard.
“I thought we did another good job on (Austin) Sebastian tonight and Brandon Pittman did a great job guarding him,” Jackson said. “I¿thought he did a good job neutralizing him tonight. He really stepped up to be a stopper and he (Sebastian) had just two points tonight.”
“It was just a really good night for us,” he added. “ Our JV team won a big game tonight (overtime). I think that helped set the tone for what we wanted to do, and then we played a really, really good second half. I’m real proud of our kids.”
Lincoln beat out Garrard on the boards, 23-16. Austin Sebastian had five rebounds for Garrard.