The defense came up big for the Lincoln County boys when the needed it most Tuesday.
The Patriots held Danville without a field goal for the first 5 minutes, 16 seconds of the fourth quarter, enabling them to stretch a four-point lead to 16 in a 50-41 win over the Admirals in the 45th District opener for both teams.
Luke Hill scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Trenton Edgington and Carl-Lewis Cummins added nine points each to help the Patriots (7-7, 1-0) counter a 22-point night from Danville guard Tryston Ford.
“This was a big win for us, on the road, which we will take any time. Their pressure kept us from getting into a rhythm at times offensively,”¿Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “I thought when got the ball down the floor, we did a pretty good jo of getting the ball inside to Luke. That was our plan, to get him going and get him established inside.”
Hill scored six points during Lincoln’s 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter, turning a 31-27 led into a 43-27 advantage with 3:40 to play.
Danville (3-8, 0-1) did not get a bucket until Ford’s three-point play cut the Patriots’ lead to 45-32 with 2:46 to go.
“We got back in the game where we wanted, and I felt in the third quarter we played with a lot of emotion. We played hard,”¿Danville coach Andrew Zaheri said. “In the fourth quarter, before we broke from the huddle, we communicated on how important our first few shots were. And I think we were still playing on that emotional third quarter and it just didn’t carry over for us.
“We took a couple of rushed 3’s in the first quarter and fourth quarter. We just didn’t take advantage of the position we were in. We didn’t execute down the stretch and credit to Lincoln, they did.”
Lincoln held Danville to 4-for-14 shooting in the final period, as the Ads missed their first nine shots. For the game, Danville was 12-for- 49 (24 percent) and made 14 of 20 free throws.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively,”¿Jackson said. “We didn’t in the third quarter, but the first three or four minutes of the fourth, I thought we defended really well.”
The Patriots needed that strong defense after Danville mounted a charge in the third quarter.
Down 24-12 at the half, the Ads used their pressure to force Lincoln turnovers and either get easy layups or get to the free throw line.
Free throws from Damir Karapandzic made it 27-16, then Devonta Alcorn was fouled after an offensive rebound and made one of two at the line. A 3-pointer from Ford after a Lincoln miss cut the Lincoln lead to 27-20 with 4:23 left in the quarter.
Cummins’ layup with 2:42 left in the third stopped the bleeding and a jumper in the lane from Micah Ward gave Lincoln a 31-23 lead with 1:12 to go in the period.
But Ford was fouled and made both free throws, then stole the ball on the ensuing possession for an easy layup to trim Lincoln’s lead to 31-27 going to the fourth
It was a common scenario for Zaheri, one he wishes his team would quit recreating.
“Unfortunately, one of the reasons we did that is because we’ve been doing that so much this year. For whatever reason, we have to give a team a 10-point spot before we come out and start playing hard,” the Danville coach said. “When you use all that energy and use all that adrenaline just catching up, it’s hard to get over that hump.”
Jackson knew the Ads had the potential to make that run.
“I think they’ve played a heck of schedule. They’ve played some really good people and they’ve gotten better and they’ve got a star (Ford). And when you’ve got a star and you’re getting better every time you go out there on the floor, you’re dangerous.”
Lincoln led just 11-9 before opening things up in the second quarter. Hill scored eight straight points and Jacob Conway drained a 3-pointer from the left corner off a Cummins’ pass to put Lincoln up 21-9 midway through the second.
It was 24-10 before Danville finally made a basket on a layup from Leroy Hawkins at the buzzer to make it 24-12.
Lincoln was 16 of 39 from the floor and made 15 of 21 foul shots. Edgington and Timmy Taylor each had six boards as the Patriots outrebounded Danville 30-25.
Lincoln County 11 24 31 50
Danville 9 12 27 41
LINCOLN¿(7-7) — Trenton Edgington 9, Timmy Taylor 3, Carl-Lewis Cummins 9, Brandon Pittman 3, Micah Ward 4, Luke Hill 22.
DANVILLE¿(3-8) — Tryston Ford 22, Christian Gateskill-Fuqua 3, Rob Caudill 4, Damir Karapandzic 1, Devonta Alcorn 3, Leroy Hawkins 4, Alex Burnside 4.