Three-point goals by Harris and Saylor in the third helped Lincoln post a 38-26 lead with 1:57 to go in the period.
Then Casey came roaring back. The Lady Rebels outscored Lincoln 18-6 over the rest of regulation, beginning with a run of eight unanswered points. Terry scored to end the third period, then Douglas collected a bucket and a 3-pointer and Lakken Miller followed with a layup to trim the Lincoln lead to 38-35 with 5:39 left in the fourth.
Lincoln, which shot 45 percent (17-for-38) from the field overall, got just one of seven tries to fall in the fourth quarter. Fox hit the lone field goal midway of the period.
Casey, which was at 43 percent (20-for-47) from the field, went 4-for-6 in the fourth, with Terry stepping to the left corner for the final bucket, a 3-pointer, to tie the game at 42-all. Cochran gave Casey its first lead just seconds later only to have Fox tie it right back up to force overtime.
“The first half I felt like we were trying to run some different offenses, different sets, and we kind of got out of sync a little bit,” Salyers said. “So the second half we stuck to one particular offense and tried to spread them out a little bit and take them off the dribble. Then, if we had good post matchups we tried to take advantage of that.”
“We had our chances. They had their chances. It was a great game. It just came down to certain situations and that’s just the way the ball bounces, as they say.”
Lincoln’s holding off Casey to earn a return trip to Bowling Green came as a great relief for Saylor. She helped secure the win by scoring Lincoln’s final three points of the game on a 3-for-6 stint at the foul line, but she wasn’t feeling secure when she stepped to the line for the shots.
“I was very nervous,” she said. “I admit I have some confidence issues since we played at Woodford when my shot wouldn’t fall for nothing. I’ve had problems with it, but I knew I had to make them for my teammates, and I’m glad they fell.”
Lincoln will play Owensboro Catholic (24-7) in the first round Thursday, March 14, at noon. Catholic claimed the 3rd Region title by beating Meade County 58-51.
Lincoln was 6-for-12 from 3, and went 16-for-25 at the charity stripe.
Casey was 6-for-21 from 3 and 8-for-14 at the foul line.
Lincoln outrebounded Casey 28-22, led by Rachel Spangler with eight boards. Johnson had six rebounds for Casey and Douglas and Terry each had five.
The Lady Patriots had 15 turnovers, 10 assists and five steals while the Lady Rebels had 10 turnovers, seven assists and nine steals.
12th Region Tournament
at Pulaski Co. / Championship
1 2 3 4 OT Final
Lincoln 9 18 11 6 12 - 56
Casey 5 12 11 16 10 - 54
LINCOLN (27-5) - Emily Fox 14, Ciara Saylor 11, Sydney Harris 13, Kourtney Belcher 9, Chansler Gilbert 3, Spencer Sims 6.
CASEY (15-15) - Jasmine Johnson 12, Katie Douglas 12, Lakken Miller 8, Sarah Beard 1, Christine Terry 10, Tiara Cochran 7, Mariah Richardson 4.
Sydney Harris, Lincoln Co.; Jasmine Johnson, Casey Co.; Cassidy Martin, Mercer Co.; Adison Corder, Southwestern; Christin Terry, Casey Co.; Kourtney Belcher, Lincoln Co.; Katie Douglas, Casey Co.; Bethany Edwards, Somerset; Catheryne Claunch, Mercer Co.; Marlee Smith, Boyle Co.; Kaylee Cotton, McCreary Central; Ciara Saylor, Lincoln Co.; Hannah Harris, Boyle Co.; Summer Burke, Burgin; Emily Fox, Lincoln Co.