Prep Basketball: Lincoln boys roll over Mercer 61-40
Jacob Conway of Lincoln County finds himself in a tangle of arms with Mercer County¿s Tommy Craig, left, and Will Hager and with teammate Brandon Pittman (15) as he tries to grabs a defensive rebound during the Patriots' 61-40 victory Friday. (Nancy Leedy)
After being down a quick 3-2, the Patriots put the Titans on their backs with a 28-7 run and never looked back. The Lincoln defense imposed its will in the first three periods, holding Mercer to eight percent shooting (3 for 37) and forcing 18 turnovers en route to the win.
“I thought the first half our defense was really, really good,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “We moved the ball well. Our press was good. We played well and it was a good win. That’s what we were hoping for.”
Mercer coach Brian Britt, whose team was coming off a 60-55 win over Burgin on Thursday, did not get what he was hoping for.
“No. I thought we played a great game (Thursday). It was very intense. We got after it the whole game, and then we come in tonight and we weren’t as aggressive. We didn’t play with as much energy, and it showed,” said Britt. “Lincoln beating us to balls and us not boxing out, us not moving our feet on defense. And we were just a step slow all night long.”
Mercer’s Jordan Duncan answered Luke Hill’s opening bucket with a 3-point goal for Mercer’s only lead of the game, 3-2, less than two minutes in.
However, the Duncan trey would be the only Titan shot to fall in the first half as Lincoln held Mercer to 1-of-20 shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, Lincoln was starting to pull away, beginning with a 10-1 run to end the first quarter. Carl-Lewis Cummins opened the run with a putback, Trent Edgington nailed a 3-pointer and Timmy Taylor took a turnover coast-to-coast before Cummins capped the run with his own trey to make it 12-4.
The Titans’ offense hit the deep freeze in the second quarter, missing 12 straight shots. Mercer’s six second-quarter points all came at the line, with Russell Sims sinking four foul shots and Will Hager two. Overall, Mercer was 10 for 50 from the field, 22 for 27 from the foul line.
Britt said Mercer’s lackluster effort was uncharacteristic of his team.
“It was. That’s one thing that coach Jackson said before the game is that, ‘Man, you guys play hard, you play aggressive and I’m trying to get my guys to play like that.’ Tonight we didn’t,” he said. “I’m not sure if it was the excitement of last night or the physicality of the game last night but, either way, we still have to remain mentally tough and be able to put two games like that back-to-back regardless.”
Mercer couldn’t connect from the field, and the Titans couldn’t stop the Patriots. Lincoln stroked the nets for another 18 points in the second quarter to build a 30-10 halftime cushion.
Hill, Edgington, Taylor, Cummins and Kody Cornelius all had a hand in Lincoln’s second-quarter scoring and were the team’s leading scorers for the night. Hill led Lincoln with 13 points and had four blocked shots; Edgington had 11 points with six assists and five steals; Taylor had nine points with four assists and four steals; Cornelius contributed nine points; and Cummins had eight points with three steals and a team-high seven rebounds.
Lincoln outscored Mercer 19-9 in the third to open up a 49-19 advantage. Edgington, Taylor and Jacob Conway each hit a 3-pointer for Lincoln in the period and Hill and Cornelius both converted on three-point plays.
Lincoln posted its biggest lead of the game, 35 points, midway of the fourth. Cornelius hit back-to-back buckets, Jordan Walls drained a 3-pointer and Pittman followed with a three-point play to make it 59-24.
Mercer would outscore Lincoln the rest of the way, closing play on a 16-2 run. Russell Sims, who led the Titans with a game-high 15 points, had five points in the run, John Ingram had four points, Matt Hamilton, Duncan and Marcus Warren had two points apiece and Hager had one.
Lincoln finished 23 for 54 from inside the 3-point arc and 8 for 27 from three. At the line, Lincoln was 7 for 11.
“This was a good win. We got off to a good start and played well,” Jackson said. “I was real proud of us coming out and doing the things that we needed to do. We’ve just got to try to keep playing as hard as we can.”
Lincoln County 12 30 49 61
Mercer County 4 10 19 40
LINCOLN (15-10) — Trenton Edgington 11, Timmy Taylor 9, Carl-Lewis Cummins 8, Jacob Conway 3, Brandon Pittman 3, Shade Jacobs 2, Jordan Walls 3, Luke Hill 13, Kody Cornelius 9.
MERCER (7-18) — Austin Horn 3, John Ingram 6, Drew Davis 2, Russell Sims 15, Matt Hamilton 2, Jordan Duncan 5, Will Hager 3, Tommy Craig 2, Marcus Warren 2.