By Nancy Leedy
12:47 PM EST, January 5, 2013
LANCASTER — It took overtime to decide the outcome of the last two Lincoln girls’ games, but the Lady Patriots didn’t need an extra period to finish out the week, claiming a 57-45 win over Garrard County Friday.
That’s a decently close margin, but in reality Lincoln dominated. The No 19 Lady Patriots (12-3, 2-0 45th District) never trailed in the district battle, jumping out to a 12-1 lead in the first quarter and leading by as many as 32 points in the second half. The final score could have been so much worse had Garrard (8-2, 0-2) not outscored Lincoln 20-0 in the final 7 minutes, 32 seconds.
“The final score didn’t show the difference that was there early, but I got some of our younger kids in there the second half,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “They need to have opportunities to get ready for next year, to face varsity opponents and bigger, stronger girls. They got that tonight. It showed some weaknesses that we have to improve on, but that helps us learn and get better.”
Garrard coach Scott Bolin agreed that the final outcome was misleading.
“Obviously, the score doesn’t indicate it tonight, but we’re a nice team,” he said. “We didn’t play well offensively. We turned (the ball) over at some bad times, we missed a lot of point-blank shots, and once we started missing some shots we didn’t do a good job of recovering.”
The Lady Lions’ offensive woes showed early. The team, which finished at 15-for-44 (34 percent) overall from the field, iced over in the opening frame, going 1-for-12. Devin Conley, who led Garrard with 13 points, connected for the lone goal with just 6.8 seconds on the clock, ending a 10-0 Lincoln run.
“We did (struggle),” said Bolin. “Had some good looks at (basket), but you’ve just got to hunker down and play, and we didn’t do that for a long time. Against a really good team like Lincoln, they make you pay for it. And that’s what happened tonight.”
Lincoln, which finished at 45 percent shooting, going 24-for-53 from the field, also struggled early before Emily Fox, who had a game-high 19 points, drove inside for a layup to ignite the 10-0 Lincoln run. The Lady Pats were 1-for-5 before Fox hit. Rachel Spangler, who finished with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds in a 32-27 Lincoln win on the glass, also drove inside for a bucket in the run. Sydney Harris followed with two free throws and Kourtney Belcher closed with back-to-back buckets for a 12-1 advantage.
“Both teams struggled in the first putting the ball in the hole. We were like 0-for-3 and they were like 0-for-4, well it was 0-for-a lot for both teams,” McWhorter said. “Once we got a couple shots to fall it got us going, and defensively our intensity picked up and we got on a roll.”
And Lincoln kept rolling.
Fox sparked another Lincoln run before the first ended, driving the baseline for a bucket as the buzzer sounded. The Lady Pats would rip off 11 unanswered points in the run, opening the second quarter with baskets by Spangler, Kelsi Honaker and Harris and a 3-pointer from Fox to make it 23-4.
“We came out and played really well after some rest,” McWhorter said. “I gave the girls Wednesday off after playing Danville and going into a double overtime. I felt like they needed the day off to go home and rest. We had a long trip to Florida and I think they came back energized tonight and, once we started hitting, we played more of how we are capable of playing.”
Garrard managed to get its offense righted before the half, going 4-for-6 over the final 5 minutes to get within 27-16. Victoria Floyd, who finished with 11 points, picked up a three-point play and a field goal, Kelly Smith and Conley got a bucket apiece while Autumn Murray sank two free throws and Conley got one.
Lincoln reserves Caitlin Hall and Tiandra Hocker would close out the first-half scoring, with Hall draining a 3-pointer and Hocker scoring off a Spencer Sims assist to double-up on Garrard, 32-16.
The assist by Sims was one of 15 for the Lady Patriots in the win.
“I thought the girls did a good job moving the ball and finding each other when we were open,” McWhorter said. “We had 15 assists tonight and I told them before the game our goal was to have 15 or more assists and 12 or fewer turnovers. We got one category but didn’t get other (17 turnovers).”
The Lady Patriots spent the third quarter cushioning their lead, outpointing Garrard 23-9. Fox scored 10 of the 23 points in the third, Hocker had six points, Ciara Saylor had three and Spangler and Belcher each had two points.
Poor shooting kept Garrard from challenging Lincoln’s lead in the third. Conley scored to open the period and Smith followed with a putback, but a span of 4 minutes passed before Garrard collected another goal.
Ryan Cain, who had 12 points, nailed a 3-pointer to end the drought at the 2:48 mark.
Lincoln led 55-25 at the end of the third and Saylor hit inside to open the fourth quarter and make it a 32-point ballgame. And then Garrard came firing back.
Cain nailed a 3-point shot to set off a closing 20-0 scoring run. Cain had nine points in the run, including a second trey and a three-point play. Conley picked up three points in the run, Smith had two points and Floyd added six, converting on a three-point play for the 57-45 final.
“We didn’t quit. We kept playing,” said Bolin. “The good thing about this team is there is a lot of skill there, there’s a lot of heart there. The problem with this team right now is we have to believe in ourselves. When things are going right, we do. When things start going the wrong way and we get back on our heels a little bit, we start questioning.”
“No excuses on our point,”¿he said. “We just got beat. Lincoln County’s a very nice team and they handed it to us tonight. We lost the battle, hopefully we won’t lose the war. We’ll see what happens down the road.”
Lincoln was just 4-for-4 from the foul line while Garrard was 12-for-18.
Smith led Garrard on the boards with eight rebounds. Cain had six. Fox and Hocker had four rebounds each for Lincoln and Hall and Honaker had three apiece.
Lincoln Co. 14 18 23 2 57
Garrard Co. 4 12 9 20 45
LINCOLN (12-3, 2-0D) - Emily Fox 19, Ciara Saylor 5, Sydney Harris 4, Rachel Spangler 8, Kourtney Belcher 6, Kelsi Honaker 2, Spencer Sims 2, Caitlin Hall 3, Tiandra Hocker 8.
GARRARD (8-3, 0-2D) - Autumn Murray 3, Devin Conley 13, Ryan Cain 12, Victoria Floyd 11, Kelly Smith 6