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Lincoln girls surge late to take down Pulaski Co. 54-44

STANFORD — The Lincoln County High School girls basketball team posted its fourth 12th Region win of the season, rebounding from a disappointing loss to 45th District and regional foe Danville with a 54-44 win over Pulaski County Monday night at J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium. 

Lincoln trailed Pulaski for most of the first half, falling behind 17-9 in the first quarter and taking a 30-28 deficit into the half. But the Lady Patriots shut down the Lady Maroons’ offense the second half, holding the visitors to just two field goals in the third and fourth quarters as Lincoln moved on for the win.

“They are a really good team. They’re a scrappy team. They just beat Rock (Rockcastle) last Friday. They shot the ball extremely well against them. Thankfully their shot wasn’t falling tonight,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “But it’s just like I told the girls, we had a lot to do with that tonight. Our length. We moved really well in our defense. We talked much better tonight. And our movement was really, really great. I’m very proud of our girls for their defensive effort and contesting all the shots on the perimeter.”

Pulaski (12-5) shot 43 percent from the field in the first half, going 12-for-28 with five 3-pointers, but shot just 7 percent in the second half, going 2-for-28. Lincoln (8-8) shot 31 percent from the field overall, going 17-for-54 with seven 3-point goals. The Lady Pats finished 13-for-20 at the foul line while the Lady Maroons were 11-for-22

Lincoln was led in the victory by three double-digit scorers. Trinity Shearer paced Lincoln with a game-high 18 points, Haleigh Releford followed with 13 points and Talynne Shearer had a double-double night, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Maddy Dunn, who led Pulaski with 11 points, scored the first two buckets of the game to give the Lady Maroons a 4-1 lead. Trinity Shearer bombed in a 3-pointer with 4:55 to go in the first to spark a 6-1 Lincoln scoring run. She added a free throw toss then Talynne Shearer drove in for a layup and a 7-5 Lady Pat lead.

Pulaski would answer the Lincoln run with its own, outscoring the Lady Patriots 13-2 over the next 2-½ minutes. The run included three 3-pointers, starting with a trey by Caroline Oakes to open the run. Oakes and Dunn followed with a basket apiece before Heidi Thompson and Haylee Ridner struck from behind the arc to put the Lady Maroon lead at 17-9. Lincoln would close out the first-quarter scoring, trimming the Pulaski lead to 17-12 off a Lydia Rice bucket and Releford free throw toss.

Pulaski pushed its lead back to eight points, 20-12, early in the second quarter only to see Lincoln erase the advantage. Trinity Shearer sank two free throws and followed with a 3-pointer to get Lincoln within 20-17. The Lady Pats got as close as one point several times in the second before taking the lead. Releford sank two free throws to make it 22-21, Talynne Shearer drained a 3-pointer for a 25-24 margin and Rice converted on two free throws to make it 27-26. Trinity Shearer put Lincoln back on top, 28-27, with a bucket in the paint with 1:36 left in the half

Unfortunately, Lincoln would not score again in the first half. Pulaski also struggled offensively but did get a 3-pointer from Mollie Wilson before the break to give the Lady Maroons a 30-28 edge.

Both offenses struggled early in the third quarter, with just 1 of 12 shot attempts falling between the two teams. Trinity Shearer had the lone basket, a 3-pointer, in the first 3 minutes, 14 seconds of the second half, to knot the game at 31-all. Talynne Shearer sank a free throw to edge Lincoln ahead 32-31. Pulaski went back ahead 34-32 after a Mollie Wilson free throw and a Dawn Wilson field goal. But back-to-back buckets by Rice and Trinity Shearer put Lincoln on top to stay, 36-34, with 2:36 left in the third quarter.

A three-point play by Trinity Shearer put the Lady Pats up 39-34 but the third would end with Lincoln clinging to a 40-39 lead. The Lady Maroons went 5-for-8 at the foul line in the final 1:14 to make it a one-point ball game.

Lincoln opened up the close game in the fourth quarter, exploding on a 12-1 run. Releford ignited the run with back-to-back 3-pointers, turning the second trey into a four-point play. Trinity Shearer followed with her third 3 of the game and Savannah Robbins hit inside for a 52-40 lead with 3:54 to play. The Lady Patriots’ lead never dropped below double digits the rest of the way.

“I was very pleased. It was a good team win and a great bounce back,” said McWhorter. “I liked how they kept battling. We got down early, then we pulled back. We cut it close or tied, even took the lead, but they took the lead right back. It was tough. There have been moments this season, when we’ve dropped our head or got down or frustrated or things. I’m really pleased with how they battled and the resilience that they showed tonight, and the character that they showed. It was a great overall team win.”

At Lincoln Co.

Pulaski 17 13 9 5 – 44

Lincoln 12 16 12 14 – 54

PULASKI (12-5) – Heidi Thompson 5, Haylee Ridner 5, Dawn Wilson 4, Maddy Dunn 11, Caroline Oakes 6, Mollie Nelson 9, Madelyn Blankenship 4.

LINCOLN (8-8) – Trinity Shearer 18, Haleigh Releford 13, Chloe Ralston 3, Savannah Robbins 2, Haleigh Ellison 1, Talynne Shearer 11, Lydia Rice 6.