By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
MT. STERLING —
Madison Central simply had no answer for Lincoln County’s outside sharpshooters Saturday.
The Patriots hit 10-of-18 three pointers — including one at the end of both the first and third quarters — on their way to a 66-60 victory over the Indians in the Gateway Holiday Classic.
Cameron Thomas and Demarcus George led four Indians in double figures with 12 points each. Sam Jones finished with another double-double, 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Isaiah Johnson added 11 points.
Central fought back from a 13-point deficit inside the final five minutes to get to within striking distance.
Aided by five consecutive misses by the Patriots from the free throw line, the Indians went on an 8-0 run, to get to within 62-57 with just less than a minute to go.
But Lincoln County hit just enough free throws down the stretch to thwart the comeback and hang on for the win.
“They can shoot it and we let them shoot it early,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “Their point guard (Timmy Taylor) controlled the game. We were very timid against him defensively and those guys took advantage of it.”
The game was tight early on, with the lead changing hands 10 times in the first quarter.
A Taylor three pointer in the final seconds gave the Patriots the lead for good at 18-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Lincoln County extended its lead to nine points, 34-25, mid-way through the second quarter, but a basket by Sam Jones and a three pointer by Kirk Humphrey cut it to 36-32.
But once again Taylor nailed a shot, this time with 2.8 seconds left, to put the Patriots on top 38-32 at the half.
Central went on a 6-0 run early in the third quarter to get to within three points — one of three times they did so in the quarter — but they never could get over the hump.
Taylor, as he did on each occasion, righted the ship with a basket for the Patriots, who answered with a 6-0 run of their own and they extended their cushion to 55-48 after three quarters.
Humphrey finished with eight points for the Indians and Coty Alexander added six points and four assists.
Central shot the ball pretty well in the game, going 23-of-49 for 46.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the three point line. They were 9-of-17 for 52.9 percent from the free throw line.
But Lincoln County was deadly from outside all night. The Patriots finished 22-of-45 for 48.9 percent from the field and 10-of-18 for 55.6 percent from behind the arc. They were 12-of-22 from the free throw line.
The Patriots turned the ball over nine times, while the Indians had 14 turnovers in the game.
The Indians out-rebounded the Patriots 34-26.
Central finishes play in the tournament today when they take on Lawrence County at 5:30 p.m.