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Big 2nd quarter propels Lady Pats in rout at Garrard

LANCASTER — The Lincoln County girls basketball team got off to a sluggish start at Garrard County Tuesday night.

A 2-for-7 shooting effort to close the first quarter allowed the host Lady Lions to edge ahead of the Lady Patriots 14-12. The lead would be shortlived, however, as Lincoln went on a 5-0 run to open the second quarter then exploded on a 16-1 run midway through the period to blow the game open and set the Lady Patriots on course for the 65-39 45th District victory.

The Lady Patriots (10-8, 3-1 45th District) doubled up their point production in the explosive second quarter, outscoring the Lady Lions 24-5.

“Another very important district win on the road. Definitely more pleased with the margin tonight,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said, comparing the rout to Friday’s 64-45 win at Boyle County. “Big second quarter. We took care of business in the second quarter, holding them to five points. I’m very pleased.”

Haleigh Releford and Trinity Shearer led the Lady Patriots in the breakout second quarter, by scoring 15 of the 24 points in the period. The two guards also led the team scoring, combining for almost as many points (36) as Garrard had as a team (39). Releford led the way with a game-high 20 points. She also had eight assists and six rebounds. Shearer followed close behind with 16 points. She had seven assists.

Releford lit up the scoreboard for half of her total points in the first quarter, pushing through Lincoln’s first four buckets of the game for an 8-7 edge. Nancy Gonzalez pushed Garrard ahead 10-8 with a 3-point goal at the 3:49 mark then, after a Shearer layup, went inside for a bucket to make it 12-10. Releford hit inside with a minute to play to tie the game at 12-all but Carolina Gonzalez scored with eight ticks on the clock to make it 14-12, Garrard.

By the 7:01 mark of the second quarter, the lead had been erased. Ally Lynn scored off an assist by Shearer to open the second to put the game in a 14-14 tie then Lydia Rice sank a free throw shot to put Lincoln on top to stay, 15-14. Releford capped the quarter-opening 5-0 run with a basket to make it 17-14.

Madisyn Neeley, who led Garrard with 13 points, hit inside to get the Lady Lions within 17-16 with 5:22 left in the first half before the Lady Patriots surged with their 16-1 run. Shearer, who opened the run with two free throws, scored half of her 16 points in the run, including three straight baskets late in the run. Releford, Robbins, Rice and Emily Estes scored a bucket apiece in the run, with Estes’ shot in the paint putting Lincoln up 33-17 with 1:45 left in the half.

“It was a tough first quarter,” said McWhorter. “They came out and made some shots. I tried to let our girls play through some adversity there and learn to play with the momentum shift and things and let them play through some things. But it was good to see us bounce back.”

Lincoln took a 36-19 lead into the half then went on to outscore Garrard 29-20 in the second half.

Lincoln shot 50 percent from the field overall, connecting on 27 of 54 shot attempts, 2 of 11 from 3-point range. The Lady Pats were 9-for-13 at the foul line.

Garrard (9-8, 0-2) shot an icy 22 percent overall, going 13-for-58, 3-for-24 from 3. The Lady Lions were 10 of 19 at the line.

The Lady Patriots dominated on the glass, outrebounding Garrard 40-25. McWhorter said Lincoln’s rebounding effort improved in the second half.

“They hurt us on the offensive glass early and we talked about that at halftime,” she said. “They had eight offensive boards at halftime and I think they only finished with 12. So that was a big thing the second half that we keyed on – to not let them have as many offensive boards.”

Lincoln was playing without starting guard Chloe Ralston, who sprained her ankle in the Boyle game. McWhorter said she could possibly play in the Toyota Classic this weekend, but it all depends on the swelling, her pain and movement.

Haleigh Ellison got the start in Ralston’s place Tuesday and McWhorter credited her, and other Lady Patriots, for “stepping up” for the team.

“I thought she (Ellison) did a good job stepping up and getting the start,” she said. “Lyd’s (Rice) coming off the bench and knocking shots down. She’s stepping into that role well. Ally (Lynn) gave some good defensive effort. And it was good to see her 3 go down for her. That’s a confidence boost. Abby’s (Lane) going to come in and scrap for you. And (Emily) Estes came in and had some blocks and deflections. It’s good to see people step up and do some things well.”

At Garrard Co.

Lincoln 12 24 16 13 – 65

Garrard 14 5 9 11 – 39

LINCOLN (10-8, 3-1) – Trinity Shearer 16, Haleigh Releford 20, Savannah Robbins 2, Haleigh Ellison 2, Talynne Shearer 6, Ally Lynn 7, Lydia Rice 4, Katie Carmicle-Shields 2, Emily Estes 4, Payton Boyd 2.

GARRARD (9-8, 0-2) – Carolina Gonzalez 2, Brittany Butner 8, Madisyn Neeley 13, Jade Pevley 3, Nancy Gonzalez 9, Megan Day 2, Alaya Quisenberry 2.