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Patriots overcome slow start to beat Garrard 65-31

LANCASTER — The Lincoln County boys basketball team overcame a slow start at Garrard County to earn its second 45th District win.

The Patriots (13-5, 2-1 45th District) started slow offensively Tuesday night at Garrard, failing to reach double figures for the first 10 minutes, 45 seconds of the game. The shots weren’t falling early, but Lincoln got a hot hand midway through the second quarter to take a 20-13 halftime lead and rode the momentum to a 65-31 win over the host Lions.

Lincoln, which started 3-for-14 from the field, went 5-for-9 in the final 5:15 of the second quarter to turn an 11-8 deficit into a seven-point lead at the break. The Patriots came back out the second half and connected on 55 percent of their shots (16-for-29) and outscored the Lions 45-18 over the third and fourth quarters to earn the decisive win. Lincoln finished at 46 percent (24-for-52).

“We got off to a slow start, and their defense had something to do with that,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “We had some good looks at the basket, though, it just didn’t go in early. Then we kind of got some transition baskets and was able to get some good looks in transition and some easy baskets. Those you have to have in big district games. And this was a big game for us. It’s a very, very tough place to play. I was real proud of the kids and the effort they gave tonight.”

Elijah Frye led a trio of Patriots with double figures, scoring a game-high 17 points. Jaxon Smith hit double digits with 14 points and Bryston Alcorn scored 13 points.

Neither team shot well early in the game. Hudson Cornett, who led Garrard with 10 points, led off the night’s scoring, bombing in a 3-pointer 56 seconds in. Lincoln wouldn’t answer until the 5:53 mark when Alcorn drove inside for a bucket. It would be another two and a half minutes before another shot fell. Brandon Brooks ended the scoring drought for Garrard then Brayden Sebastian and Cornett followed with a bucket apiece to up the Lion lead to 9-4. Sandwiched in between the three buckets were two Frye free throws.

Lincoln’s streak of nearly five minutes without a field goal came to an end with 1:06 left in the first when Riley Bodner moved into the paint for a basket to make it 9-6. Garrard led 11-6 at the end of the first, with Sebastian also hitting inside.

Garrard (3-13, 0-2) could not get anything going offensively in the second quarter. The Lions’ shooting game hit the deep freeze in the period, with just one of 12 shot attempts falling. Lincoln’s Frye scored a bucket off an inbounds pass then followed with a layup to get Lincoln within 11-10 before Brooks hit Garrard’s lone bucket of the second to make it 13-10.

The final 4:18 of the second quarter would be all Lincoln, as the Patriots closed the first half on a 10-0 run. Smith sparked the run with six straight points. He went inside for a basket to open the run and put the margin back to one, 13-12. He followed with two free throws to put Lincoln on top for good, 14-13, then scored on a putback. Frye and Bodner each tallied a bucket in the final 1:44 for a 20-13 Pat lead at the break.

The scoring surge would not end with the 10-0 second-quarter run. The Patriots extended their offensive blitz to 25-4 in the third quarter, outscoring the Lions 15-4 to push their lead to 35-17. Frye and Alcorn had five points apiece in the run.

Lincoln, which led 38-23 at the end of the third, erased any chance of a Garrard comeback in the fourth quarter by burning the nets for 27 points while holding the Lions to eight points. The Patriots bombed in five 3-point goals in the final frame, with Alcorn going long range for two treys and Frye, Mattingly and Colin Green each hitting one 3-pointer. Green’s trey capped the night’s scoring for the 65-31 final.

“I’m proud of our kids for the effort that they gave and the resiliency they showed tonight,” said Jackson. “I thought we defended really, really well tonight and did some good things. You have to guard to win and I thought, overall, we did a really, really good job defensively tonight.”

Throughout Tuesday’s game, disgruntled fans could be heard yelling, “Where’s the foul?” as they watched Lincoln and Garrard constantly beating and banging on each other on the floor. Jackson says that just comes with the territory.

“It’s a district game and district games are always very physical,” he said. “That’s part of it. You’ve just got to stay strong, keep your composure and play the game and do the best you can do and see what happens.”

Garrard shot 26 percent from the field overall, going 12-for-46. The Lions were 4-for-5 at the foul line.

Lincoln was 10-for-18 at the free throw line.

At Garrard Co.

Lincoln 6 14 18 27 – 65

Garrard 11 2 10 8 – 31

LINCOLN (13-5, 2-1) – Bryston Alcorn 13, Tramane Alcorn 2, Elijah Frye 17, Jaxon Smith 14, Baylor Mattingly 3, Brady Weaver 2, Clayton Davis 1, Preston Durham 2, Colin Green 3, Riley Bodner 8.

GARRARD (3-13, 0-2) – Ian Alcorn 2, Trevor Holman 3, Hudson Cornett 10, Brayden Sebastian 7, Brandon Brooks 6, Montavin Quisenberry 1, Ethan Wall 2.