Southwestern buzzer-beater thwarts Lincoln’s rally effort; Pats fall 56-55

Published 2:32 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

STANFORD — A devastating last-second buzzer-beater stood between the Lincoln County High School boys’ basketball team and another victory.

Southwestern junior Brayden Sims, who had a game-high 10 rebounds to go with 11 points, got his final grab of the night off a missed free throw by Cole Dyzinger then scored to thwart a comeback effort by the Patriots and give the Warriors the 56-55 win Tuesday at J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium.

Lincoln, which had trailed for 30 of the game’s 32 minutes, appeared to be on course for its 15th win of the season in the closing seconds after having rallied from a 10-point deficit to post a 55-52 lead with just 6.3 seconds to play.

However, that wasn’t the case.

Lincoln, which had missed an opportunity to build on a 54-50 lead seconds earlier by not getting the ball in play in time, fouled Dyzinger on a 3-point shot attempt with just 00.7 showing on the game clock. Dyzinger, who had a game-high 26 points on 9-for-11 shooting, hit the first two free throws to make it 55-54, but missed on the third attempt and Sims was there to score the game-winning shot.

Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson minced no words when recapping the final seconds of the game.

“I’ve done a terrible, terrible injustice to my kids in coaching – not having us understand special situations at the end of the game,” he said. “We didn’t get the ball inbounds. Okay? We foul a 3-point shooter. And, during the timeout (before Dyzinger’s third free-throw shot), we said, ‘free throw block out,’ and I’ve not worked on that enough with them.”

“We didn’t get the ball inbounds. We stood. We didn’t move hard. We didn’t get the timeout called, free throw block out and we foul a 3-point shooter. I’m telling you again. That’s on me. A terrible job. A terrible, terrible job. I’ve got to do a better job coaching our kids and getting them ready for special situations.”

Lincoln (14-10) posted the game’s first lead, 1-0, off a free-throw toss by Jaxon Smith. The Patriots would not lead again until just 1 minute, 10 seconds remained in the game. Blake Smith, who finished with 15 points, connected on a jumper to put Lincoln up 52-50. He then followed with two free throws to cap off an 11-3 run for the Patriots’ largest lead of the night, 54-50.

Elijah Frye, who led Lincoln with 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting, scored 15 of his 22 in the second half to help the Patriots as they rallied from 10-points down only to have Southwestern slam the door on the comeback effort.

Southwestern (11-12) would post its first lead on its first basket of the night, with Dyzinger hitting his first shot less than a minute in and Andrew Smith following with a 3-pointer for a 5-1 lead.

Play remained close through the first and Jaxon Smith, who finished with 12 points, drained Lincoln’s first 3 with 3:06 on the clock to deadlock the game at 7-all. Dyzinger nailed his own 3-pointer late in the period to put the Warriors on top 12-8 before Smith answered to make it 12-10.

The game would be tied twice in the second quarter, with Frye driving inside for the first bucket of the period for a 12-12 tie and Riley Bodner hitting inside as well to make it 14-all. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Dyzinger would break the tie and ignite a 13-3 Warrior run. Sims scored six of his 11 points in the scoring surge. Cameron Pierce closed the run with a bucket in the paint for Southwestern’s largest lead of the game, 27-17.

The Warriors led 40-33 at the half.

Frye tallied 11 points in the third quarter to help whittle the Warrior lead down to four points, closing Lincoln’s scoring with a 3-pointer to make it 37-33. Sims would convert on a three-point play before the horn sounded on the third, though, to give Southwestern a 40-33 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The Patriots were within 44-43 with 5:04 to play after buckets in the paint by Jaxon Smith and Blake Smith, a triple by Blake and a Bodner three-point play.

Dyzinger sank three free throws to make it a 47-43 ballgame before Lincoln answered with its closing run to go up 54-50. Frye had two free throws and a layup in the 11-3 run and Jaxon Smith scored a three-point play before Blake Smith hit his go-ahead bucket and two free throws.

Lincoln shot 44.4 percent from the field in the loss, going 20-for-45 overall, 4-for-15 from 3-point range. The Patriots missed half of their free-throw attempts in the game, 11 of 22, including two misses late, one on a one-and-one situation.

“We’re 11-for-22 from the line and that tells me I didn’t have us ready to play,” said Jackson. “I’m telling you again. That’s on me.

Southwestern shot 44.9 percent from the field, 22-for-49 overall, 4-for-15 from 3. The Warriors were 8-for-12 at the foul line.

Lincoln edged Southwestern 29-28 on the boards, led by Frye and Bodner with seven rebounds apiece.

At Lincoln Co.

S-western 12 15 13 16- 56
Lincoln 10 9 14 22 – 55

SOUTHWESTERN (11-12) – Tanner McKee 6, Cole Dyzinger 26, Andrew Smith 5, Brayden Sims 11, Cameron Pierce 8.

LINCOLN (14-10) – Blake Smith 15, Elijah Frye 22, Jaxon Smith 12, Riley Bodner 6.