Lincoln can’t overcome West Jessamine’s explosive start

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017

NICHOLASVILLE — Freshman guard Spencer Baird scored a game-high 18 points for Lincoln County Tuesday night at West Jessamine, but it would not be enough to earn the Patriots the win as the Colts rode an explosive 18-0 start to an 82-59 victory.

“We got off to a terrible start. We were shell-shocked,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “We know how good they are. I mean, they are one of the top teams in our region. They’re really good inside and they’ve got three super guards. They’re physical and they are strong and they are well-coached.”

Lincoln (2-4) did not score its first point until the 2:27 mark of the first when reserve Darius Napier hit inside off a Blake Smith assist. The basket came after eight missed field goal attempts and four turnovers.

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“We told our kids – good shot selection, control the tempo, don’t take bad shots and let them get it and go because they are going to go. And the first five shots we took were not shots we wanted to take, and we had two turnovers, and we’re down 12-0. Then it ended up 18-0. You can’t have poor shot selection. You can’t have quick shots. You’ve got to execute your offense. You’ve got to play. We just took poor shots and when you take poor shots it leads to run-outs.”

Braeden Fomas, Skyler Cannady and Drew Cook pushed in four points apiece in West’s opening run-out, and Dalton Bruner and Kyle Anderson each had three points. Four of those five players would end up in double figures, with Bruner leading the Colts with 14 points. Cannady and Fomas both got 12 points and Anderson had 10. A fifth Colt, Jayden Preston, also had double digits with 13 points.

Lincoln would rally from the slow start to challenge West Jessamine (3-0), with Baird scoring 11 of his 18 points as the Patriots pulled within 42-37 late in the third quarter. However, the Colts closed the third on a 7-2 run to go up 49-39 and never looked back.

Lincoln, which trailed 25-9 after the first, managed to trim West’s lead to single digits in the second quarter. Napier opened the quarter scoring with an inside bucket then Blake Smith, who finished with 12 points, knocked down two field goals and a 3-pointer. Jaxon Smith, who had 13 points, and Chase Phillips each sank two free throws and Baird went inside for two buckets to make it 35-26 with 2:29 left in the first half.

West would retake a double-digit lead before the break, though, with Anderson scoring four points in the final minute and Peyton Coleman adding two to make it 40-28.

Lincoln came out firing in the third quarter, breaking on a 9-2 run. Baird scored with a jumper, a driving layup and a 3-pointer and Elijah Frye scored on a putback to get the Pats within 42-37. Lincoln had two more chances to cut into the lead, but neither shot attempt would fall. And, after drawing a foul, Lincoln missed two free throws.

“We fought and scratched and clawed and the kids that came off the bench gave us a huge lift, gave us energy and helped us get back in the game,” Jackson said. “It was 42-37. We got a steal and missed a layup. We go down and we get a stop. We come down, shoot the ball and miss, and we get fouled. Then we miss two free throws. We’re 10-for-20 at the line. Trust me, we shoot lots of free throws. We shot a lot of free throws today.”

“We had one more possession to cut it down and we didn’t and they go down and go on a run. Good teams do. When you’ve used energy to get back in it and you get a chance to keep narrowing the gap, you have to take advantage. You can’t not put the ball in the basket.”

Lincoln finished at 41 percent from the field, going 23-for-56, and was 10-for-20 at the foul line.

West shot 46 percent from the field, going 31-for-68, with a 14-for-25 stint at the line.

The Colts outrebounded the Pats 36-21

“We needed to get off to a better start. We expended a lot of energy and came back. We’ve just got to try to find a way to (close gap) when have the opportunity,” Jackson said. “We saw some good things out of our kids tonight. We’ve just got to try and keep getting better and working hard.”

at West Jessamine
Lincoln 9 19 11 20 – 59
West 25 15 9 32 – 81

LINCOLN (2-4) – Blake Smith 12, Elijah Frye 4, Jaxon Smith 13, Chase Phillips 5, Darius Napier 7, Spencer Baird 18.
WEST JESSAMINE (3-0) – Drew Cook 6, Skyler Cannady 12, Dalton Bruner 14, Peyton Coleman 2, Braeden Fomas 12, Josh Sumeracki 3, DeAjuan Stepp 9, Kyle Anderson 10, Jayden Preston 13.