LANCASTER — It was a second quarter that Garrard County coach Scott Bolin would just as soon forget.
The host Golden Lions led favorite Lincoln County 11-5 early in the game, but they committed 14 turnovers the rest of the half — 11 in the second quarter alone — and never recovered while dropping a 59-51 decision to the Patriots in the girls 45th District Tournament final Thursday at Garrard Middle School.
With the score tied at 20-all with two minutes to play in the first half, Garrard unraveled with unforced turnovers and Lincoln scored the final 11 points of the half, including a half-court heave from sophomore Emily Fox as time expired to take command of the game.
“I sure would like to have back about four minutes of the second quarter,” Bolin said. “We just made too many turnovers, and they were unforced turnovers. It was the same way (Tuesday) against Danville, and it all goes back to just attacking. We talked about it at halftime: When teams press us we handle it well when we are the aggressor, but when we get that dazed look, that’s when we have unforced errors.”
Ironically, it was an early timeout from Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter that calmed her team down.
“We had some early jitters, and I just told them to calm down,” McWhorter said. “I told them we still had a long way to go.”
Fox, who led all scorers with 25 points, took McWhorter’s speech to heart. She scored 10 of her 17 first-half points in the final two minutes, when the Patriots were able to pull away from the tie.
“(Our defense) is what we have to rely on,” McWhorter said. “I never say an individual will take over a game, but she did a great job of getting her teammates behind her and getting our intensity level up.”
Bolin was impressed.
“They are a dynamic team. When they hit shots they are tough to beat,” he said. “That being said, we may have held Fox to under 50. It certainly felt like she had that many points. She’s a great player, and when you try to take her away, she just makes her teammates better.”
With the score tied at 20-all, Fox scored following a steal, nailed a 3-pointer, hit a layup after another steal and then capped a fantastic first half with a half-court buzzer-beater to give Lincoln a 31-20 halftime lead. The Patriots finished the half on a 15-2 run.
Lincoln led by as many as 19 points at 49-30, but Garrard came storming back to trim the lead to eight before running out of time.
“We had a few breakdowns, but to Lincoln’s credit, they hit some tough shots,” Bolin said. “We played much better in the second half, but we just didn’t have enough time because we dug ourselves in such a hole. To our credit, we didn’t give up. I told them that I wanted to get it as close as it could possibly get to make them think about it.”
McWhorter was just as proud of her team.
“Garrard made that run at the end, and that was the same thing they did against Danville,” she said. “Scott does a great job, and I knew his team wasn’t going to lay down. They were going to attack us until the very end.
“I was proud of my team, too. We didn’t give up. We had already beaten (Garrard) twice, and it’s hard to beat a team three times, especially at their place.”
Garrard went 17 of 40 from the field for 43 percent, while Lincoln connected on 19 of 46 attempts for 41 percent. Garrard cashed 14 of 16 charity attempts compared to 14 of 17 for the Patriots.
Garrard won the rebounding battle 28-23, as reserve Victoria Floyd led the Lions with eight. Sydney Harris led Lincoln with five rebounds.
Garrard finished with 20 turnovers, while Lincoln turned it over 12 times.
45th District Tournament
At Garrard Middle School
Lincoln County 9 31 49 59
Garrard County 11 20 32 51
LINCOLN (22-6) — Ciara Saylor 8, Emily Fox 25, Rachel Spangler 9, Morgan Reed 7, Sydney Harris 4, Korey Belcher 6.
GARRARD (15-8) — Haley Meadows 9, Devin Conley 14, Devin Napier 17, Ryan Cain 5, Victoria Floyd 6.
All-Tournament TeamEmily Fox, Lincoln County; Sydney Harris, Lincoln County; Eleisha Houston, Danville; Haley Meadows, Garrard County; Devin Napier, Garrard County; Morgan Reed, Lincoln County; Sarah Jane Tamme, Boyle County.