By Nancy Leedy
11:24 AM EST, January 23, 2013
STANFORD — The Lincoln County girls basketball team used a strong second half to pull away from visiting Southwestern to win 65-50 Thursday night.
The Lady Patriots, trailing 29-26 early in the third quarter, broke on a 23-8 scoring tear over the remainder of the period to open up a close game and set them up for their eighth straight victory over a 12th Region foe.
Lincoln’s Emily Fox, Sydney Harris and Kourtney Belcher outscored Southwestern by themselves, combining for 57 points. Fox led the trio of double-digit scorers with 23 points, Harris pushed in 19 points and Belcher added 15 points.
Belcher, who had 11 second-half points, got Lincoln (16-4) started in the third-quarter run, converting on a three-point play then following with a bucket off a turnover. Harris answered next with a putback before Fox, who had 19 points in the second half, completed the run with 14 straight points off a 3-pointer, a three-point play, three layups and two foul shots to put the Lady Patriots up 49-37 going into the final period.
Lincoln, which shot 47 percent (23-for-49) from the field overall, burned the nets for 54 percent (14-for-26) the second half and led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter before moving on for the win.
Southwestern (10-9) was held to a cool 31 percent (5-for-16) shooting from the field in the third quarter. Overall, the Lady Warriors finished at 35 percent (18-for-51, including nine 3-point goals.
Lincoln appeared to be set to cruise to open the game, with Harris scoring 10 of her 19 points in the period, including six in a 9-0 game-opening run. She opened with back-to-back buckets, Belcher chimed in with a jumper from the top of the key then Harris went to the line for a free throw toss before closing with a basket off a Belcher assist.
As quickly as Lincoln took off, though, Southwestern came clawing its way back, taking advantage of eight Lady Patriot turnovers to score 12 unanswered points and erase its nine-point deficit.
Brittany Combs, who led Southwestern with 17 points, and Destiny Molden both hit from 3-point range in the run, Samantha Fitzgerald collected a free throw toss and Adison Corder, who had 15 points for the Lady Warriors, added five points, including a three-point play that gave Southwestern its first lead, 12-9, with 46 seconds left on the clock.
Harris drained a 3-pointer to tie the game at 12 and the first ended in a 14-14 deadlock.
Southwestern built a 20-16 lead off treys by Corder and Molden only to have Tiandra Hocker come off the bench for back-to-back Lady Pat buckets. Hocker got a steal and the layup for her first two points then hit inside off a Rachel Spangler assist to even the game back up at 20-all. Fox then went to the line for two free throws and a 22-20 edge.
Combs, who tallied 15 of her 17 points from 3-point range, hit for her second trey to give Southwestern a 25-24 edge in the closing seconds of the first half, but Belcher hit for Lincoln just before the buzzer to nose the Lady Pats ahead 26-25 at the break.
Lincoln converted on 16 of 19 trips to the foul line while Southwestern was just 5-for-9.
Southwestern had 16 turnovers and Lincoln had 14.