Patriots fall 67-62 to Cards

Published 10:34 am Friday, December 7, 2018

STANFORD — Lincoln County’s Elijah Frye burned the nets for a game-high 22 points and Blake Smith poured in 19 points Tuesday night against Wayne County, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Patriots dropped their second straight game at home, falling 67-62 in a hard-fought battle.

Lincoln (2-2) jumped out to an 8-3 lead and led throughout the first quarter. But the Cardinals swooped in and bombed in a 3-pointer at the end of the period and scored the first five points of the second period to turn a 15-11 deficit into a 19-15 lead.

And the battle was on.

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The lead would change hands 10 times and there would be six ties before Wayne took the lead for good midway through the third quarter off a 13-2 run. The Cardinals led by 12 points, 59-47, with 5:24 to play but had to stave off a late Lincoln rally that cut the margin to 64-62.

“We lost a tough one,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “We didn’t do a very good job in the third quarter of guarding the ball and they were able to get in the lane a little bit and they shot a high percentage. We didn’t do a very good job of keeping the ball in front of us.”

“I thought we scrapped and played hard and did some things, but we’ve got to learn to execute better.”

Lincoln actually outscored Wayne from the field in the 12th Region battle. The Patriots shot 56.5 percent from the field, going 26-for-46, 7-for-15 from 3-point range, for 59 points, while the Cardinals, who had the advantage percentage-wise at 60 percent, went 24-for-40, 5-for-13 from 3, for 53 points. Wayne would use the foul line to earn the win, though, converting on 14 of 19 trips while Lincoln was just 3-for-9 at the line.

Three of Lincoln’s misses came in the final 2:42 of the game.

“We’ve got to make free throws,” said Jackson. “Darius (Napier) missed a free throw, Blake missed two free throws. We’re 3-for-9 from the line. They’re 14 out of 19. That’s an 11-point swing right there. That’s a big difference in the ball game. We have to make free throws. You can’t go 3-for-9 and lose a close game like we lost tonight.”

A quartet of double-digit scorers led Wayne to the win, with Thomas Spencer leading the way with 17 points, Kameron Gehring following with 16 points, Jadon Pryor picking up 13 points and Aubrey Weaver adding 10 points.

None of those Cardinals would connect in the opening moments of the game, however, as the Patriots opened up an 8-3 lead. Reserve Nathan Burks had Wayne’s lone goal, a 3-pointer. Smith scored Lincoln’s first bucket, driving inside for two, Frye followed with back-to-back buckets before Smith added a layup off a steal for the five-point lead.

Gehring drained a 3-pointer to get Wayne back on the scoreboard and on a 5-0 run. Spencer followed with his first bucket for the game’s first tie, 8-8.
Lincoln led 15-11 late in the first when Gehring hit a 3-pointer to make it 15-14. Then to open the second period, Spencer scored off a turnover to give Wayne its first lead, 16-15.

The two teams traded leads over the remainder of the second quarter, with Sawyer Carrier breaking the final tie of the first half, with a score off a fast break to edge Lincoln ahead 32-30.

Lincoln led 37-34 after a Frye putback and a Smith 3-pointer when Wayne broke on its 13-2 run to go on top to stay. Spencer had seven points in the run and Weaver, Pryor and Burks each had two to put Wayne up 47-39. Frye sank two free throws for Lincoln in the run.

“We don’t do a very good job of guarding the ball,” said Jackson. “We get turned a little bit instead of going straight up. We did a terrible job of denying their high-ball screens, their flex cuts, those curls because we’re not where we’re supposed to be. That’s just a thing we’ve got to continue to work on.”

A Smith 3 got the Pats within 47-45 late in the third but Gehring would close the frame with four straight free throws to make it 51-45. Two free throws were for a foul on Carrier and two more for a technical assessed to the Lincoln bench.

Wayne cushioned its lead to 59-47 in the fourth off two Weaver field goals and a bucket apiece by Spencer and Burks.

Lincoln trailed 62-51 when it made its late-game rally. Smith scored a bucket off a turnover and Jaxon Smith and Frye both nailed 3-pointers before Smith drove in for a layup to get the Pats within 64-61. Napier made it 64-62 by hitting the first of two free throws.

That was as close as Lincoln would get. Burks would go to the foul line for a free throw to push the lead back to 65-62 then, after Lincoln missed a 3-point attempt, Weaver was fouled. He iced the win by sinking two free throws.

“We ran some plays and we got guys shots – and they didn’t shoot them. They were hesitant,” said Jackson. “We’ve got to do a better job of execution – and we will. We’re going to. I promise you that. I love our kids and we’re going to battle. I’m proud of our kids.”

“We’ve got a lot to do to get better and I think we’re making a little progress as we go. We told our kids we want to be ready by February 1.”

Sawyer Carrier will not be playing in Lincoln’s game with Madison Southern at Madison Central Saturday as the senior has been invited to play in the Best of the Bluegrass football game in Elizabethtown.

“That’s an honor to receive the invitation. Not everyone gets an invitation,” said Jackson. “We’re very proud of Sawyer and hope he enjoys the experience.”

at Lincoln Co.
Wayne 14 16 21 16 – 67
Lincoln 15 17 13 17 – 62

WAYNE (2-0) – Kameron Gehring 16, Jadon Pryor 13, Aubrey Weaver 10, Garren Dishman 3, Thomas Spencer 17, Nathan Burks 8.
LINCOLN (2-2) – Bryston Alcorn 3, Bryson Yaden 2, Blake Smith 19, Elijah Frye 22, Darius Napier 1, Jaxon Smith 7, Sawyer Carrier 6, Riley Bodner 2.