Patriots late rally not enough against Defenders

Published 9:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

STANFORD — The Lincoln County boys basketball team battled to pull within 70-64 with one minute, 50 seconds left in the game, but five turnovers in the closing minute and the strength of the Bryan Station Defenders kept the Patriots from getting any closer in a 77-66 defeat Friday night at J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium.

For the second straight game, Lincoln, which falls to 2-5, waged a strong second-half rally only to falter in the closing moments. Senior Chase Phillips helped lead the rally effort by scoring 15 of his team-high 17 points in the third and fourth quarters as the Patriots whittled a 27-point deficit down to just six points.   

“ I don’t know what we have to do to come ready to play and not be as bug-eyed as we were,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “I thought, with a top 10 team coming in, that we’d be ready, but we just weren’t – in any phase. We were down 25 at halftime and the largest lead was 27. We told them at halftime, ‘Win the second half.’ We did that, but it just wasn’t enough to get us where we needed to be.”

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Bryan Station (7-0) never trailed in the game, opening with an 8-2 run and posting a 29-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. Terrance Clayton-Murphy, who led all scorers with a game-high 19 points, scored 10 of those points in the first period. But he would also get a lot of help from Jalen Burbage, who scored all of his 14 points in the first off four 3-pointers and a bucket. Eric Boone, who also finished with 14 points, scored the game-opening bucket. And Myles Morones, who rounded out a quartet of double-digit Defenders with 12 points, also drained a 3-pointer. 

“We didn’t attack offensively. We didn’t get out on their shooters,” said Jackson. “Coming into the game, they’re shooting like 27 percent from 3. Last game they were 1-for-13. They had six in the first half. So they shot well, but we didn’t do a good job of getting out and contesting the shots like we needed to. We weren’t real active out of the zone.”

Spencer Baird, who had 11 points for Lincoln, got the Patriots on the scoreboard with two free throws then added a field goal late in the period. Jaxson Smith scored six of his eight points in the first and Phillips, Bryson Yaden and Darius Napier had a bucket apiece.

Lincoln got as close as 30-18 in the second quarter after a Baird bucket in the paint, but Bryan Station would dominate in the period. The Defenders outscored the Patriots 22-10 to take a 51-26 lead into the half.

Kendrick Curry opened the third quarter with a bucket for the night’s largest lead, 53-26. Lincoln would spend the next 13 minutes, 21 seconds chipping away at that lead.

The Patriots had it down to 18 points at the end of the third, with Blake Smith, who finished with nine points, nailing a 3-pointer and pushing in two field goals to help get Lincoln’s comeback rolling. Elijah Frye and and Baird also hit 3-pointers in the third, Jaxson Smith added a bucket and Phillips had two free throws.

But it was a 21-9 fourth-quarter run where Lincoln really threatened the Defenders’ lead.  

Phillips opened the run with eight straight points, including a 3-pointer. Napier, who finished with eight points, scored three layups in the run, Yaden added a bucket, Frye sank two free throws and Phillips had one free throw toss before closing with a jumper to make it 70-64 with 1:50 to play.

Bryan Station would close out the game on its own run, though, outscoring Lincoln 7-2 to earn the win.

“I thought the second half we played really well,” Jackson said. “At halftime, we came in and talked, we regrouped a little bit. We talked about West (Jessamine) and getting behind, then scratching and clawing and getting ourselves back in it. We did that tonight. I thought our effort the second half was really good. We battled. We had it to six and had the ball with about a minute and a half to go. We had a play called, but we weren’t disciplined enough to execute the play we wanted to execute. Then they go down and score. When we cut it down and we’ve got the ball, we need to score. You’ve got to make that next play and score. We didn’t do it at West and we didn’t do it tonight.”

“We’re young. We’ve got a lot to learn. We’ve got to learn to play hard for 32 minutes.”

For the game, Lincoln shot 51 percent from the field (23-for 45) and 44 percent from 3-point range (4-for-9). Bryan Station finished at 49 percent (27-for-55) and 36 percent from long distance (8-for-22). The Defenders edged the Pats on the glass 25-23, led by Boone with eight rebounds. Baird led Lincoln with six rebounds and Napier had five.

at Lincoln

Bryan Sta. 29 22 10 16 – 77
Lincoln 16 10 17 23 – 66

BRYAN STATION (7-0) – Eric Boone 14, Terrance Clayton-Murphy 19, Jalen Burbage 14, Myles Morones 12, Kendrick Curry 8, Keaton Simpson 8, James Lindsay 2. 
LINCOLN (2-5) – Bryson Yaden 5, Blake Smith 9, Elijah Frye 8, Jaxson Smith 8, Chase Phillips 17, Darius Napier 8, Spencer Baird 11.