Lady Patriots open season with sloppy win: Wilks gets 21 points, 12 rebounds in 65-53 victory at Pulaski

Published 12:44 pm Friday, December 2, 2016

SOMERSET — The Lincoln County Lady Patriot basketball team won its season opener Monday night, topping host Pulaski County 65-53.
Kaitlynn Wilks and Emma King led Lincoln in the victory, with Wilks leading the way with a double-double game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. King swished the nets for 19 points.
It was a bit of a sloppy opener with 45 total fouls called between the teams and 43 turnovers committed. But as Lady Pat coach Cassandra McWhorter says, “A win’s a win.”
“It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win. It’s in the ‘W’ column,” she said. “They took us to double overtime last year first game. They are senior-dominant. They have a lot of seniors. We have two, then drop to sophomores. Our youth played a little bit into it, making decisions down the stretch with what to do with the ball.”
“Tonight showed us we’ve got things to work on. It’s the first game of the season and February’s a long way off, but a win’s a win and we came out with it.”
The final score was the largest margin of the night, but the Lady Maroons played Lincoln to a much closer game than was reflected by the final score.
Lincoln (1-0) led by as many as 11 points in the first half but, at one point, Pulaski (0-1) whittled an eight-point deficit down to two. Lincoln’s lead also grew to 11 points midway through the fourth before Pulaski broke on a 9-0 run to get within 53-51 with just 2:49 to play.
The Lady Patriots would start to put the game away in the closing moments, though, with Wilks going inside for three baskets, King adding a field goal and three free throws and Maddy Boyle converting on a foul shot for the double-digit win.
“We easily could have let it slip the other way,” said McWhorter. “I thought the girls did a good job of getting a couple stops and then converting and kind of pushing ahead. And then making free throws late kind of helped us push over the top, too.”
Kyra Eads, who led Pulaski with 16 points, gave the Lady Maroons their lone lead of the game when she sank a game-opening free throw.
Lincoln answered the free throw toss with nine unanswered points to go on top to stay. Jenna King kicked off the scoring run with a free throw then closed with a bucket in the paint. Emma King also had a bucket and a free throw in the run and Boyle converted off a turnover as the Lady Pats went up 9-1.
The Lady Pats led 18-11 at the end of the first, with Emma King driving the lane for a bucket with 43.4 seconds to play in the period.
But then the Lincoln offense hit the deep freeze. The Lady Patriots went over 5 minutes and 32 seconds with only one bucket falling (1-for-10), allowing the Lady Maroons to chip away at the lead. Haley Southerland scored on a putback to open the second quarter to put Lincoln up 20-11 before Haley Brock answered with a shot in the paint to set off a 10-3 Pulaski run. Shelby Cothron had two free throws in the run and Jeriah Privett and Eads both hit from 3-points out to make it a 23-21 ballgame.
Wilks sank two free throws after the Eads’ bucket then followed with three field goals to help Lincoln to its biggest lead of the half, 35-24. Wilks’ first of the three baskets came with 3:15 to go in the half to end the Lady Patriots’ scoring drought. Boyle and Emma King also tallied late in the half.
The second quarter was when Lincoln hit its turnover high, committing seven miscues.
“We wanted to play fast. I thought we did. With that, with our youth, come a lot of turnovers. And we had those,” McWhorter said. “I think we had 12 at halftime and finished the game with 21. That’s an area that with more games and more experience I want to see cut down because I believe a lot of those were unforced. It was just our making mistakes.”
Lincoln took a 35-28 lead into the half, but Pulaski would chip away at that lead as well, taking advantage of another Lady Pat scoring slump in the third quarter.
Eads opened the second half with a 3-pointer and two free throws to make it 35-33 and the Lady Maroons stayed within two points until the closing seconds of the third period.
Lincoln, which was 2-for-13 in the third, got a free throw toss from Southerland to edge Lincoln ahead 41-38 then Zaria Napier, who was fouled at the buzzer, toed the line for two free throws and a 43-38 edge.
Lincoln, which finished 22-for-57 (39 percent) from the floor, was just 5-for-15 in the fourth quarter. Wilks and Southerland hit early in the fourth quarter, but it was a 6-for-8 stint at the foul line that helped the Lady Pats to a 53-42 lead with 4:28 to play. Wilks had three free throws, Jenna King got two to fall and Emma King had one.
The Lady Maroons would have one last rally left in them, though. Privett converted on a three-point play to ignite a 9-0 run. Eads added a bucket and two free throws and Jordyn Stephens, who finished with 11 points, got two free throws to get Pulaski within 53-51 with 2:49 left.
That was as close as the Lady Maroons would get.
“Pulaski wanted to play fast, too. They’re guard heavy. They want to push. They want to attack and shoot a lot of 3s. Thankfully their shots from 3 weren’t falling tonight. Their free-throw shooting helped us with not being the best either,” McWhorter said.”
“We sneak away with a ‘W’ against a good Pulaski team that, I think, late in the year will be beating a lot of teams. I think they are flying under the radar.”
While Lincoln faced its struggles in the opening tilt, McWhorter says the team can use the game as a teaching tool.
“We have experienced girls, it was just a little first-game jitters – some of them starting varsity for the first time, some of them getting quality varsity minutes,” she said. “And there are guards that aren’t necessarily confident with the ball like I want them to be confident with the ball right now. I think as the season goes on we’ll continue to learn. The girls do a really good job of watching film and learning from mistakes. That’s what you do, you grow and you move on and you learn from them and try not to repeat them.”
Pulaski shot 30 percent from the field, going 14-for-46. At the line, both teams picked up 20 points with Lincoln 20-for-29 and Pulaski 20-for-33.
Lincoln cleaned up on the glass, outrebounding Pulaski 44-26.

at Lincoln Co.
1 2 3 4 F
Lincoln 18 17 8 22 65
Pulaski 11 17 10 15 53

LINCOLN (1-0) – Emma King 19, Kaitlynn Wilks 21, Maddy Boyle 7, Jenna King 7, Haley Southerland 7, Zaria Napier 4.
PULASKI (0-1) – Jeriah Privett 8, Kyra Eads 16, Mackenzie McCollum 4, Haley Brock 7, Jordyn Stephens 11, Shelby Cothron 5, Brooklyn Snow 2.