By Nancy Leedy
12:44 PM EST, December 12, 2012
Two girls basketball teams off to great starts met Thursday on the hardwood of the J.C. Eddleman Gym in Stanford, and one team had to walk away with a loss.
Unfortunately for host Lincoln County, it was the Lady Patriots sustaining their first loss of the season, falling 56-46 to Anderson County.
Eriel McKee and MacKenzie Cann burned the nets for a combined 40 points to lead the Lady Bearcats to victory. McKee had a team-high 22 points and Cann had 18.
“We knew coming in that (McKee and Cann) were their top two players. We talked about their personnel, we knew what they had. We prepped the girls for those things,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “But they are good players. They still come out and they still have good games. They stepped up, their players stepped up and played a really good game.”
Anderson never trailed in the game, with McKee nailing a 3-point shot to open the game and Destiny Stewart adding a second trey. Fox, who led Lincoln with 22 points, got the Lady Patriot scoring started.
Kourtney Belcher then scored for Lincoln off a Ciara Saylor assist and Sydney Harris sank two free throws to tie the game at 6-all before Anderson broke on a 9-2 run.
Kali Whiteside, who had eight points and 17 rebounds, hit inside on a putback to put Anderson (4-0) on top to stay, then McKee and Cann hit to make it 12-6. After a Tiandra Hocker jumper to close the first, Corrin Robinson hit from 3 for Anderson to make 15-8.
Fox scored on a putback just before the half to get Lincoln within 24-22 but Mckee ended the first-half scoring to give Anderson a 26-22 lead.
Lincoln (3-1) would not overtake Anderson. Cann drained two 3-pointers and added a shot inside midway of the third to turn a five-point edge into a double-digit lead 41-30, and the Lady Bearcats never looked back.
“We didn’t take advantage while Cann was out of the game (foul trouble) early. I┐thought maybe we could have gotten the lead and taken advantage of that,” McWhorter said.┐“We were unable to do that, and Cann and McKee stepped up and played a good ballgame.”
Cann and McKee may have played well, but McWhorter said Lincoln didn’t help itself.
“I felt like we threw the ball all over the gym tonight,”┐she said. We had unforced turnovers that were just not necessary. You don’t want to see that happen with a veteran team. We did a poor job of taking care of the ball tonight.”
Lincoln shot 38 percent from the field, making good on 15 of 39 shot attempts, 3-for-16 from 3. The Lady Pats were 13-for-20 at the foul line.
Anderson was at 44 percent on the night on 17-for-39 shooting, 5-for-13 from 3. The Lady Bearcats were 17-for-22 at the line.
“We were pretty even on almost everything,”┐said McWhorter. “Turnovers, assists and steals were even, shooting percentage from two was pretty even. They had two more from three and they went to the free throw line and knocked their free throws down and we didn’t. That was the difference.”
Whiteside’s 17 rebounds led Anderson to a 34-31 win on the glass. Rachel Spangler led Lincoln with eight rebounds and Hocker had six.