STANFORD — Lincoln County’s girls notched their second district win of the week Friday by knocking off visiting Garrard County 54-37.
Riding a team effort on the glass and consistent double-digit scoring, Lincoln gradually wore down the Golden Lions to earn the 45th District victory.
Lincoln, which beat Danville on Tuesday, worked like Windex on the glass Friday at Lincoln, with eight Patriots nabbing 43 boards to Garrard’s 25.
Garrard traded leads with Lincoln in the first period and early in the second, but the Patriots opened the game up at the close of the half with a 12-1 run and never looked back.
“I told our girls, if we played our pace, our tempo, we could wear them down over the course of the game. And I think that’s what we did tonight,” said Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter.
And Lincoln (10-5) kept its pace throughout the game, playing high intensity basketball for 32 minutes.
“I was very, very proud of our intensity,” McWhorter said. “Of course, I was proud of our girls, especially our rebounding effort, because we outrebounded them a lot, but the overall intensity we had tonight was what I’ve been looking for. I talked to our girls about being able to have that intensity for a whole game, not just a quarter here or a quarter there. I thought we did tonight.”
Garrard County coach Scott Bolin also was pleased with his team’s effort, putting the blame for the loss on himself.
“Our kids played really hard and I’m very excited in our effort,” he said. “But the bottom line is Lincoln County’s got a really nice team. They play really hard and Cassandra does a nice job with them.
“Cassandra outcoached me tonight. My girls have got to improve on some things, but I’ve got to improve as well,” said Bolin. I’ll take the blame for it (loss) wholeheartedly, but Lincoln County played really well top to bottom.”
It was a nip-and-tuck battle between the district rivals in the first quarter. Sydney Harris, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds for Lincoln, scored the Patriots’ first two goals to put them up 4-2, however a 3-pointer by Garrard’s Devin Conley quickly negated the lead and gave the edge to the Lions.
Garrard (5-3) maintained its lead over the remainder of the period. Conley and Haley Meadows, who led the Lions with 11 points apiece, scored back-to-back buckets midway of the first for Garrard’s biggest lead of the night, 9-4.
“We did get off to a great start. We hit some shots early and we did some good things,” said Bolin.
Harris scored four straight points to get Lincoln back within 9-8 only to have Ryan Cain answer with a bucket in the paint for Garrard. Kourtney Belcher and Emily Fox sank a free throw apiece in the final minute to make it an 11-10, game, but Devin Napier connected for her own free throw toss on the other end to put Garrard up 12-10 at the end of the first.
“I saw them play up at Lexington Catholic over the Christmas break, and I knew Garrard would come out and start strong,” McWhorter said. “I told our girls, ‘they’re going to come out and going to make a run. They’re going to make runs throughout the game at you because that’s what well-coached teams do.'”
The start of the second quarter was a series of missed shots and turnovers as both teams struggled to get their offenses firing.
Ciara Saylor finally ended the scoreless standoff 2-1⁄2 minutes into the period, scoring off a turnover to deadlock the game at 12. Meadows helped end Garrard’s drought, and nose the Lions back on top, just seconds later, throwing from the backcourt to a wide open Autumn Murray under the basket to make it 14-12.
Garrard had just taken a 16-14 lead off a Victoria Floyd basket when Lincoln’s Emily Fox let fly with a flurry of points that changed the game. The sophomore guard, who double-doubled to lead Lincoln with 19 points and 10 boards, drove the lane for a basket to ignite a 12-1 scoring run. Korey Coleman, who led Lincoln’s rebounding with 11 boards, bombed in a 3-pointer during the run and Fox was good for the other nine as Lincoln posted a 26-17 halftime lead.
Garrard got little opportunity to score in the second quarter, getting just two shots to fall out of 10 field goal attempts, and Lincoln grabbing all the rebounds.
“They kicked our rear ends the first half on the boards,” Bolin said. “That was very disappointing because we’ve really been working on that. We knew that they were a good rebounding team,”
The Lions never recouped from Lincoln’s first-half ending blitz. Conley sank two foul shots early in the third for a 28-19 margin, but Lincoln answered the foul shots with a 6-0 run. Harris converted a Coleman steal into a bank shot to open the run, Fox hit a 3-pointer off a turnover and Spangler sank a free throw to extend the Pats’ lead to 34-19.
Lincoln’s lead never fell below double digits in the fourth period. The Patriots posted their biggest lead of the game, 49-29, with 3:06 to play after three straight 3-pointers by Saylor (2) and Fox.
“We know Ciara is capable of scoring it’s just her believing that she can hit,” McWhorter said.
Lincoln was at 37 percent from the field overall on 21-for-57 shooting. The Patriots were 5-for-9 at the foul line and committed 12 turnovers.
Garrard was at 26 percent overall from the field on 11-for-43 shooting and was 12-for-21 at the free throw line. The Lions had 16 turnovers.
Garrard drops to 1-1 in the district with the loss while Lincoln remains unbeaten at 2-0.
“It’s nice to start off 2-0," said McWhorter. “It makes me feel good. But, like I told the girls after the game, we don’t want to relax. We don’t want to get overconfident. We have to keep working because we’ve got Boyle next week and then we’ll start all over again so we’ve got to stay focused and get better."
Garrard County 12 17 23 37
Lincoln County 10 26 38 54
GARRARD (5-3) — Haley Meadows 11, Devin Conley 11, Devin Napier 5, Ryan Cain 5, Victoria Floyd 3, Autumn Murray 2.
LINCOLN (10-5) — Emily Fox 19, Rachel Spangler 5, Morgan Reed 2, Korey Coleman 3, Sydney Harris 14, Ciara Saylor 8, Kourtney Belcher 3.