Lady Pat offense stymied in loss

Published 12:57 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

SOMERSET — Lincoln County girls coach Cassandra McWhorter could only watch in dismay Tuesday night as the Lady Patriots missed layup after layup in a 54-31 loss to host Southwestern.

The defeat was the Lady Patriots worse loss of the season. They had been averaging 69.9 points per game this season, 59 points in losses. On Tuesday, the Lady Warriors stymied the Lady Patriot offense, holding them to a season-low 31 points. Lincoln shot an icy 21 percent from the field, going 10-for-47 overall. The team was 10-for-17 at the foul line.

McWhorter said the team that took the floor Tuesday at Somerset was almost unrecognizable.

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“It’s not the team I’ve seen all year. I don’t know where that team went tonight,” McWhorter said. “We only played about four minutes out of four quarters tonight.”

The Lincoln mentor said she had her concerns coming into the regional matchup.

“I was a little leery after our practice yesterday. Our practice wasn’t very focused yesterday. We didn’t pay attention to detail. We seemed to be more interested in things off the court than on the court,” she said. “I was worried about that, but I thought, ‘You know, these girls have played a lot of ball. They know this is a big game.’ I thought they would be mentally prepared tonight.”

“I’ve always been told that when you’re missing wide open layups and when you miss free throws, you’re not mentally prepared, mentally focused. That was us tonight.”

Lincoln’s lackluster play was evident from practically the opening tip. The Lady Patriots (15-5) got off to a 3-0 start with Kaitlynn Wilks, who had a team-high 14 points, hitting inside to start the game then adding a free throw toss. Unfortunately, Lincoln would tally only one more field goal over the rest of the first quarter, going 2-for-12 from the field in the frame.

Southwestern, which shot 40 percent from the field (21-for-52), responded to Lincoln’s 3-0 start with a 14-2 run to go on top to stay. Lady Warrior Regi Cundiff scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the run to put her team up 14-5 at the end of the first.

The Lady Warriors (17-4) posted their biggest lead of the first half midway through the second quarter, with Kennedy Harris converting on a three-point play and Hannah Phelps following with a 3-pointer to put Southwestern up 22-7.

The lone spark McWhorter saw in the Lady Patriots Tuesday, those “four minutes out of four quarters,” came at the end of the second quarter as Lincoln whittled the 15-point deficit down to seven points.

Emma King bombed in a 3-pointer to ignite the closing run, Trinity Shearer followed with a bucket off a turnover and Wilks added a field goal and two free throws to make it a 25-18 ballgame at the break.

Lincoln never threatened in the second half.

Southwestern used a 12-3 scoring run in the third quarter to distance itself from Lincoln. The Lady Warriors, who took a 37-21 lead into the fourth quarter, outscored the Lady Patriots 29-13 in the second half to earn the lopsided win.

“When shots aren’t falling, the things that have to be there is your heart and effort and, defensively, I didn’t see that until that four-minutes stretch,” McWhorter said. “It’s a question a coach has when the ball’s not going in the hole, ‘How will your team respond?’ We’ve not had a lot of games where the ball didn’t go in the hole like tonight. We didn’t do the little things that we had to do defensively to make sure that, even if the shots don’t fall, that we  give ourselves a chance to be in the game.”

Lincoln played without the services of starting forward Zaria Napier for most of the night, with the junior going down in the first quarter with an injured right ankle. 

“That didn’t help the mental or emotional state of the team with her going down the way that she did,” said McWhorter. “I know your teammates are worried when you get hurt, but we’ve got to respond a little bit better. We were slow. They won the 50/50 balls, again, again, missing the wide open layups with the caliber of kids that we have. Those should be makes.”

at Southwestern

Lincoln 5 13 3 10 – 31
S-western 14 11 12 17 – 54

LINCOLN (15-5) – Emma King 8, Kaitlynn Wilks 14, Maddy Boyle 6, Trinity Shearer 2, Anna Lane 1.
SOUTHWESTERN (17-4) – Kallie Sheron 6, Regi Cundiff 19, Kennedy Harris 9, Alexa Smiddy 7, Marissa Loveless 2, Hannah Phelps 6, Kylie Foreman 5.