Lincoln boys beat visiting Casey 56-35

January 11, 2004|MARTY WARREN

STANFORD - After having so many nail-biters in recent weeks, Lincoln County was due to have a breakout game, and Friday night they finally had one.

Playing before their home crowd for the first time in nearly a month, the Patriots (7-6, 2-0 in 45th District) broke open a close game in the third quarter with excellent ball movement and pinpoint shooting to defeat Casey County 56-35.

Leading by eight points at the half (24-16), Lincoln went on a 16-5 scoring run during the first six minutes of the third frame on 8-for-15 shoting, and that was more than enough to please Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson.

"That third quarter was the best we have played all year," Jackson said. "Our ball movement was good, we made hard cuts to the basket and hit our shots when we had them. We executed better tonight than we have all season."


Casey coach Shawn Conley agreed that the third quarter was the difference in the game.

"They came out in the third quarter and scored on a couple putbacks, and we started turning the ball over," the Casey coach said. "We missed good shots, and it was hard to get back into the game after we got down 15 points. They kept the pressure on us."

Shooting was the difference in this game. Lincoln had its best shooting night in some time while nailing 22 of 47 tries for 47 percent while Casey (5-6, 0-1) hit only 14 of 41 attempts for 31 percent.

"I'll take that type of shooting and defense all year," Jackson said.

"We have struggled all year shooting the ball," Conley said. "For some reason, we had a hard time hitting the basket tonight."

Chris Hart came out of his mini-shooting slump for the Patriots and scored 18 points while dishing out four assists. Jonathan True also had a big game while tying Hart for team honors with 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight blocked shots and five assists.

"We knew that they had three pretty good shooters in True, (Nathan) Norman and Hart, and when they shoot the ball as well as they did tonight they are hard to beat," Conley said.

Meanwhile, 6-6 freshman Keith Price scored 13 points to lead the Rebels.

"He battled hard against one of the better players in the region (True)," Conley added. "He is really coming into his own and when he plays like that, we are a better team."

Price scored six points as Casey worked to a quick 8-5 lead. Lincoln, though, received a layup by Kelly Reed, a put-back by True and a Norman trey to grab a 12-10 advantage after one period.

Hart scored eight points and True added four and Lincoln held the Rebels without a basket the final four minutes of the period to lead 24-16 at the break.

"Having practiced in the middle school gym until our place was ready to play in, it took us awhile to get adjusted to the rims again," Jackson said. "We had a shootaround today and Hart, Jared (Long) and Matt (Reynolds) shot around for a hour after practice. It sure was nice to be back in our own house. The crowd was excited and the game had a great atmosphere for a high school basketball game."

The shootaround paid big dividends for the Patriots in the third quarter when they grabbed a commanding 43-23 advantage entering the final quarter. True posted up at the free throw line and dished out three assists to Reynolds while Hart and True chipped in with four points apiece during the frame.

Jackson can see improvement with his team every game.

"Our defense has been there all year, and our offense is getting better," the Lincoln coach said. "Everything is new to these kids and we need to keep improving and not take a step back. We need to keep playing hard for 32 minutes, and if we do that we have a pretty good basketball team."

CASEY (5-6, 0-1) - Andy Canon 5, Derek Vest 5, Derek Stevens 4, Charlie Fox 6, Corey Dial 2, Keith Price 13.

LINCOLN (7-6, 2-0) - John Henry Russell 1, Kelly Reed 2, Matt Reynolds 8, Chris Hart 18, Nathan Norman 9, Jonathan True 18.

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