Lady Pats close out win with FTs

Published 1:15 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

LIBERTY — The Lincoln County girls closed out the regular season just the way coach Cassandra McWhorter wanted: with a “W.”
The Lady Patriots survived a back-and-forth game to earn the win, sinking five of their last six free throws to hold off host Casey County 62-58.
“It’s a good win on the road after getting a win on the road last night (at Somerset),” McWhorter said. “It’s always tough to get a ‘W’ down here at Casey County, but our kids did a good job tonight.”
Haley Southerland, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds, sank the second shot of a two-shot foul to give Lincoln a 58-55 lead with 1:21 to go. After a 3-pointer by Myla McGowan, Southerland went back to the line to sink two more free throws and make it 60-58 with 50.3 seconds showing.
The two teams traded turnovers and missed shots in the closing seconds, but the Lady Patriots found themselves back on the line after Emma King was fouled on the rebound of a Natalie Duggins miss. King, who had 14 points and three steals in the win, sank both shots to give Lincoln a 62-58 cushion with 6.6 ticks left on the clock.
“We outrebounded them (32-17), which was huge, and we knocked free throws down in the stretch when it mattered,” said McWhorter. Emma hadn’t been at the free-throw line all night and goes there at the end to knock both those down to extend it to a four-point lead. And Haley went 4-for-5 in the fourth quarter. They had a hard time finding her in the middle on that zone and her attacking the rim and getting fouled.”
Gena Cravens, who finished with 19 points for Casey on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-points out, missed her final 3-point attempt with her last-second shot missing the basket just before time expired. 
“The girls played hard,” Casey coach Tara Weddle said. “I told them it wasn’t a lack of effort, so I don’t want them to be discouraged with their effort because they did play hard. They worked hard on defense. It was just lack of focus on our part. We didn’t box out. You can’t get outrebounded by that much by a team like them and expect to win. We had too many turnovers, too many missed rebounds.”
Lincoln (19-8) started off on a 6-0 run only to have Casey answer with an 8-0 run. Jenna King, Kaitlynn Wilks and Emma King got the Lady Patriots rolling by scoring the first three buckets of the game. But Cravens nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game, then Lauren Lee, who had a game-high 24 points with six boards and three steals, drove inside for a bucket and an 8-6 Casey lead.
From that point on, it was a battle for control between the 12th Region rivals.
The game was deadlocked at 13 at the end of the first quarter and 26-all at the half. Six points was the biggest lead of the first three periods. Casey (20-9) posted its six-point lead early in the second quarter after 3-point goals by Sarah Harne and Cravens for a 19-13 margin with 5:30 still to go in the first half.
Four points was the largest lead in the third quarter with Lee sinking two foul shots with 2:54 on the clock to make it 36-32 and Shaylah Wilkey hitting inside for a 41-37 Casey lead.
The Lady Rebels had the lead at the end of the third quarter, however, Emma King drained a 3-pointer to close the period to make it a 41-40 ballgame.
Jenna King edged Lincoln on top with a bucket in the paint to open the fourth quarter. Trinity Shearer scored her only points of the game on the next Lincoln basket, and the 3-pointer put the Lady Patriots on top to stay, 45-43, with 6:41 remaining in the game.
Southerland helped Lincoln expand its lead by scoring five of her 10 points within a 36-second span, including a three-point play, and Emma King collected a basket and a 3-pointer for the night’s biggest lead, 57-50.
The Lady Rebels made a frantic push to erase the deficit, with Lee driving inside for a bucket and McGowan, who finished with 10 points, bombing in two 3’s to tie the game before the Lady Pats sealed the win at the foul line.
Lee, Cravens and McGowan put up big numbers for the Lady Rebels, but Weddle says she needs more from the team.
“The girls have big hearts and play hard most of the time. But we’ve got to have more than three people scoring,” she said. “You can’t have only three people putting up numbers and nobody else against teams like Lincoln. It’s just impossible to beat teams of their caliber playing like that.”
Lincoln outshot Casey, connecting on 23 of 45 shot attempts for 51 percent shooting. Casey was at 39 percent on 19-for-49 shooting. The Lady Patriots were 6-for-14 from 3-point range and 10-for-14 from the foul line. The Lady Rebels were 9-for-25 from 3 and 11-for-17 from the line.
“I thought we did a good job of shooting the ball better tonight,” McWhorter said. “I think that came because of ball movement and getting the ball inside and swinging the ball and moving it more than one or two passes.”
Wilks was one of Lincoln’s players making an impact inside, finishing as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, getting 15 points and eight boards.
“That was more of a Wilks’ type game,” McWhorter said. “She’s 6-for-8 and when she’s making shots inside I’d like to see us get it in there more. I think we established her in there early like we wanted to. (Casey) did a good job, too, defensively, adjusting and trying to double team which made it more difficult to get it in to her. But that’s the way Kaitlynn needs to play down the stretch.”
Jenna King had seven rebounds in Lincoln’s 32-17 win on the glass and Trinity Shearer had six of the team’s 12 assists.

at Casey Co.
1 2 3 4 F
Lincoln 13 13 14 22 – 62
Casey 13 13 15 17 – 58

LINCOLN (19-8) – Emma King 14, Kaitlynn Wilks 15, Maddy Boyle 9, Jenna King 4, Logan Godbey 2, Haley Southerland 10, Zaria Napier 5, Trinity Shearer 3.
CASEY (20-9) – Gena Cravens 19, Lauren Lee 24, Sarah Harne 3, Myla McGowan 10, Shaylah Wilkey 2.