Lady Lions Classic Championship: Poor shooting costs Lady Pats in 55-44 loss to Central in title game

LANCASTER — The Garrard County Middle School gymnasium was a great place for the Lincoln County girls’ basketball team in the Lady Lions Holiday Classic, with the Lady Patriots blazing through the first two rounds with 30-plus point wins to extend their run of lopsided victories to seven.
But Thursday night was different.
Lincoln’s Emma King scored a game-high 19 points, but Madison Central’s Mallie Cornett, Lindsey Johns, Charity Mack and Kasi Schneid all hit double figures, combining for 47 points to help the Lady Indians avenge an earlier-season loss to the Lady Patriots with a 55-44 win in the championship game of the Lady Lions holiday tournament.
Cornett led the Lady Indians with 14 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Johns finished with 13 points and Mack and Schneid each had 10 points.
Madison Central (9-5) has now won eight straight games. The Lady Indians’ last loss was an 81-47 thumping delivered by Lincoln back on Dec. 16.
“Madison Central came ready to play,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “Madison Central came in and probably had a little vendetta with the way we played them at our place. I think they came in tonight ready to go. I think we may have overlooked them a little bit, too. That’s something we can’t do. We’ve got to come out ready every night, no matter who we are playing or if we’d played them before. It’s the coaches’ responsibility to make sure that our team is ready to go.”
Poor shooting proved costly for Lincoln (8-4) as the Lady Patriots shot just 28 percent overall, going 17-for-61 from the field, 7-for-27 from 3-point range. They didn’t get much help at the foul line either, just 3-for-4 on the night.
Lincoln’s shooting woes reared their head early as the Lady Pats missed eight of their first nine shot attempts.  Despite the poor shooting, Lincoln did pull ahead late in the period with Emma King and Jenna King both nailing 3-pointers to ease the Lady Pats ahead 8-7. But Cornett answered with a 3 for the Lady Indians to make it 10-8 at the end of the period.
“I thought they may stick with us there in the first quarter. They kept holding on,” McWhorter said. “They shot the ball extremely well. I think they were 40-something percent and we were like 28 percent.”
Central finished at 41 percent from the field, going 16-for-39, 3-for-15 from 3.
Both teams struggled from the field early in the second quarter, with Lincoln’s Zaria Napier ending the scoring drought with a bucket at the 5:57 mark in the frame. Napier actually had the first two buckets of the period, following with a layup off a turnover to make it 12-10, Lincoln.
The teams traded leads throughout the remainder of the half and the score was deadlocked at 21-all at the break.
Central opened up a 26-23 lead early in the third quarter off a Bailee Vanover bucket and a Schneid 3. That’s when Emma King broke on her 7-0 scoring run, knocking down back-to-back field goals before stepping back for a 3-pointer and a 30-26 Lady Pat lead.
The Lady Patriots held to a 39-35 lead going into the fourth quarter after back-to-back buckets by Emma King and Haley Southerland, leaving McWhorter feeling good about her teams play.
“I thought (in) third quarter, okay, we made a little run and we’re going to step it up and make that run, but then we had a let down in the fourth quarter with just five points.”
Yes, five points. That’s all Lincoln could manage in the final frame, with just two of 15 shot attempts falling, a Maddy Boyle 3-pointer midway through the period and a Jenna King field goal at the 2:35 mark. 
Central took advantage of Lincoln’s poor shooting, opening the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run. Johns had a bucket and three free throws and Schneid sank two free throws to put the Lady Indians on top to stay, 42-39. Central would go on to outscore Lincoln 20-5 in the fourth to claim the tourney title.
“They did a good job of attacking the rim and we had some breakdowns defensively as a team,” McWhorter said. “They scored 20 of their 55 points from the free-throw line and 24 of their points from the paint with attacking the rim or getting the ball inside. So they did a good job of getting to the rim and making their shots and also getting to the free-throw line and getting easy buckets.”
Central also beat Lincoln on the glass, outrebounding the Lady Patriots 38-30.
“We didn’t have a lot of offensive rebounding that we’ve normally been having in games,” said McWhorter. “We’ve been pressing the boards pretty well in games previous. But we didn’t have many second opportunities because they did a good job of keeping us off the offensive glass.”

Lady Lions Holiday Classic
at Garrard Co.
Championship Game
1 2 3 4 F
Lincoln 8 13 18 5 – 44
Central 10 11 14 20 – 55
LLINCOLN (8-4) – Emma King 19, Maddy Boyle 8, Kaitlynn Wilks 4, Jenna King 7, Haley Southerland 2, Zaria Napier 4.
MADISON CENTRAL (9-5) – Lindsey Johns 13, Mallie Cornett 14, Charity Mack 10, Bailee Vanover 7, Kasi Schneid 10, Taleya Todd 1.