Whitley loses to Lincoln
Lady Colonels ranked 16th by Max Preps
Whitley County's Taylor Dingess puts up a shot against Lincoln County despite no foul called on the play.
In a battle of top 20 teams, the Lincoln County Lady Patriots, ranked 11th according to Max Preps.Com. held off the 16th ranked Whitley County Lady Colonels Monday night at Lawson Gym, 58-55.
The Lady Colonels came out cold in the first quarter and scored just three field goals from the floor. Two were three-pointers by Maria Johnson and Taylor Dingess. Bethany Powers also had a basket in the opening period while Lincoln County scored with ease at times in building a 17-8 lead.
“We haven’t played that way all year,” Whitley County Coach Larry Anderson said. “I don’t know if the girls were too focused and they knew that it was a big match-up between the 12th and 13th region and knew we were both ranked. They pay attention to that and I don’t know if it made us too zoned in or what.”
The Lincoln County full court press caused havoc for the Lady Colonels as Whitley County had trouble getting the ball down the floor. Eight of Lincoln County’s points in the first quarter came off the press. “That is not normal for us. We have three good guards out there and we are used to handling the ball well,” Anderson said. “We were throwing it to them. We were not making the good effort to get by them.”
Lincoln County (13-3) increased their lead to 23-10 early in the second quarter before Whitley County made a little run and cut the lead to nine (29-20) on a three-pointer by Johnson. Kelsi Honaker hit a basket at the buzzer to send the Lady Patriots to the dressing room with a 31-20 lead.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and handled their press well and made lay-ups,” Anderson said.
Indeed the Lady Colonels came out with fire in their eyes as they outscored Lincoln County, 15-4 and came back to tie the game at 35-35. Junior Brandi Smith scored 10 points in the run while Johnson added five points including a three-pointer.
A Whitley County foul allowed Lincoln County to take a three-point lead to the fourth quarter when Sydney Harris nailed three free throws after missing a shot from the corner.
The fourth quarter was a classic between the two teams with the game tied five times. Every time the Lady Patriots took a sizeable lead the Lady Colonels fought back. Down, 46-41 with 2:31 left in the game, Smith connected on a three-point play and Powers got a steal to tie the game 46-46.
The game took a change after Rachel Spangler hit a free throw to put Lincoln County ahead, 49-48. The Lady Colonels missed an opportunity to take the lead on a missed shot. Lincoln County grabbed the rebound and on the trip down the floor, the Whitley County bench was whistled for a technical foul with 1:31 left in the game. The foul cost the Lady Colonels three points as Ciara Saylor hit one-of-two from the line and on the possession Emily Fox was fouled and connected on both free throws for a 52-48 lead.
Whitley County refused to quit as Smith connected on a three-point play with three seconds remaining to pull the Lady Colonels within one, 56-55. The Lady Colonels were forced to foul Saylor with two seconds left. She hit both free throws for the three-point margin. On the inbounds Smith took a half-court shot that hit the backboard and rim nearly going through the net.
Lincoln County won the game at the free throw line, hitting 20-of-25 free throws while Whitley County was 10-of-11 from the line. “We felt like we were on the road tonight to be honest with you,” Anderson said. “We didn’t press all night and they did and we both attack the rim pretty hard. You fight hard and play hard and don’t make excuses and that’s the way I want my kids to play. Once you start making excuses that basically becomes your game.”
The Lady Colonels lost starter Kandace Craig in the first quarter with a broken hand. “She will be out six-to-eight weeks,” Anderson said.
The Lady Colonels will be on the road Friday night when they travel to arch rival Corbin to take on the Lady Redhounds in a district contest. “Both teams will play hard and it will go down to the wire, it usually does. We just have to show up and get after them,” Anderson said.
Lincoln Co. 58, Whitley Co. 55
Lincoln Co. 17 14 7 20- 58
Whitley Co. 8 12 15 20- 55
Lincoln Co. (58) – Fox 16, Saylor 5, Spangler 14, Harris 13, Belcher 6, Gilbert 2, Honaker 2.
Whitley Co. (55) – Powers 8, Smith 25, Johnson 17, Dingless 5, Craig 0.
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