MATTINGLY’S MOMENT: Sophomore guard leads Pats to win in first career start

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

STANFORD — Baylor Mattingly made the most of his first varsity start by scoring a team-high 18 points to help lead Lincoln County to a 56-46 win over Mercer County in the 12th Region Tournament quarterfinal round Tuesday night at LCHS.

The sophomore guard showed no sign of nerves in his first career start. Mattingly scored all of his points from 3-point range, connecting on 6 of 10 shots from behind the arc. He scored five of those treys in the second half to help the Patriots extend a one-point halftime lead to 15 points as they advanced to the semifinal round.

“Coach (Jeff) Jackson tells me always to be ready, so I just try to get my mind right,” he said. “I came in there and just was ready.”

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And did he know he was on target on 60 percent of his long-range shots?

“I know when it’s going in and when it’s not,” he said.

Mattingly started at shooting guard, replacing point guard Jaxon Smith in the starting lineup, with Smith out for the flu. Blake Smith, Lincoln’s shooting guard moved over to point. Smith also hit double figures in the win, scoring 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting. He was 5-for-7 at the foul line.

“For his first career start, he had a heck of a ballgame,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said of Mattingly. “But he’s been practicing well and playing well in other varsity games and jv games. He had a really, really good game tonight and had a good floor game as well. We tell our kids, ‘You’ve got to be ready because you don’t know when your name s going to be called.’ He stepped up when his name was called and had a big night.”

Lincoln (21-12) played from behind the entire first half, until just 4.3 seconds showed on the clock in the second quarter. Bryson Yaden had just drained a 3-pointer to get the Patriots within 18-17 then Smith stepped to the foul line and sank two free throws to edge them ahead 19-18 at the break.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Jackson. “Anytime you lose a starter, especially your point guard … We had to move Blake. He’s played some point, which was a good thing. He did a really good job of running the team. Baylor plays the two and we got a big lift out of Darius (Napier) and Bryston (Alcorn) and played really well.”

“We knew it was going to be a grinder-type game, and it was. The first half, especially. In the second half, we were able to get some stops and get out in transition a little bit and that frees Baylor up to shoot the 3. They tried to run and jump a little bit and press us and he was able to get some shots. He can shoot the ball.”

Lincoln never trailed in the second half. The Patriots opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 26-18 lead. Smith opened the run with a 3-pointer and Riley Bodner and Elijah Frye had a bucket apiece in the paint to make it an eight-point ballgame.

The Patriots posted their first double-digit lead, 34-24, after two Mattingly 3-pointers late in the third period. Mercer (18-12) would cut into the deficit before the horn sounded on the third, though, with Nathan Tatum draining back-to-back 3’s to make it 34-30 heading into the fourth quarter.

Smith scored the first four points of the fourth quarter off Mercer turnovers to push the Lincoln lead back to 38-30.

Mattingly nailed three of his 3’s midway through the fourth to help Lincoln cushion its lead to 54-39 off a 16-8 scoring run. Bodner had three points in the run and Smith and Frye each had two.

Kaelin Drakeford, who led Mercer with 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting, tallied 13 of those points in the second half as he tried to get the Titans back in the game, but the Patriots would not be denied as they moved on for the win.

“Just a great win. They’re all great right now,” Jackson said. “I’m really proud of our kids. Our defense was really good the second half and we were more active.”

Carter Baughman also scored in double figures for Mercer, finishing with 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Baughman scored his first 3-pointer to open the ballgame. The Titans jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter with Trey Price and Jamisen Lewis each scoring a field goal.

After missing its first five field goal attempts, Lincoln finally connected with 4:53 left in the first quarter. Frye drove inside to score to get the Patriots on the scoreboard. Mattingly followed with his first 3-pointer to get Lincoln as close as 8-6 in the first. Lewis answered with a trey to push Mercer’s lead to 11-6 only to have Smith drain his own triple to make it a two-point, 11-9, ballgame.

Mercer posted its biggest lead with 4:39 to play in the first half. Drakeford scored back-to-back buckets to put the Titans up 16-10.

However, Lincoln would negate the Mercer lead before the half, closing the second quarter on a 9-2 scoring run. Darius Napier kicked off the run with a drive inside, Bryston Alcorn scored off a turnover and Yaden hit the 3-pointer before Smith stepped up to sink two foul shots to put Lincoln in front for good.

Lincoln shot 51.4 percent in the win, connecting on 19 of 37 shot attempts, 9 of 19 from 3-point range. The Patriots were 9-for-16 at the foul line.

Mercer was held to 33 percent shooting, going 14-for-43 from the field, 8-for-21 from 3. The Titans were 10-for-14 at the line.

The Patriots edged the Titans on the glass 26-25, led by Bodner with 11 rebounds. Drakeford had a game-high 16 boards for Mercer.

Lincoln will now play Wayne County in Friday’s semifinal round. Tip off is 8 p.m. The Cardinals advanced with a 59-52 win over Somerset.

12th Region Semifinals
at Lincoln Co.

Mercer 11 7 12 16 – 46
Lincoln 9 10 15 22 – 56

MERCER (18-12) – Jamisen Lewis 5, Carter Baughman 14, Jamason Sherrow 1, Kaelin Drakeford 18, Trey Price 2, Nathan Tatum 6.

LINCOLN (21-12) – Bryston Alcorn 2, Blake Smith 14, Elijah Frye 7, Darius Napier 5, Baylor Mattingly 18, Bryson Yaden 5, Riley Bodner 5.