Missed free throws prove costly for Lincoln in Wayne loss

Published 1:32 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

MONTICELLO — The Lincoln County Patriot basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss at Wayne County Tuesday night as it fell to 1-3 on the season. 

In a game where Lincoln led for most of the night, the Patriots were unable to sustain their momentum for four full quarters and the host Cardinals rallied in the final period to hand Lincoln a 63-57 loss.

Lincoln led by as many as 12 points in the first half and held to a 40-31 lead midway through the third quarter when Wayne (1-1) began its comeback effort. The Cardinals used a 21-7 scoring run to erase the Patriots’ lead. Spencer Thomas, who finished with 16 points for Wayne, scored 10 of the Cards’ 21 points in the run, including two points off a baseline drive with 5:20 to play which gave Wayne its first lead of the night, 48-47.  

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Wayne never trailed again. Stetson Simpson, who had 15 points, hit from 3-point range to break a 52-52 tie with 1:50 on the clock and the Cards outscored Lincoln 8-5 the rest of the way to secure the win. 

“We had the lead and then we took a couple little bad shots, quick shots. We forced some things when we didn’t need to. Took some quick shots when we didn’t need to,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “You have to understand that when you have a young, inexperienced team like we do, when you’ve got the lead you need to really, really execute your offense. You don’t have to force anything. When they made a little run, I thought we got a little quick and took some quick shots which led to some easier shots for them on the other end.”

And the “quick shots” weren’t because Lincoln didn’t have scoring opportunities.

“We had some open looks that we didn’t take,” Jackson said. “We had the ball to the right people. We want them to shoot and they didn’t. It’s a 3-point game and we take not the shot we want, but the shot we had to make at the time.”

As disappointing as it was to not execute offensively, Jackson said it was the foul line that proved most costly.

“You have to make free throws,” he said. “We missed seven free throws that I know of and we got beat six. We need to do a better job, I need to do a better job of having them concentrating on those probably a little bit more in practice if we’re going to get better.”

Lincoln edged Wayne in scoring from the field, connecting on 23 of 50 shot attempts for 46 percent, including five 3-point goals for 51 points while Wayne was 22-for-45 for 49 percent, also with five 3s, for 49 points. At the line, Lincoln missed seven exactly, going 6-for-13. Wayne was 14-for-20 at the foul line.

The Patriots dominated the game early, opening on an 8-0  run. Chase Phillips, who led Lincoln with a game-high 17 points, had the opening and closing baskets in the run and Spencer Baird and Jaxson Smith each had a bucket in the paint. 

Riley Woods ended the Lincoln run with 4:16 left in the first. Aubrey Weaver, who scored 16 points for the Cards, knocked down a 3-pointer and a field goal late to get Wayne within 12-9 only to have Blake Smith, who had 10 points for the Pats, draining his own 3-pointer and Phillips closing with a bucket for a 17-9 margin.

The largest lead of the night was posted in the second quarter, with Lincoln extending its lead to 26-14 on a 9-5 quarter-opening run. Blake Smith went baseline to open the run, Jaxon Smith followed with a free throw toss, Riley Bodner scored two buckets in the paint and Phillips scored on a putback to make it a 12-point game with 4:59 left in the first half.

Wayne answered the Lincoln run with one of its own, scoring 10 straight points to pull within 29-24. Woods, Weaver and Spencer had a bucket apiece and Simpson had a 3-point goal and a free throw.

The Patriots reopened a nine-point lead, 33-24, after a 3-pointer and a bucket by Elijah Frye and a Jaxon Smith field goal and took a 35-28 lead into the half.

A Jaxon Smith 3 and two Baird free throws gave Lincoln a 40-31 lead with 3:38 left in the third quarter before Wayne waged its comeback effort. 

Wayne’s 21-7 run pushed the Cards on top 52-47. Lincoln would tie the game at 52-all. After two missed free throws, Phillips hit inside then Baird stepped out for a 3 for the tie.

“I thought we got better tonight,” said Jackson. “We played hard and I thought we had some kids in some situations they haven’t been in before. We missed seven free throws that I know of. We missed several shots around the basket. We made some young, inexperienced plays and we have to learn and grow. We’ve got to continue to work on taking care of the ball and making good decisions.” 

at Wayne Co.

Lincoln 17 18 7 15 – 57
Wayne 9 19 11 24 – 63

LINCOLN (1-3) – Blake Smith 10, Elijah Frye 7, Jaxon Smith 8, Chase Phillips 17, Spencer Baird 9, Riley Bodner 6.

WAYNE (1-1) – Kameron Gehring 6, Stetson Simpson 15, Jadon Pryor 2, Aubrey Weaver 16, Zachary Dishman 4, Thomas Spencer 16, Riley Woods 4.