Lincoln girls growing under new coach

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

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By Mike Marsee

Contributing Writer

Not every day has been a good day, but the good days have certainly outweighed the bad so far this season for Caitlin Hall Parson and the Lincoln County girls.

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The young Lady Patriots have enjoyed some success in the early days of the season, and their first-year coach is hoping to build on that in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, she and her players are growing together, and she said they have been a pleasure to work with.

“I love it,” Parson said. “I love these girls. They would do anything for me and I’d do anything for them. They’re awesome.”

Lincoln won two of its first three games and took a 2-2 record into its game Tuesday at Woodford County.

The Lady Patriots’ 57-21 loss to Danville Christian on Friday was one of the bad days, with a high turnover count and a low rebound total doomed them to defeat in their 45th District opener.

Their play prompted Parson to use the phrase “except for tonight” on more than one occasion as she described what has gone well for Lincoln so far this season and what didn’t go well against DCA.

“Except for tonight, I think our attitude’s completely different than last year, and our effort as well,” she said. “Tonight was not the effort we’ve been playing with, and I’m very disappointed in that.”

Parson said signs of progress have been evident, however. The Lady Patriots pulled out a close win at Lexington Catholic in their season opener and another close one over McCreary Central following a loss to 8th Region power Anderson County.

Some of that progress has been on defense, where Parson said they have done a good job of learning a new scheme.

“We call it our four defense, and they’ve done really well with picking it up,” she said. “We’ve forced other teams into a lot of turnovers. … I like our defense, I like our effort and we’re moving the ball extremely well.”

Parsons, a 2016 Lincoln graduate, is the program’s fourth coach in five seasons but she hopes to bring stability to a team that has had four consecutive losing campaigns.

Lincoln lost two of the top three scorers off last season’s 11-18 team but has three seniors who bring experience and leadership to the top of the roster.

Guard MaKayla Greer has more than doubled her 2022-23 scoring average early this season. She averaged 5.7 points per game last year and is averaging 12.0 points through four games.

Guard Macey Rice has also improved her production – she is up to 11.0 points per game – and forward Elly Sims is another source of scoring at 6.2 per game.

The biggest surprise to date has been the play of junior forward Gatlynn Lewis, who has 21 points and 18 rebounds in 17 games last season and is averaging 10.2 points and 9.2 rebounds this year.

“Last year she barely got to play. I’ve put a lot on her, and her attitude has completely changed,” Parson said. “She’s averaging almost a double-double, and she’s improved a lot.”

Lincoln’s rotation is still a work in progress, and the work will continue as the Lady Patriots play three games in seven days before Christmas break begins, then four games in three days in a pre-Christmas tournament at Bell County before a stretch of 10 days off.

Parson said she hopes that by the time the calendar turns to January the Lady Patriots will be much further along.

“Our turnovers have definitely got to go down. Offensive rebounds, we’ve got to get those … and I’m going to have to get some subs to step up and play better,” Parson said. “I just expect us to have better effort, more energy.”