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Pats complete sweep of Rebels with 68-60 win

STANFORD — The Lincoln County boys basketball team dismantled 45th District rival Boyle County the first time the two teams met on Jan. 17, romping 79-49.

There would be no rout in the rematch.

While Boyle led only briefly in the second quarter Friday night, the Rebels challenged throughout the ballgame, down just 61-58 with 1:21 to play before Lincoln shut the door on Boyle to earn the 68-60 win at J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium.

Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said he never anticipated another blowout when the teams met up again.

“We knew there wouldn’t be,” he said. “They’ve got a really, really good team. They’re really, really well-coached. It’s a great rivalry. One game to the next doesn’t mean anything and records don’t mean anything. It’s a district game and there’s just a lot of respect for what they do. I think that goes mutually both ways, and anytime you get between the lines, it’s a battle.”

“I’m proud of our kids. We told them it was going to be tough, a football game type intensity and it was. We made enough plays to do what we needed to do and I’m proud of our kids and the effort that they made.”

The win completes a district sweep of Boyle for Lincoln, as the Patriots move to 16-6 overall, 3-1 in the district. The Rebels fell to 8-9 overall and are now .500 in district play at 3-3.

The Patriots had three players in double figures in the win, and one of those players accounted for over half of the team’s first 15 points. The Patriots opened the game on a 6-2 run with back-to-back buckets in the paint by Riley Bodner and a jumper by Jaxon Smith. Bodner, who scored 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, had eight of his total points in the first quarter, adding a putback midway through the period then closing the quarter scoring with a tipin as Lincoln posted a 15-13 lead.

Baylor Mattingly, who was 3-for-3 from 3-point range for nine points, bombed in his first 3 in the first and Smith added another bucket.

There were five ties in the game. The first tie came near the end of the first when Luke Sheperson, who had 15 points for Boyle on 7-for-9 shooting, converted on a three-point play to make it 13-13. The other four ties all came in the second quarter.

Shepperson scored the first basket of the second period to knot the game at 15-15, Karson Thompson hit inside with 6:23 showing for a 17-all tie then Sheperson collected another bucket for a 19-19 tie. Owen Barnes scored with 4:32 on the clock to give Boyle its first lead, 21-19, at the 4:32 mark. The final tie, 21-21, came when Elijah Frye, who had 12 points for Lincoln on 5-for-10 shooting, went in for layup.

The Rebels posted their largest lead of the game, 25-21, with 3:30 to play in the first half off baskets by Grant Hotchkiss and Luke Imfeld. But Lincoln would quickly erase the lead, closing the half on an 11-1 scoring run. Frye sparked the run with a 3-pointer then Tramane Alcorn went inside for a bucket to put Lincoln on top to stay, 26-25. Bryston Alcorn and Smith scored a bucket apiece in the closing minute then Smith sank two free throws for a 32-26 halftime lead.

Lincoln led by as many as nine points in the third quarter. Bodner and Frye both went inside for buckets and Bryston added  a free throw toss to make it 37-28 with 5:39 on the clock. The Rebels chipped away at the deficit late in the third, breaking on an 8-2 run. Imfeld opened the run with two free throws then, after a Sheperson bucket, drained a 3-pointer. Barnes capped the run with a free throw for a 42-39 ballgame.

The Patriots pushed their lead back to 47-39 heading into the fourth quarter, though. Frye hit with a little over a minute to play and Smith closed the quarter-scoring with a three-point play.

Smith continued to push down the points early in the final period as Lincoln surged for the largest lead of the night, 11 points. Smith hit two jumpers early in the period and added a free throw before Mattingly went long range to put the Patriots on top 55-44 with 5:01 to play. Imfeld scored a three-point play to get the margin down to double digits only to have Bryston Alcorn nail a 3-pointer for a 58-47 game.

Imfeld followed Alcorn’s 3 with his own trey with 4:04 remaining to get the margin back to single digits, 58-52, and it would remain at single digits until the final buzzer. Barnes scored to get Boyle within 61-58 with 1:21 to go but Lincoln sealed the win with a Mattingly 3 and four Smith free throws.

Both Smith, who led all scorers with a game-high 23 points on 7-for-16 shooting, and Imfeld, who led Boyle with 20 points on 6-for-12 shooting, did most of their scoring in the second half. Smith had 15 second-half points while Imfeld had 17.

“Two pretty good players. They’re great players,” said Jackson. “I like watching Jaxon a little more just because … Imfeld is really good  and I thought we did some good things on him at times. Elijah (Frye) did a really good job on him and made it tough on him to catch the ball.”

Lincoln had the opportunity to widen its lead a little more at the line down the stretch but just went 5-for-8. Overall, the Patriots struggled at the charity stripe, going 11-for-21.

“I think 11-for-21 is not good,” said Jackson. “We shoot them but we’re going to have to do a better job of making those and, hopefully, our kids will come in and do some extra things and get some extra work in and try to improve in that.”

Despite Lincoln having an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, Jackson said he knew Boyle wouldn’t throw in the towel.

“They kept playing. Good teams do and well-coached teams do, and they’re both of those,” he said. “It’s always a battle. “I’m proud of our kids. It’s a good win, a heck of a win … We did some good things. We found a way to win. That’s a district win and a big game for us.”

Lincoln shot 50 percent in the win, going 26-for-52 overall, 5-for-13 from 3.

Boyle shot 51 percent overall, going 21-for-41, 3-for-8 from 3. The Rebels were 15-for-22 at the line.

The Patriots picked up a win on the boards as well, dominating the Rebels 38-20. Lincoln had 15 offensive boards. Boyle had two. Bryston Alcorn led Lincoln with 12 rebounds, seven offensive.

“We had some shots on those rebounds offensively and we couldn’t put the ball back in the basket,” said Jackson. “I thought Bryston Alcorn really did a good job of running plays down, running the ball down and getting some rebounds and giving us second and third shot opportunities.”

At Lincoln Co.

Boyle 13 13 13 21 – 60

Lincoln 15 17 15 21 – 68

BOYLE (8-9, 3-3) – Luke Imfeld 20, Hagan Webb 6, Grant Hotchkiss 8, Owen Barnes 9, Karson Thompson 2, Luke Sheperson 15.

LINCOLN (16-6, 3-1) – Bryston Alcorn 8, Tramane Alcorn 2, Elijah Frye 12, Jaxon Smith 23, Baylor Mattingly 9, Riley Bodner 14.