Ads pull upset; deny Pats 41-39

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

DANVILLE — The Danville boys did what no other 45th District team could this season – they defeated Lincoln County.
The Admirals pulled off the upset Friday night before a home crowd, denying the top-seeded Patriots a sweep of regular-season district play by holding off the visitors 41-39.
Danville (10-15, 3-3 district) was able to earn the win with perhaps one of it’s best starts this season, exploding ahead 7-0 to open and posting a 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight. I thought the first half we probably played as good as we were capable of playing,” Danville coach Ed McKinney said. 
DeShaud St. Martin scored a putback to open the game then Zach Thornton followed with a bucket in the paint and a 3-pointer for the 7-0 advantage. Thornton, who finished with 10 points, converted on a three-point play later in the period as the Admirals built on their lead. Jared Southerland, who led Danville with 15 points, scored three baskets and sank two free throws in the first and Tanner Ford nailed a 3 to make it 21-8.  
The Admirals, who were 8-for-11 from the field in the first quarter, 15-for-38 overall, led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but the Patriots weren’t going away. Lincoln (20-8, 5-1) outscored Danville 28-12 over the second and third quarters to take a 36-33 lead into the fourth period. Lincoln’s lead would not last, though, as Danville finished on an 8-3 run to secure the win.
Lincoln had the opportunity to win the game when Noah Young, who led all scorers with 25 points, heaved up a last-second shot from the mid-court line. However, the shot was just left of the rim.
Patriot coach Jeff Jackson was not pleased with his team’s play.
“They outplayed us. They outworked us. They outprepared us. They outcoached us. They deserved to win the basketball game and we didn’t,” he said. “You’ve got to give them credit. They did everything right and we didn’t. If we’d hit the shot at the end to win, it would have been great for us but probably unfair to them.”
David Walker scored a bucket to open the fourth quarter and make it 36-35 and, after a Lincoln free throw, Thornton hit inside to tie the game at 37, then Southerland drove baseline for a 39-37 lead.
Young deadlocked the game a final time, 39-39, with 2:58 to play only to have Southerland score his biggest points of the night at the foul line, sinking two shots with 2:33 to go for the 41-39 final.
Danville had chances to build on its lead only to come up empty on two separate trips to the foul line while turning the ball over twice. Lincoln also had chances to claim the lead, but a missed shot on a 1-for-1 and three missed field goals with no second-looks kept giving possession to the Ads.
Lincoln had 19.6 seconds to get off a final play, with the final shot attempt coming off an inbounds play with 2.9 ticks left.
“We missed 11 free throws, I don’t know how many layups, and our execution on the last play at the end was awful,” Jackson said. “That comes back to me. I take responsibility for not having my kids ready to go.”
Chase Phillips scored seven of his nine points in the second quarter as the Patriots’ whittled a 23-9 Admiral lead down to 27-20. Young chipped in with four points and Blake Smith added a free throw toss to make it a seven-point game just before the half. Southerland would collect his own free throw to close the second quarter to make it 28-20.
Walker pushed the Danville lead to 30-20 to open the third quarter before Lincoln broke on a 16-3 scoring run. Young tallied 14 of the 16 points off five buckets, including two 3-pointers. He also had two free throws. Phillips also hit inside as Lincoln edged ahead 36-33.
McKinney attributed Danville’s ability to outlast Lincoln to the team being “selfish.”
“When I talk about being selfish sometimes, it’s not about being ball hogs,” he said. “When things don’t go good, we let down defensively cause we’re like, ’Gosh I messed up.’ I tell them don’t worry about that just keep playing and making plays. We’ve got good athletes. If don’t drop their heads they’re going to make plays.”
“Tonight I thought we did that. I thought defensively we played like we wanted to play,” McKinney added. “Sometimes we get all antsy and hyped up and I thought we played calm tonight. We played defensively and were active the whole time and tried to play it the whole time.”
Lincoln finished 12-for-35 from the field overall and was 12-for-22 at the foul line. Danville was 15-for-38 overall, 8-for-13 at the foul line.
With both teams just a few games away from the postseason, McKinney is wary of possibly meeting Lincoln again.
“I still think that’s the best team in the region,” he said of Lincoln. “We have a ton of respect for them, especially after they beat Mercer and Southwestern. I’m not sure that was their ‘A’ game tonight. Things went our way tonight and we played well.”

at Danville
1 2 3 4 F
Lincoln 8 12 16 3 – 39
Danville 21 7 5 8 – 41

LINCOLN (20-8, 5-1) – Devin Alcorn 4, Blake Smith 1, Chase Phillips 9, Noah Young 25.
DANVILLE (10-15, 3-3) – David Walker 6, Jared Southerland 15, DeShaud St. Martin 4, Tanner Ford 6, Zach Thornton 10.