Patriots eliminate Garrard in district tournament

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By Mike Marsee
Contributing author

The Lincoln County boys got exactly the kind of start they were looking for.

Lincoln hit the ground running Wednesday night, hitting shots and earning saves and eliminating the risk of his elimination game.

The Patriots raced out the door and kept their feet on the gas as they raced through Garrard County for a 74-52 win in a 45th District Tournament semifinal in Danville.

Lincoln opened up an 11-2 lead in the opening three minutes and then shot 65% from the field in the first half.

“It’s always important to get off to a good start, and I think we did that on both ends of the court and did some good things,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said.

Lincoln (25-7) advanced to the District Finals, where it will face Boyle County at 7 p.m. Friday. The Patriots, who will be looking to win their fourth straight district title, also clinched a spot in next week’s 12th regional tournament.

The Patriots went 8 for 10 from the field in the second quarter and finished the first half 15 for 23. They were still shooting 62 percent (24 for 39) for three quarters before finishing at 53 percent.

“I think we moved the ball well, made the extra pass, and got on the glass a bit and got some backhands,” Jackson said.

Tramane Alcorn went 10 for 12 from the field and scored a game-high 24 points to lead four Patriots in double figures.

Jaxon Smith (5 of 10) scored 17 points, Colton Ralston (6 of 7) had 16 and Evan Smith (4 of 10) had 13.

“They’ve got a lot of guns,” Garrard coach Brandon Cooper said. “They have a lot of kids who can shoot the ball, a lot of kids who can drive the ball.”

Too much for Garrard (14-17), who shot 35% from the field and was passed 35-21.

“They’re going to run errands, and we have to answer them, and we missed a lot of easy buckets every time we tried to answer,” Cooper said. “If you can’t stop them on one side and you struggle to drop the ball on the other side, it’s hard to maintain against teams like that.”

Evan Smith scored five points in the opening salvo and Ralston landed a pair of tough jump shots in the closing minutes of the first half to help Lincoln take a 40-28 lead.

The Golden Lions failed to get things going early in the second half, reducing their deficit to just 10 points. Ralston scored six points and Alcorn and Jaxon Smith had four apiece in a 17-4 run that gave the Patriots their biggest lead at 69-40 with 5:38 left.

Montavin Quisenberry scored 15 points and Ethan Cooper scored 14 for Garrard.

The Lions finished with a losing record for the sixth consecutive year, but Brandon Cooper said they learned a lot this season about what it would take to end that streak.

“We know where our problems are. We hit the weight room in overdrive because we know we have to get a lot stronger,” he said. “I have a lot of young kids who are laid off and ready right now.”

He said it’s also a point of progress for Garrard.
“I know they want to win,” Brandon Cooper said. “That’s the big deal, if you have a group of guys who want to win and are ready to do whatever it takes….and we have a lot of those right now.

Lincoln will return to Danville on Friday for what Jackson said should be a charged atmosphere heading into the title match against Boyle. The Patriots and Rebels made district and regional finals last season, with Lincoln winning the former and Boyle winning the latter.

“It will be a big challenge, and we are looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “It’s always fun when we play them, and I’m sure Friday night will be no different.”

45th District Tournament
In Danville

Semi final
Garrard County 9 28 40 52
Lincoln County 19 40 66 74

GARARD (14-17) — Ethan Cooper 14, Matthew Wall 9, Montavin Quisenberry 15, Mason Sulla 6, Ian Alcorn 2, Jaydon Noe 3, Austin Adams 1, Chase Burkhart 2.
LINCOLN (25-7) — Tramane Alcorn 24, Jaxon Smith 17, Evan Smith 13, Colton Ralston 16, Clayton Davis 4.

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