Hot-shooting Patriots claim title by beating Boyle

March 08, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

STANFORD - In so many ways, the Lincoln County Patriots got exactly what they wanted.

They got the shots they like best, they got the defensive effort they were looking for, and they got the championship they craved.

Everything fell into place for the Patriots Friday night as they won the 45th District Tournament by beating Boyle County 70-53.

Lincoln shot 64 percent from the field and held Boyle to 34 percent to end the Rebels' three-year district reign.

"This is what we've wanted since we started playing here," Lincoln center Jonathan True said.

True and his five fellow seniors walked off their home court for the last time holding pieces of the net after leading Lincoln to its first boys district title since 2000 and the ninth in the school's 30 years.


"It's real special, to win our last game on our home floor and win a district championship," guard Chris Hart said.

Lincoln (17-11) rolled to a 31-13 halftime lead. Boyle (13-13) fell behind by 26 points in the third quarter, then pulled within 10 before Lincoln slammed the door.

"That was our concern, the mental toughness and showing resolve," first-year Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. "I think we struggled for just a minute or two, and I think we settled down."

Jackson said Lincoln's win is a fitting reward for the seniors who led the Patriots through a summer of transition into a winter in which they became the area's best team.

"They've done a great job of leading these kids," Jackson said. "They bought into what we wanted to do and how we wanted to play, and when the seniors do that, everything falls into place."

"If he was willing to teach us how to win, we were willing to learn and respect it," forward Nathan Norman said.

Jackson said the key to winning this game was doing just what Boyle did when it beat Lincoln 62-47 in their last meeting Jan. 23.

"We thought we had to get off to a good start," Jackson said.

Rebels shoot 18 percent in first half

That started with defense, as Boyle hit just three of its first 25 shots from the field and shot 18 percent (5-for-28) in the first half.

"You shoot 18 percent in the first half, and you're not going to have very much chance of beating anybody," Boyle coach Andy Moberly said.

"Our young kids did a good job of simulating Boyle's offense in practice this week ... and we communicated well on defense," Jackson said.

Communication was becoming a problem for Boyle.

"We weren't patient," Moberly said. "We got down 13-8 in the first quarter, and then the crowd started getting into it on the Lincoln side, and it looked like we panicked a little bit. I should've called timeout and settled them down."

By the time he did, Boyle trailed 20-8, and soon it was 28-10.

The Patriots moved the ball inside to the 6-10 True, and if he didn't have a shot he was happy to find to someone who did.

"I knew they would double down on me, and I had to see when the help was coming," said True, who had a game-high seven assists to go with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.

"We wanted to get the ball inside to Jonathan and try to go inside-out," Jackson said. "He did a good job passing the ball out of the post."

The Patriots got open shots, whether on the opposite side of the lane from True or along the 3-point line, where they were 7-for-12. And they got balanced scoring, with Hart and Norman leading them with 15 points each and Matt Reynolds adding 14.

Lincoln's shooters were deadly accurate, missing only 12 of their 33 field-goal attempts and four of 25 free throws.

"Defense was a big part of it, but hitting our shots, too, meant a lot to us," Norman said.

Lincoln takes its largest lead

The Patriots took their largest lead at 45-19 with 4:29 left in the third quarter, but two 3-pointers by Daniel Potts and one by Blake Jones in the final 1:42 capped a 16-3 run that pulled Boyle within 50-38.

The Rebels, who were led by Derek Vonckx with 13 points and Potts with 11, needed 4 1/2 more minutes to cut the margin to 10 points.

They got but one chance to get it to single digits before Norman converted a three-point play to stem the tide.

"It was a big play," Norman said. "You gamble a little bit, you make a couple of choices, and I chose to go play my hardest. We just realized something had to be done. We didn't want to lose this on our home floor."

BOYLE (13-13) - Patrick Horn 2, Derek Vonckx 13, Zack Cooley 8, Blake Jones 3, David White 6, Seth Tamme 4, Daniel Potts 11, Brian Staed 6.

LINCOLN (17-11) - Matt Reynolds 14, Nathan Norman 15, Jonathan True 13, Kelly Reed 5, Chris Hart 15, Ryan Weller 3, Justin Kolasa 2, Jared Long 3.

All-Tournament Team

Phillip Dunn, Danville; Kerry Helton, Kentucky School for the Deaf; Nathan Norman, Lincoln County; Kelly Reed, Lincoln County; Jonathan True, Lincoln County; Derek Vest, Casey County; Derek Vonckx, Boyle County; David White, Boyle County.

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