Lincoln boys basketball coach Jeff Jackson says that the Patriots aren’t exactly dedicated to playing hard defensively, and that they couldn’t stop East Jessamine’s Ronnie Carson who poured in 30 points.
But the Patriots can shoot, and they hung around Friday night by making 21 of 41 shot attempts (51 percent), 7 of 21 from 3-point range to get the game to the wire before Carson and the Jaguars claimed the 59-58 win.
“We had a shot at the end. I¿thought we played harder, but we’ve got to get better defensively,”¿Jackson said. “We’ve talked to the kids about buying into our defense. As of right now, we’ve not bought into trying to get better on the defensive end of the floor. We have to keep working and be positive. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Carson, a sophomore guard, was 8-for-15 from the field and 14-for-17 at the foul line for his 30 points. He also had eight rebounds and four assists.
“He’s a really good player,”¿said Jackson. “He gets in the lane. He’s quick and strong. We didn’t do a very good job of keeping him in front of us. We didn’t help like we need to. He’s 14 out of 17 from the line and he has 30 points. He was a big difference in the game.”
“We wanted to look at some zone if we could ever get ahead, but we could never get ahead,”¿he added. “Hats off to them. They’ve got a good team. They hit some shots other than him too.”
Lincoln, which led by as many as four points late in the first half, trailed by five with just 28 seconds remaining, but trimmed its deficit to 59-58 after a driving layup by Timmy Taylor and three foul shots by Jacob Conway.
The Patriots (1-3) were whistled for a foul with 9 ticks left on the clock and Carson, who was almost perfect at the line throughout the game, missed both free throw tosses. Brandon Pittman grabbed the rebound for Lincoln off the second miss to set up a potential go-ahead shot.
Neil Conley was given the okay to shoot if he had a good shot, and he did. But the 3-point attempt from the left wing missed as time expired.
“We had a good look,”¿Jackson said. “We talked to Neil and he had a good look. And he’d shoot the same shot tomorrow if he had it. It just didn’t fall.”
Conway, who led Lincoln with 18 points, gave the Patriots the early lead with a game-opening 3-pointer. Carson then drove the baseline for a bucket and followed with two free throws to edge East Jessamine out 8-3. Lincoln’s Pittman and Shade Jacobs and East’s Mike Jones traded 3-pointers as the Patriots pulled within 11-9 then Luke Hill, who finished with 14 points, added two free throws to make it 11-all.
The first quarter would not end in a tie, however, with Carson closing the first eight minutes with a three-point play for the Jaguars (5-1).
An 11-2 run in the second quarter helped Lincoln overtake East Jessamine. Pittman opened the run with a basket off a Taylor assist, Taylor then dished to BJ Hoover, Hoover followed with a 3-pointer, Conway put up a jumper and Hill closed the run with a basket off a Taylor assist to make it 22-18, Lincoln.
Spencer Madden scored late in the half to edge East up 1 but the Patriots took a 27-25 lead into the break.
The Jaguars broke on a 10-2 run to start the third and never trailed again. Timmy Bradshaw and Jones each had a 3-pointer in the run as East opened up a 35-29 lead.
East led 45-41 going into the fourth then held on for the win.
The Jaguars were 17 of 37 from the field overall for 46 percent, 4-for-10 from 3. They were 21-for-27 at the foul line.
East Jessamine edged out Lincoln on the boards 22-20 led by Carson’s eight. Hill also had eight for Lincoln and Pittman had five.