Lincoln boys, girls move forward with sweep of Garrard
Published 12:15 pm Friday, January 12, 2024
By Mike Marsee
LANCASTER – The Lincoln County boys and girls took another step forward. Garrard County’s teams did, too, but their steps are a little shorter.
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Progress has come in spurts for the Lincoln teams this season, and it was in evidence Tuesday night as the Patriots and Lady Patriots swept Garrard County for their first 45th District wins.
The Lincoln boys defeated Garrard 62-55 for their fourth win in five games, and the girls ended a run of three losses in four games with a 59-51 victory.
Lincoln County 62, Garrard County 55 – The Patriots fixed their turnover trouble – at least for the time being – and fought through foul trouble to outlast Garrard.
Lincoln (8-8, 1-1 district) led for the final 10:42 but had little margin for error as Garrard remained within reach.
The Patriots committed only four turnovers in the second half and 11 in all after giving the ball up more than 25 times in a loss to Madison Southern on Saturday.
“Our goal is to be under 12,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was a grinder game, it was an ugly game, but we found a way to make things happen to win at the end.”
Garrard was within 54-51 with 2:21 remaining, but Lincoln got stops on the Golden Lions’ next two possessions and scored five straight points to get some breathing room in the final minute.
Three starters scored in double figures for the Patriots, led by Sawyer Robbins with 14 points, but they also got 16 points off the bench from Trevor Miracle (nine), Lane Sergent (five) and Mason Agee (two).
“(They) gave us big minutes tonight, and I’m proud of them for coming in and taking care of things for us and giving us a big boost,” Jackson said.
Lincoln trailed 33-29 in the third quarter before taking the lead for good with a 13-0 run that included seven points from Miracle and four from Blade Nuckols.
That led to another close loss for Garrard (4-12, 0-3), which has become more competitive as the season has progressed but has lost three straight games by seven points or less.
“We have to believe, because we’re right there,” Garrard coach Kasey McRay said. “I mean, we’re progressing. We’re getting better, they’re buying into what we’re teaching them and how we want to play, and we just have to get over the hump and we have to believe that we can get over the hump.”
Jaydon Noe scored 18 points and David Grubbs had 12 and each of them had six rebounds for the Lions, who had 14 turnovers.
“That’s a change from last week when we had 22 and 20 … so we see improvement in taking care of the basketball, rebounding the basketball and just locking in defensively.
“I was proud of their effort and proud of how they played. We just have to be ready to take that next step.”
Nuckols and Sawyer Horton had 12 points each for Lincoln, which went 3-3 against strong fields in Christmas tournaments at Montgomery County and Madison Central.
“We’ve got one kid starting that played last year … and I thought those tournaments were really good for us and helped us. We’ve played a lot of good people, and hopefully it’ll make us better as we continue to go forward.”
Lincoln County 59, Garrard County 51 – The Lady Patriots got back in the win column with the kind of dominating performance on the boards coach Caitlin Hall Parson said they needed.
Lincoln (8-5, 1-1) outrebounded significantly smaller Garrard 41-14, and while the Lady Patriots can’t always win the battle of the boards by such a wide margin, Parson said they way they attacked the glass can serve them well in the future.
“They just went after everything. I haven’t seen them go after that many rebounds the whole time we’ve been playing, so I was very impressed with how my folks played,” Parson said. “We rebounded extremely well, extremely well.”
Maecey Carrier and Gatlynn Lewis had 15 rebounds each for Lincoln. Carrier had seven offensive rebounds and Lewis had six, and the Lady Patriots had 16 offensive boards in all.
“I told them, ‘You can get offensive rebounds,’ and my two posts, that’s exactly what they did. They stepped up big,” Parson said.
Macey Rice scored a season-high 28 points for Lincoln. She scored 13 of the Lady Patriots’ 15 points as they stopped the bleeding after falling 19-7 late in the first quarter.
Lincoln trailed 30-22 at halftime and 38-30 in the third quarter before Rice scored seven points and Carrier scored six in a 15-0 run that gave it control of the game.
“We had more energy, better effort. We started to drive the ball and find the open person instead of settling for jump shots,” Parson said. “I just told them to go out there and have some fun. I felt like they weren’t having fun. Basketball is supposed to be a fun sport.”
It wasn’t quite as much fun for Garrard (6-11, 0-3), which lost for the fourth time in five games, but coach Evan Preston said there were signs of progress in a close loss to a team that beat the Lady Lions by 42, 27 and 16 points last year.
“We’re right there,” Preston said. “It was good to be in a district game and battle, and we’re learning how to win.”
Preston said the Lady Lions have cut down dramatically on their turnovers this season, and he said it’s important for them to value every possession.
“We probably averaged 30 turnovers a game last year, and this year we’re probably around 16, 17. We have to have those because we’re not big enough to get offensive rebounds and get extra possessions,” he said.
Sarah Jennings scored 19 points and Alyssa Burkhart had 17 for Garrard.
Carrier had 16 points and Lewis added 12 for Lincoln.