Patriots win 4OT thriller

Published 1:04 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

SOMERSET — The Lincoln County boys basketball team survived a thriller Tuesday at Southwestern, defeating the host Warriors 77-72 in quadruple overtime.

“My gosh, what a ballgame,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was a good win. I’m real proud of our kids. I thought both teams played their hearts out and left it all out there on the floor. We had chances. They had chances. We got stops at the end. They got stops at the end. It was just one of those wild games.”

Free throws were key in the Lincoln win as the Patriots, who were 32-for-38 overall at the line, scored 22 of their 24 overtime points on 26 trips to the stripe.

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Senior guard Chase Phillips, who poured in 19 points in the 12th Region win, was 8-for-8 at the line in the OT periods, including sinking the go-ahead foul shots to start the fourth overtime. Sophomore center Riley Bodner, who scored a team-high 20 points, went 6-for-6 in overtime, and junior guard Blake Smith, who finished with 18 points, was 4-for-4. Bodner and Smith sank the last four free throws of the game to ice the win. Bodner scored the only Patriot field goal in the overtime periods. 

“We hit some big free throws down the stretch,” said Jackson. “I mean, Riley and Blake and Chase in the fourth overtime hit some big ones down the stretch. Riley iced it then got the block at the other end (on Matthew Jones 3-point attempt) to end the game.”

Lincoln (11-13) led for most of the first half, opening on a 9-2 run. Phillips hit inside to get the Patriots started, Smith followed with a bucket then Spencer Baird sank two free throws before stepping behind the arc for a 3-pointer and a seven-point lead. 

Jonathon Gallagher, who had a game-high 28 points to lead Southwestern, scored his first six points in an 8-0 Warrior run that edged the hosts on top 10-9. 

Lincoln would answer with six straight points, though, to retake the lead. Bodner scored on a putback and Jaxon Smith and Bryson Yaden added a bucket apiece to put the Pats up 15-10 at the end of the first.

Lincoln maintained the lead throughout the second quarter, posting its largest lead of the night, seven points, several times in the period. Seven points would be the margin at the end of the first half, with the Patriots taking a 28-21 lead into the locker room.

The margin remained at seven, 32-25, with 5:16 to play in the third quarter after a Yaden field goal. However, the Lincoln lead would quickly disappear as Southwestern (12-9) broke on a 7-0 scoring run. Joe Floyd opened the run with a basket, Jones followed with two free throws then Hunter Stevens, who finished with 24 points, converted on a three-point play to deadlock the game at 32-all with 3:45 left in the third.

It would be a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way.

There were three lead changes before the horn sounded on the third period, with Blake Smith converting on his own three-point play to end the period and put Lincoln on top 37-36. 

That would be topped by eight lead changes in the fourth quarter. The final lead change came with 1:06 left in regulation when Stevens hit for Southwestern to edge the Warriors ahead 53-52. But Darius Napier would sink the second of two free throws with 37.3 seconds to play to force overtime.

With his team down 58-55, Stevens hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for the Warriors to send the game into a second overtime. Lincoln tallied late in the second extra period to force yet a third OT. Phillips sank two free throws to tie the game at 62-all. Free throws also set up the fourth overtime, with Gallagher and Stevens each getting one free throw to deadlock the game 67-67.

Lincoln never trailed in the fourth overtime period. Phillips opened the frame with four straight free throws for a 71-67 lead. Stevens drained a 3 for the Warriors to make it a one-point game. Then, after two Blake Smith free throws, Gallagher hit inside to get Southwestern within 73-72 with 34.3 seconds on the clock.

The Warriors would get no closer, with Smith and Bodner sinking the final four free throws of the game.

“It was a good win for our kids, a much-needed win,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a young team, but I thought they played really, really hard. It was very competitive, a very physical game. They battled. We made some plays when we needed to in the fourth overtime and made our free throws.” 

at Southwestern

Lincoln 15 13 9 16 5 4 5 10 – 77
S-western 10 11 15 17 5 4 5 5 – 72

LINCOLN (11-13) – Bryson Yaden 7, Blake Smith 18, Elijah Frye 2, Jaxon Smith 5, Chase Phillips 19, Darius Napier 1, Spencer Baird 5, Riley Bodner 20.
SOUTHWESTERN (12-9) – Joe Floyd 8, Matthew Jones 4, Andrew Smith 3, Hunter Stevens 24, Logan Dykes 5, Jonathon Gallagher 28.