LC girls win in regular season finale

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

STANFORD — The Lincoln County girls’ basketball team celebrated Senior Night with a 72-61 victory over Casey County Friday night at home in their regular-season finale.

Senior players Cheyenne Releford and Courtney Snow and manager Meredith Dennis were recognized in a special ceremony after the win, but Releford and Snow took their place alongside teammates Maddy Boyle, Emma King and Kaitlyn Wilks during the introduction of the starting lineups.

Releford and Snow did not get in the scorebook Friday night, but they did end the game just like they started — on the floor. 

“Nice finish to the regular season,” Lincoln County coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “You know, Senior Night is a little emotional and I was happy that Chey and Courtney were able to start and hear their names called in that starting lineup. And then to be able to get them back in at the end of the game and them be able to finish their senior career. Hopefully we’ve still got more games on our home floor (region). Lord willing, we get the win Tuesday (district tourney), but it’s a special night Senior Night and to get them to finish the game on the floor is special.”

King went on to burn the nets for a game-high 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting to pace Lincoln in the win and Boyle and Wilks combined for 33 points, with 17 points for Boyle (6-for-10) and 16 for Wilks (6-for-9) as the Lady Patriots improved to 21-6. 

“Emma played really big tonight, finishing around the rim and getting to the rim strong. Again, when we have three people in double figures like we did tonight we’re hard to stop,” said McWhorter. “And other things that other people did as well, rebounding and just moving the ball and getting the ball to open teammates and recognizing who is open. I thought Maddy hit a couple big 3’s. Kaitlynn finished down around the rim tonight, gave a big lift as well. Just overall a good win.”

Casey (22-6) didn’t make it easy on Lincoln, getting the jump on the Lady Patriots early in the 12th Region clash. Gena Cravens, who led Casey with 20 points, Lauren Lee, who had 15 points, and Jordy Stephens, who finished with 14 points, gave the Lady Rebels the advantage at the start by pumping in the game’s first seven points. 

Three-point shooting helped Casey open the early lead, with Stephens draining a trey in the opening run and Cravens nailing back-to-back 3-pointers late in the period to put Casey up 19-11. The Lady Rebels, who finished at 39 percent from the field on 22-for-56 shooting, would collect over half of their shots from long range, bombing in 12 3-pointers.

Casey could not maintain its advantage over Lincoln, however, as the Lady Patriots broke on a 12-2 run late in the first quarter. King scored 10 of the 12 points in the run to put the Lady Pats on top to stay, 23-22, capping off the run with a layup with 3:16 to play in the second quarter.

The Lincoln lead grew to 31-22 in the second period, with King sinking two free throws before Boyle stepped behind the arc for two 3’s. Casey’s Lee would bomb in her own 3 before the break, though, to make it a 31-25 ballgame.

“Casey’s a very strong team,” said McWhorter. “I know they’ve been playing good basketball all season and they played Mercer tight last week and they can shoot the ball really well, and they showed that tonight. I thought we did a good job of adjusting at times. Second quarter was a big lift for us when we adjusted and defense picked up a little bit and we got some stops and then we were able to push in transition like we like to do.”

Lincoln posted its first double-digit lead a minute into the third quarter when Trinity Shearer hit a 3-pointer to make it 36-25. The Lady Patriots were up 53-41 at the end of the third and led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before moving on for the win. 

Casey did come back in the fourth quarter to outscore Lincoln 29-19. The Lady Rebels hit eight 3-pointers in the second half.

“A lot of the 3’s they made the third and fourth quarter was because of something we didn’t do,” said McWhorter. “But we did a good job of not getting our head down and turning around and battling back and making sure we scored on the other end.”

Lincoln shot 56.5 percent from the field in the win, connecting on 26 of 46 shot attempts, including five from 3-point range. Lincoln collected 15 points on 17 trips to the foul line while Casey was just 5-for-7 at the line.

Lincoln outrebounded Casey 32-23 led by Wilks, who made it a double-double night by grabbing 10 boards. Shearer had eight rebounds, King had six and Zaria Napier had five.

“I’m proud of the girls. It was a special night, especially for our seniors. Meredith Dennis, too,” said McWhorter. “I don’t want to leave her out even though she doesn’t play. But as a manager she does a lot for me to take things away from me, helping me with laundry, running the clock and helping the girls anytime they need stuff. It’s a really special group.”

******
at Lincoln

Casey 19 6 16 29 – 61
Lincoln 15 16 22 19 – 72

CASEY (22-6) – Gena Cravens 20, Lauren Lee 15, Natalie Duggins 1, Jordy Stephens 14, Myla McGowan 5, Shaylah Wilkey 2, Mackenzie Cundiff 2, Haley Brock 2. 
LINCOLN (21-6) – Emma King 33, Kaitlynn Wilks 16, Maddy Boyle 17, Trinity Shearer 5, Zaria Napier 1.