Pats drop second district game

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019

By Mike Marsee
Contributing writer

STANFORD — It was perhaps the start of a new season for the Boyle County boys, while it was more of the same for Lincoln County.

Boosted by the return of two starters who saw their first action of the season, Boyle rallied in the second half Friday night to defeat Lincoln 51-46.

Reese Smith and Grant Hotchkiss, both of whom had been out with injuries, provided a spark for the reeling Rebels in a battle between two teams looking for their first district win. The two did not start, but both played the majority of the game and they combined for 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The Rebels (5-9, 1-2 45th District) pushed past Lincoln (11-7, 0-2), which led by as many as nine points early in the second half but scored only 12 points in the final 13:51.

Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson cited a number of ways in which Boyle was better than his team in the second half.

“I thought they out-physicaled us, I thought they got every loose basketball. We didn’t do a very good job in our zone defense, we didn’t do a very good job attacking the rim,” Jackson said. “They played better than we did, and they outcoached us. I did not have our kids mentally and physically ready to play, and I’ll take responsibility for that.”

Given what Smith and Hotchkiss brought to the floor, might Friday’s game mark a new beginning for Boyle, which had lost five of its previous six games and faced a challenging early-season schedule with an inexperienced team?

“Yes and no,” Boyle coach Steve Adams said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a long ways to go. The kids we have are good players, and they played hard, they just had no experience, and we didn’t have any experience on the floor to lead them and give them direction. And our schedule didn’t do us any favors.”

While the numbers that Hotchkiss and Smith provided were important to Boyle, Adams said the leadership they brought back to the court was even more so.

“We had some older guys that hadn’t played a whole lot that really didn’t know what to do yet, and we were playing two or three freshmen and a sophomore, and nobody was guiding them. That’s probably what they brought as much as anything – plus their competitive spirit and their will to win,” Adams said.

Smith and Hotchkiss took the floor about 3-1/2 minutes into the game, and their impact was felt right away. They combined for their team’s first nine points as Boyle clawed out of a 7-0 hole.

Smith, who suffered a broken bone in his hand during Boyle’s football season, scored nine of his team’s last 16 points, including five during an 8-1 run midway through the third quarter that lifted the Rebels into the lead. He finished with a team-high 15 points along with three assists in 23 minutes.

Hotchkiss, who suffered a torn labrum at the start of the football season, scored all seven of his points in the first quarter. He also had six rebounds in 20 minutes.

Lincoln led 34-25 before a 17-minute delay to clean numerous drops of blood on the court after Smith suffered a cut. Boyle scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within three.

The Rebels’ 8-1 run in the fourth quarter erased a 43-37 deficit, and they took their first lead since the first half when Luke Imfeld’s 3-pointer put them up 45-44 with 2:30 remaining.

The Patriots missed shots in the paint on their next two trips. Smith hit two free throws with 16 seconds left after Lincoln once more pulled within a point, and Luke Sheperson came up with a steal 10 seconds later, then hit two free throws to seal the win for the Rebels.

Sheperson had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds, Imfeld had seven points and Caleb Jackson had five assists for Boyle, which has won three straight meetings with Lincoln after losing 11 of the previous 12.

Jaxon Smith led Lincoln with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists. Riley Bodner added 10 points and Bryston Alcorn had four assists for the Patriots.

At Lincoln Co.

Boyle 11 14 8 18 – 51
Lincoln 16 13 9 8 – 46

BOYLE (5-9) – Caleb Jackson 4, Luke Sheperson 9, Will Imfeld 6, Luke Imfeld 7, Reese Smith 15, Grant Hotchkiss 7, Hagan Webb 3.

LINCOLN (11-7) – Bryston Alcorn 4, Bryson Yaden 2, Blake Smith 5, Elijah Frye 6, Darius Napier 2, Jaxon Smith 17, Riley Bodner 10.