Patriots start new year with win

Published 1:15 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

STANFORD — Spencer Baird scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half and Elijah Frye notched 10 of his 12 points in the first two quarters and Lincoln went on to bounce East Jessamine 62-49 Tuesday night for the team’s first win of 2018 and its third straight victory.

The Patriots, who raised their record to 7-8 with the win, never trailed in the 12th Region matchup, shooting 55 percent from the floor (12 of 22) in the first half to lead 30-21. They led by as many as 21 points in the second half before posting the win and finished at 49 percent for the night (20-for-41).

Lincoln held East Jessamine (5-11) to 30 percent shooting the first half (8-for-27) and 33 percent overall (18-for-54).

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“I thought we played pretty good overall and defensively we were good,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “ We moved the ball pretty good and handled their pressure. A little late I thought we got a little careless and had some turnovers and took a bad shot or two. When you’ve got the lead, you need to make better decisions. But overall, it was a good win.”

Both teams got off to a cold start, with the first points of the game not coming until the 5:51 mark of the first quarter. After two Lincoln misses, Baird got the first shot to fall, scoring off an East Jessamine turnover to ignite the Patriots’ 9-2 opening run. Frye bombed in a 3-pointer to make it 5-0, then Chase Phillips and Bryson Yaden both drove inside for a bucket.

Phillips, who had been out with an ankle injury for the last three games, would go on to score a total of 11 points to give Lincoln three players in double figures.

“Getting Chase back helps us,” Jackson said. “He does a lot of good things for us. He’s not at 100 percent yet, with his conditioning off a little bit. But we were glad to have him back.”

East Jessamine would miss its first five field goal attempts and turn the ball over two times before getting on the scoreboard. Jacob Bradshaw hit inside at the 3:48 mark of the first to knock the goose egg off the Jaguars’ side of the scoreboard.

Lincoln, which led 11-6 at the end of the first, posted its first double-digit lead in the second quarter. Baird and Frye nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to put Lincoln up 20-10 with 4:39 left in the first half, then Yaden, who finished with eight points, got a layup for a 22-11 margin. East’s DeAnte Sanon, who had a game-high 21 points, scored seven points late in the second quarter to help trim Lincoln’s lead to single digits then Ben Thompson converted on a 3-point play to make it a 27-21 ballgame.

Baird would make it a nine-point margin at the break, though, bombing in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for a 30-21 game. The margin remained at nine at the end of the third, 45-36, with both teams scoring 15 points in the period. 

Lincoln would cushion its lead in a big way in the first half of the fourth quarter, however, exploding on a 12-0 run to post its largest lead of the game, 57-36. Phillips scored off a turnover in the run and Riley Bodner hit inside for the Patriots, but the bulk of those 12 points came at the foul line. Lincoln went 8-for-10 at the line in the run, with Jaxon Smith sinking three free throws, Phillips and Baird each getting two and Yaden adding a free throw toss.

East would break on its own run before the game ended, but the Lincoln lead was never threatened like in a few previous games.

“Hopefully we’re maturing a little bit with our decision-making,” Jackson said. “‘We did a better job but we made some not good decisions late when we had the lead and the ball. We missed wide open layups and free throws when we had the lead and we turned the ball over a time or two. We can’t make those mistakes.”

Bradshaw and Thompson both hit from 3-point range to set off East’s late run, but the 13-5 surge would not be enough to overcome Lincoln’s early lead.

‘East beat us twice over the summer. They thumped us pretty good this summer. So it was good for our kids to come back and win tonight,” Jackson said.

The Lincoln mentor wasn’t just happy with the win because of the pre-season losses to East. No, Jackson is thinking ahead.

“We’ll take any win we can get. We’re just trying to get better,” he said. “We’re getting into a tough part of our schedule so we want to be getting better and getting those wins. And tonight was just a really good team win against a good team. Getting Chase (Phillips) back was good. I thought Bryson (Yaden) was real, real solid again. He did some great things for us. I thought everybody that played did a really good job. Spencer (Baird) played well, Elijah (Frye) played well, Jaxon (Smith), Hootie (Darius Napier) … everybody. Just a good team win.”

Lincoln gets into the meat of its schedule Friday night, opening 45th District play at Danville.

“It’s going to be tough, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Jackson.

at Lincoln
E. Jess. 6 15 15 13 – 49
Lincoln 11 19 15 17 – 62

EAST JESSAMINE (5-11) – Michael Powell 5, Ben Thompson 9, DeAnte Sanon 21, Tyler Pitney 4, Tayshawn Craycraft 2, Jacob Bradshaw 8. 
LINCOLN (7-8) – Bryson Yaden 8, Elijah Frye 12, Jaxon Smith 5, Chase Phillips 11, Darius Napier 5, Spencer Baird 18, Riley Bodner 3.