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Pats overcome 14-point deficit to win in OT

NICHOLASVILLE — The Lincoln County High School boys’ basketball team got off to a slow start on the road at West Jessamine, and it looked like the Patriots were going to not only lose to the Colts, but at the outset it appeared that they were going to get blown out.

But the Patriots would not get blown out or beaten. Despite falling behind by as many as 14 points in the first half, Lincoln remained resilient and rallied for a 67-59 overtime win.

“They played harder than we did early. They attacked us and had us on our heels. We didn’t do a lot of things like we wanted to do,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “I’m real happy about the way the kids kept fighting to get the win. It’s a big win for us and I’m proud of our kids.”

It was certainly a tale of two halves. The No. 13 Patriots went just 6-for-23 from the field in the first 16 minutes, with eight turnovers, scoring 18 points while the Colts posted a 12-6 first-quarter lead and a 30-18 halftime advantage. Lincoln, which finished at 42 percent overall (21-for-50), found its footing against West in the second half, however, going 61 percent from the field (14-for-23) to tie the game at 55-all and force overtime. 

Lincoln scored only one basket in the overtime period, but the 3-pointer by Baylor Mattingly gave the Patriots a 60-56 lead then the team sank 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute of the extra period to ice the win.

“I thought our kids really responded down the stretch,” Jackson said. “We were down 12 (at the half). We told them to cut it in half going into the fourth and we did (42-39). We did some good things. We didn’t quit. We competed.”

Jaxon Smith scored a game-high 29 points in the win, including 22 second-half points. He was 7-for-18 from the field and 13-for-16 at the foul line. He also had six rebounds. Smith led a trio of double-digit scorers. Bryston Alcorn went 6-for-10 from the field, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range, to finish with 19 points and Elijah Frye added 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Alcorn and Frye both had four rebounds.

Alcorn scored all of Lincoln’s six first-quarter points, draining two 3-pointers. West also hit two 3-pointers in the period. DeAjuan Stepp, who led the Colts with 25 points on 10-for-29 shooting and 12 rebounds, connected on one of the 3’s as West posted a 12-6 lead in the opening frame.

Clayton Winter, who scored four points for West in the first quarter, converted on a three-point play to open the second quarter then Stepp followed with a bucket off a turnover for the Colts’ first double-digit lead, 17-6, with 6:15 left in the first half.

Cruise Wilson and Smith both hit from 3-point range to get Lincoln within 19-12 midway through the second quarter only to have West break on a 9-2 run to post the game’s largest lead. Winter, who finished with 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting and 10 rebounds, ignited the run with a bucket. Stepp added two field goals in the run then sank two free throws with 1:30 left in the half to make it 28-14.

The Colts (3-4) took a 30-18 lead into the break.

Lincoln put together an early run to start the second half to cut the deficit to single digits. Riley Bodner, who led Lincoln on the glass with 12 rebounds, hit inside off an Alcorn assist to kick off the 7-2 run. Smith followed with a drive inside for a bucket before Alcorn rang up a 3 for a 32-25 margin.

West managed to retake a double-digit lead, 38-27, off two Stepp buckets and a Winter basket. But Lincoln would answer with a 12-4 scoring surge to pull within 42-39 going into the fourth quarter. Smith scored eight points in the run and Frye had four.

Nate Breeden, who had 11 points for West on 4-for-9 shooting, pushed the Colts’ lead back to 45-39 with a quarter-opening 3-pointer in the fourth. Alcorn would match Breeden by bombing in his fourth 3 of the game and Frye followed with a layup to make it 45-44. After a Jackson Green free-throw toss, Smith hit his second 3-pointer to deadlock the game at 47 then Frye drove inside for a layup for Lincoln’s first lead, 49-47 with 4:49 left in regulation.

Stepp and Breeden responded with back-to-back buckets and Green added two free throws to edge West up 53-49 with 1:06 on the clock. An Alcorn 3-pointer and layup nosed Lincoln back up 54-53 but Stepp would step to the foul line for two free throws and a 55-54 Colt lead with 22 seconds left in the fourth.

Lincoln had the opportunity for the win with Smith going to the line for two free throws with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock. Smith sank the first shot to tie the game but the second shot would not fall, sending the game into overtime.

Smith opened the overtime period with two free throws and Lincoln never trailed again. After Mattingly’s 3-pointer, Frye sank a free throw and Smith added six more for the 67-59 final.

“This is a hard place to play. It’s a great place to play. I love coming up here,” said Jackson. “Damon (Kelley) does a heck of a job with his team and the atmosphere and cheering section is always good. It’s a hard place to play. They’ve got a good team and our region is so good.”

“This was a big win. We’ve just got to keep working,” he added. “I thought Cruise came in and played well for us tonight and got some good minutes. We’re trying to create a little bit more depth as we go and trying to do some things better. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and February. I just hope we can stay healthy and keep working and keep improving.”

*****

At West Jessamine

Lincoln 6 12 21 16 12 – 67

West Jess. 12 18 12 13 4 – 59

LINCOLN (5-0) – Bryston Alcorn 19, Elijah Frye 11, Jaxon Smith 29, Baylor Mattingly 3, Cruise Wilson 3, Riley Bodner 2.

WEST JESSAMINE (3-4) – Jackson Green 6, DeAjuan Stepp 25, Landon Pugh 2, Daniel Waters 4, Nate Breeden 11, Clayton Winter 11.