With 3-point shooting one of Danville's strengths, Lincoln coach Don Story said he felt the Lady Ads got a little too close for comfort.
"I was kind of nervous a little early in fourth when they got it down to 13," he said. "They've got two or three girls that can really shoot and (Tiffany)Yates can penetrate so they're dangerous. Three or four trips down the floor could be the end of your lead."
With Tuesday's win, Lincoln advanced to tonight's (Thursday's) championship game against Boyle County, a 51-39 winner over Garrard County.
Henderson did her part to see that Lincoln earned a final's spot and an automatic berth in next week's 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County, leading the Lady Patriots with a double-double effort of 13 points and 13 rebounds.
"She played really good tonight," said Story. "She was the loosest I've ever seen her. She's usually quiet before a game. Today, she was pretty loose. I thought it was going to be really good or ... I thought it would be good. And it was."
Henderson said it was the tournament site that helped loosen her up.
"I play better in away games, any away game," she said. "I think the bus ride kind of calms me down. I just listen to my music and get focused."
Junior guard Jessica Upchurch also chipped in with 13 points for the Lady Pats, including five points in the first as Lincoln went up 8-0. Kendra Brown added Lincoln's other three points in a quarter that had a somewhat strange ending.
After Upchurch converted on a three-point play at the 3:11 mark, Tiffany Yates brought the ball across midcourt for Danville. And she dribbled and dribbled then dribbled some more. The Lady Admirals went into a stall and Lincoln was content to sit back in its zone. Yates finally made a move toward goal for the final shot as the final seconds ticked off but her shot missed.
"That was a first for me," said Story. "Maybe they were trying to get in our heads a little bit."
"It didn't work. I think it seemed like it challenged us. About every opportunity after that we took advantage of it," he said.
Henderson, who had six points at the half, answered the stall with back-to-back buckets to open the second quarter. Nikki Bustle continued the string of Lincoln points with a jumper and Korey Coleman took it inside off an Upchurch assist for a 16-0 Lady Pat lead with 3:56 left in the half.
Hannah Mountjoy finally got Danville on the scoreboard with 3:45 showing, sinking two free throws. Then Lincoln was on the run again. Coleman hit off another Upchurch assist, Henderson scored off a lob pass and Upchurch closed the half with a free throw to extend the Lady Pat lead to 23-2.
Lincoln, which was at 43.8 percent shooting overall (14-for-32), shot 53 percent the first half, connecting on 9 of 17 attempts. Danville, which finished at 15.7 percent (8-for-51), was 0-for-24 at the break.
"I felt like overall the first half, we executed our offense really well," Story said. "I felt like we didn't get many opportunities because they tried to slow the game down, but I was pleased with everything that first half."
Story was not as pleased the second half.
Lincoln did cushion its lead to 32-10 in the third quarter off baskets by Patterson, Henderson and Upchurch and 3-for-4 free throw shooting. But the offense that had blown the game open in the first half, was suddenly off-target as Danville applied the pressure. Lincoln was just 5-for-15 from the field the second half.
"At that point in the game, we should be putting teams away. But we just seemed to lose focus there," said Story. "We weren't trying to. We were trying to keep them focused for four quarters."
Turnovers hindered the Lady Pat offense as well, with nine miscues committed in the third and seven in the fourth for a total of 23.
Late in the third, Essence Grey, who led the Lady Ads with 10 points, converted two Lincoln turnovers into five points — a trey and field goal — to set off Danville's 11-2 run.
Danville scored off three more Lady Pat turnovers early in the fourth, with Mountjoy sinking three free throws, Grey, one, and Yates driving inside for a goal to whittle Lincoln's 22-point lead to 34-21 with 6:26 left on the clock.
Story said Lincoln's double-digit turnover tally was "unacceptable."
"We try to rush sometimes and, when we rush ... Well, at the end of the third and the start of the fourth, we were throwing the ball all over the place," he said. "They do a lot of things defensively that put a lot of pressure on you, but we've got to make sure we're in control when a team does that to us."
Lincoln, which was 20-for-26 from the foul line overall, made good on 12 of 16 trips in the final 4:39 to put the win away.
Danville was 10-for-15 from the foul line.
Lincoln owned the glass, outrebounding Danville 41-19.