Lincoln boys build momentum with win at Danville

Published 3:21 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

As a back-and-forth season nears its end, the Lincoln County boys have no interest in going back.

The Patriots are trying to gather momentum for the coming postseason, and they found some in the fourth quarter Friday when they pulled away from Danville for a 45-36 victory.

The victory was the 10th in the last 13 games for the Patriots, who didn’t get above .500 until midseason but have had more good nights than bad in recent weeks.

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“We’re trying to get on a roll and stay on a roll,” Lincoln center Seth Horton said.

Visiting Lincoln (14-10, 5-3 45th District) had bounced back from back-to-back district losses to Danville Christian and Boyle County with a win over North Laurel earlier in the week, and coach Jeff Jackson said he didn’t want to see his team take a step back so soon after a step forward.

The Patriots avoided a reversal of fortune by closing what had been a tie game on an 11-2 run, and Jackson said it was certainly a step in the right direction.

“We’ve got to keep getting better defense, we’ve got to do a much better job executing our offense and not be standing so much. But we again found a way to do enough positive things to put ourselves in a good position at the end, and I’m really proud of our kids for the effort they gave,” Jackson said.

Much of that effort was put forth on the defensive end, where Lincoln held Danville (5-17, 2-6) to a single field goal in the final five minutes, and defense turned to offense as well.

“We started getting more energy on defense, we pushed the ball more (on offense) and we finally started putting the ball in the hole and started drawing more fouls,” Horton said.

Seth Horton had 14 points and Sawyer Horton and Blade Nuckols had 13 each to lead the Patriots over the Admirals for the second time this season.

This win didn’t come as easily as the first one, a 63-41 Lincoln victory on Jan. 27, and Jackson said he didn’t think it would.

“We told our kids (Danville has) improved tremendously, and they’re playing really hard and they’re doing a lot of good things. … It’s always a battle when you come in here,” he said.

Danville scored the first six points of the second half to go up 26-21 and held the lead through the third quarter, and the game was tied at 34-all after Braidin Baughman’s basket with 5:00 remaining.

But the Patriots scored the next eight points and the Admirals got only two the rest of the way.

“I thought in the fourth quarter, our energy was better and our focus was better defensively,” Jackson said. “Our defense really picked it up a notch.”

Nuckols had six points and Seth Horton had four during the decisive run as Lincoln took control.

Jackson said the Patriots also got a lift from reserve Lane Sergent, who gave them a boost on defense after starting guard Cash Baird got into foul trouble.

Trevarion Paige led Danville with 13 points, but he was held to two points in the final 12 1/2 minutes.

Danville coach Tryston Ford said he saw some positives from the Admirals, and he’s continuing to emphasize those as they prepare for the postseason.

“The biggest thing is the district tournament … so things that happened in December and early in the season are kind of irrelevant now. We’re still practicing, we’re still trying to get better,” Ford said. “We’re improving, so we’ve got to keep going to work.”

Danville had 11 turnovers, down from its total of 18 three days earlier in a loss at Boyle County, and Ford said that number came down as the Admirals took a more deliberate approach on offense.

“We were just trying to focus on being more patient on the offensive end and take better shots and not turn the ball over,” he said.

Lincoln’s Seth Horton and Danville’s Paige each had eight rebounds to lead their teams.

There are two weeks left in the regular season, but this game completed the district schedule for both teams. Lincoln is assured of either the No. 2 or 3 seed in the district tournament – the No. 3 seed will face Kentucky School for the Deaf in the first round before likely playing the No. 2 seed in a semifinal – and Danville is locked into the No. 4 seed.

Girls: Danville 49, Lincoln County 32

Danville (10-13, 4-4) clinched the No. 3 seed for the district tournament by avenging an earlier loss to Lincoln (10-12, 3-5).

Alayah Quisenberry had 15 points and Myla Turner added 13 for the Lady Admirals, who took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and outscored the Lady Patriots 17-5 in the fourth.

Host Danville built on its overtime win over Boyle County earlier in the week by avenging a 54-50 loss to Lincoln on Jan. 27. Mason said after the Boyle win that it was the Lady Admirals’ biggest win to date, but she said this one was even bigger.

“Before the season started, I said if we could get the 2 or 3 seed that I would be happy,” Danville coach Judie Mason said. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but to get both Boyle and Lincoln, who beat us pretty handily the first time, to come back and beat both of them the second time shows improvement in the team.”

Lincoln led 23-21 in the third quarter before a 9-1 Danville run that included three points each by Turner and Nemeah Jackson.

Turner and Quisenberry scored two baskets each as the Lady Admirals added another eight straight points late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to take a 38-27 lead with 4:50 to play, and the margin never went below nine points after that.

Macey Rice had 16 points and Maecey Carrier had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Lincoln, which is locked into the No. 4 seed.

Jackson had nine rebounds and Turner had eight for Danville.

The Lady Admirals defeated Marion County 54-36 on Saturday for its fifth win in six games.