Lincoln girls overcome slow start; roll Rock 66-47

Published 10:24 am Friday, December 7, 2018

MT. VERNON — The Lincoln County High School girls basketball team got off to a slow start on Friday night, but found its footing before the first quarter ended and went on to beat Rockcastle County on the road 66-47.

The Lady Patriots struggled to get their offense going at the start of the contest, missing nine of their first 10 field goal attempts, however, they broke on a 14-4 scoring run in the final 3 minutes, 55 seconds of the first quarter to open up a 14-8 lead.

Lincoln used a 24-13 second-quarter surge to further distance itself from Rockcastle and never looked back, leading by as many as 24 points in the second half before posting the win.

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‘We did have a cold start. I kind of expected that a little bit,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “It’s the first game and you’re on the road.”

The Lincoln mentor said that the Lady Patriots may also have been feeling the pressure of being ranked as one of the top teams in the state, No. 6 in the preseason polls.

“Kids are kids. They’ve heard all the hype and they want to play well. They know that there’s a mark on their back that everybody’s talking about,” McWhorter said. “And I just told them in the locker room, ‘You just come out and play basketball. Don’t worry about outside factors. Don’t worry about the talk. Don’t worry about what you’re hearing.’”

McWhorter’s one regret in that statement was that she made it at the half.

“I should have told them at the start,” she said. “I wanted to see how we would respond and come out. They can’t get so caught up in the outside hype and the talk. The community – we love their support and we know there’s high expectations.”

“I just think they came out tense tonight. Wanting to please everybody. Wanting to show everybody what we are capable of. But they were too tight trying to do too many things right.”

Rockcastle (0-2), which also struggled from the field early, going 2-for-8, took advantage of Lincoln’s slow start to open up a 4-0 lead. Casey Coleman, who led the Lady Rockets with 10 points, hit inside to open the game scoring at the 6:54 mark and Shelby Newland added a bucket with 5:02 still to go in the first.

Lincoln (1-0) would not score its first goal until the 3:55 mark of the first, with Trinity Shearer draining a 3-pointer to ignite the team’s 14-4 run. Kaitlynn Wilks, who double-doubled with 16 points and 11 rebounds, followed the Shearer trey with two free throws before Emma King, who had a game-high 23 points, nailed back-to-back goals, including a 3-pointer, to put the Lady Patriots in front for good, 10-6.

Zaria Napier and Anna Lane closed out the run with a bucket apiece for a 14-8 margin. Rockcastle’s Hallie Brown hit at the buzzer to make it a 14-10 ballgame.

The Lady Patriots led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, using an 8-0 run to post its first double-digit lead. Shearer kick started the run with a bucket in the paint, King followed with a bucket off a Maddy Boyle assist and Napier and Wilks converted on four straight free throws to cushion the Lincoln lead to 32-18. Boyle hit a buzzer-beater for the half’s largest lead 38-23.

Shearer drained her second 3-pointer of the game midway through the third quarter for Lincoln’s biggest lead of the game, 50-26.

Lincoln outscored Rockcastle 28-24 in the second half to earn the easy win.

“We just didn’t play the way we know we are capable of playing,” said McWhorter. “It’s frustrating when you’re out there and you know what you’re individually capable of and it’s not happening for you. And then, as a team, we know what we’re capable of, and it’s not coming together and things aren’t gelling.”

“It’s the first game of the year. It’s the end of November. We’ll evaluate this and watch it on film. We’ll learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward and learn to do the things that we need to do better better next time.”

At Rockcastle Co.
Lincoln 14 24 14 14 – 66
Rockcastle 10 13 12 12 – 47

LINCOLN (1-0) – Emma King 23, Kaitlynn Wilks 16, Maddy Boyle 7, Trinity Shearer 8, Zaria Napier 6, Anna Lane 3, Haleigh Releford 3.
ROCKCASTLE (0-2) – Shelby Newland 6, Casey Coleman 10, Kenzi Himes 6, Emma Bullens 1, Kassi Lay 3, Lindsey Jones 6, Keelee King 4, Hallie Brown 6, Bailee Allen 5.