Lincoln stays perfect as teams head into Christmas

Published 11:19 pm Friday, December 20, 2019

As teams around the area head into the weekend of Christmas tournaments, Lincoln County remains atop the region with a perfect 5-0 record.

This week, the Patriots earned two wins over South Laurel at Madison Central and over a regional opponent at West Jessamine.

Jaxon Smith, Elijah Frye and Bryston Alcorn have been the team’s leaders in points, all averaging over 10 points per game, with Smith and Frye averaging 15.2 and 14.6 points, respectively. The Patriots would stay unbeaten when they took down Marion County Friday night.

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A shorthanded Boyle County split its home games this week — taking one over Rockcastle County before dropping the regional match against the top 46th district team, East Jessamine — to go to 3-2 on the year.

Missing two starters — Grant Hotchkiss and Luke Sheperson — to illness, the Rebels got two big performances from sophomore Hagan Webb this week in the form of two double digit nights — including Thursday night’s team leading 13.

“We just got out played all the way around,” coach Dennie Webb said after the East Jessamine loss. “That’s what it came down to. I didn’t feel like we were ready to play — we weren’t engaged. It started yesterday and that’s my fault. But we just weren’t ready. Mentally we weren’t there. Simple things we tried to do to stop them that we talked about yesterday, we just didn’t do. It was just not a good night all the way around. Not a lot of positives there.”

The Rebels ramped up the energy in the fourth quarter of that loss, but that’s something that Webb wants to see from the tip.

“I told the guys in there — it’s easy to scrap and get in there when you’re down 15-20 points,” he said. “Then you get in there like ‘Oh we showed out and gave it all we could in the end.’ What’s hard is doing that from the jump. That’s what we didn’t do.

“We got to come ready to pay and compete from the get go. That’s what was so disappointing about tonight was that we didn’t feel like we were ready to compete.”

The Rebels competed Friday night against Lexington Christian. After playing the Eagles to a draw in the first quarter, Boyle came out red hot in the second, outscoring LCA 19-8 in the period to build a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Luke Sheperson finally returned to the court, but only managed three points in his return. Freshman Owen Barnes led the team with 19 points while Luke Imfeld bounced back after an off night Thursday to score 17. 

In its only game of the week, the Admirals went down to Pulaski County and came away with a 76-69 win over Bullitt Central.

Darrian Bell had 16 points and 15 rebounds on the game.

“Thank goodness for Darrian who went to work on the boards.,” Danville coach Ed McKinney said. “He just had a monster game with 16 points and 15 rebounds.  His energy and intensity were as good as they have been all year. He is starting to get in basketball mode and that makes us better all around.”

Danville Christian Academy continues its four-game winning streak to improve to 5-2 on the year. This week, the Warriors took home games over Kentucky School for the Deaf and L.I.G.H.T., the home school team out of Danville. 

After losing a tough game in Danville last Friday, Mercer County has won two straight over 6th region favorites Butler out of Louisville and Model to improve to 3-2 on the year.

Kaelin Drakeford finally was held to single digit points — cutting his run of double-doubles — against Butler, but earned another one against Model, bringing his total to four double-doubles out of five games.

“It was one of those things where we look up — playing the 6th Region favorite — and there’s two minutes left in the third quarter and Kaelin hasn’t scored,” Mercer coach Josh Hamlin said about the Butler game. “He scored his first bucket with under a minute to go in the third and we were right there. It was one of those things where he dominated the glass. He made great decisions and was totally unselfish.”

Monday’s win over Model was also the first game of the season that Dillon Warren got in the game. The senior is making his high school basketball debut this year and had missed the first four games recovering from injury.

“Dillon was doing well in practice — he hadn’t played basketball in years. He woke up one morning with a quad injury and it kind of lingered and he had to miss both scrimmages. When you don’t have the same basketball acumen as some of your teammates because you haven’t played in a while, it’s a learning curve,” Hamlin said. “He’s going to be a difference maker. He routinely leads our team in shooting the basketball — he can really shoot it. He’s really athletic and we look to him to play some sort of a role down toward the end of the season whether that be defensively or making a shot.”

Hamlin also credits the school’s student section, which has been a presence for the Titans not just at their home games, but at some road games — like the game at Danville.

“The student section — that’s one thing — they’ve been great. I had a lot of those kids in class when I first got here. They’ve been tremendous,” he said. “The numbers have been the best we’ve had here. I was really impressed with our crowds.”

Unfortunately for the Titans, they ran into a buzzsaw of a West Jessamine team Friday night. The Colts got on Mercer early, jumping out to an 18-8 lead after the first quarter and held throughout for an 81-65 victory over the Titans.

Burgin earned its first win of the season on Tuesday with a 71-61 victory over Evangel Christian. Before that, Burgin had suffered seven straight losses to start the season.

Garrard County has still struggled to find a win since its season opening win after dropping Tuesday night’s game to McCreary Central, 69-42 and to Atherton 65-60 on Friday. The Golden Lions are still missing star player Brayden Sebastian, who’s been out since the second game of the season.

Casey County remains winless as it heads into the Arby’s/KFC Classic in McCreary Central. The Golden Lions will also be competing in the holiday tournament.

Boyle County won’t play again until Dec. 28 when it takes on Marion County at home.

Danville comes back after the M&W Shootout to host the RW Baird Holiday Hoop Classic starting the day after Christmas. They’ll host Lafayette on the tournament’s first day. Mercer County will also take place in the Admirals’ tournament.

Lincoln County travels to Nicholasville to take on East Jessamine on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. tip.

Casey travels to Alabama to take on Piedmont the day after Christmas. DCA goes on the road to take on Walden on Dec. 27 after the holiday break. Garrard goes to Knox County on Dec. 30 to round out their year.