4-PEAT: Lady Pats roll in district final

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

DANVILLE — For many basketball teams, winning a district championship is a rare occurrence. At Lincoln County, girls basketball titles are not only a goal but an expectation.

For the fourth straight season, the Lady Patriots are the 45th District champions

With Friday’s 79-47 win over Boyle County, Lincoln continues to excel in the district by clinching its 14th championship crown in the last 19 seasons. 

“It’s always a goal to win the 45th District and it has become an expectation,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “We don’t just come here to compete. We come expecting to go home with that trophy, so that we can have that better placement in the region tournament.”

There was never really a doubt about who was going to win Friday’s final, as the Lady Patriots jumped out to an early double-digit lead, which swelled to 31 points at the half and as many as 37 points late in the second half. 

Leading the way for Lincoln in the win was Emma King, who had a game-high 30 points, including 21 points from 3-point range on 7-for-8 shooting. The Lady Patriots (23-6) had two players combining for more points than the Lady Rebels had as a team, with Maddy Boyle swishing the nets for 20 points, including nine from 3-points out.

Three-point shooting would key Lincoln’s explosive start as the Lady Patriots, who finished at 47 percent from the field (31-for-66), bombed in seven of their 12 treys for the game in the opening frame to catapult Lincoln to a 31-9 lead.

King opened the game scoring with a bucket and would finish with 14 points in the period, draining four of her 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the game. Boyle nailed two of her 3’s in the first quarter and Trinity Shearer added her own trey. Boyle and Shearer, as well as Kaitlynn Wilks and Anna Lane added two-point field goals to boost Lincoln’s lead to 22 points. 

Lincoln would outscore Boyle 53-22 over the first two quarters, cushioning its halftime lead with a 22-13 run in the second period. Boyle and King each had eight points, Wilks added four and Lane had two.

“I’m really, really proud of how we started the game tonight,” McWhorter said. “We came in and put our foot down and knocked down shots and moved the ball well. Emma and Maddy were both hot from outside, We got the ball inside to Kait and Trinity was attacking the rim. We just moved the ball really well as a team and that makes it easier for the outside shots to fall.”

Danielle Roney, who finished with 12 points for the Lady Rebels, scored eight of those points in the first half. Gracie Edmiston, who had 13 points, contributed six points in the first half, MaKayla Baker sank four free throws and Lindsey Wren hit a 3-pointer.

Boyle (20-8) never threatened in the second half.

Baker, who led Boyle with 16 points, tallied most of her points in the third quarter, pushing in two 3-pointers and two field goals.

Lincoln posted its biggest lead of the game, 72-37, with 1:40 to go in the third quarter after a King 3 and a Boyle layup.

“I’m really, really pleased with how we started and with the game overall, from start to finish,” McWhorter said. “I was very pleased with how we played tonight.”

Boyle shot a chilly 25 percent from the field on 15-for-61 shooting. The Lady Rebels were 14-for-22 at the foul line.

Lincoln was 5-for-7 at the line.

Friday’s lopsided win gave McWhorter ample opportunity to run her bench – and she did.

“When I put them in I’m being nit-pickey with them because I expect as much from them as I do the first five or six that have been playing the majority of the minutes,” said McWhorter. “Those girls have got to grow up in other areas like boxing out, playing defense and, ‘I make a mistake and hustle back down the floor.’ They are going against the top five in the region every day in practice so they’re getting better. It’s nice to get to put them in in the district championship game and them getting to play and score.”

Now Lincoln prepares for region at home – a region boasting of some mighty talent, including the defending state champion.

“We’ll take it one step at a time,” said McWhorter. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow with the draw. I addressed the team today in second period, saying, ‘We can’t overlook Boyle. We can’t overlook anyone. That we’ve got to take care of business. No matter who is in our bracket.’ We’ve just got to go out and play whoever we get. We will have to play the game to win and it doesn’t matter who’s where. We’re just going to prepare one game at a time, one possession at a time and do what we have to do to beat our next opponent.”

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45th District Tournament
Championship Game

Boyle 9 13 18 7 – 47
Lincoln 31 22 19 7 – 79

BOYLE (20-8) – Danielle Roney 12, Rachel Leath 2, MaKayla Baker 16, Gracie Edmiston 13, Lauren Steinhauer 1, Lindsey Wren 3.
LINCOLN (23-6) – Emma King 30, Kaitlynn Wilks 8, Maddy Boyle 20, Trinity Shearer 8, Zaria Napier 4, Anna Lane 5, Haleigh Releford 2, Savannah Robbins 2.

All-Tournament Team
Olivia Saylor, Garrard Co.; Haylie Kircher, Kentucky School for Deaf; Ivy Turner, Danville; Danielle Roney and Gracie Edmiston, Boyle Co.; Maddy Boyle, Kaitlynn Wilks and Emma King, Lincoln Co.