By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Less than 24 hours after downing cross-town foe Somerset, Southwestern returned to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon at the Wigwam, hosting Lincoln County.
It was a contest that saw both 12th Region teams go back and forth all-game long, but it was Steve Wright and the Warriors pulling off a 64-55 victory over the Patriots of Lincoln County.
Southwestern ran out to an early first quarter lead over the Patriots, but Jeff Jackson’s club bounced back in the second frame to grab a four-point advantage at the intermission. The Warriors then retook the lead from Lincoln County and went up double digits in the third period, but once again, the Patriots would roar all the way back.
The Warriors would make a late surge, which included a 10-0 run, to earn a nine-point victory over Lincoln County. With the victory, Southwestern moved to their overall record to 18-6 on the season.
Wright was thrilled to see his team pick-up a nice win over the Patriots less than 24 hours after defeating Somerset, 80-45.
“It was a short turn-around for us after a big game for us on Friday night,” began the Warrior hoops coach. “It was kind of what we expected, because I thought this was one of those grind-it-out games. That’s exactly what we did, we grinded it out. It was a good win for us after playing just last night, but we gutted it out.”
After two quick baskets to end the second quarter, the Patriots were able to go into the halftime break with a four-point, 32-28 lead over Southwestern. The Warriors led by as much as nine points in the second frame.
After the intermission, things would be much different, as the Warriors outscored Lincoln County by a total of 20-7 in the third period. Warrior junior David Kapinga opened the frame with a lay-up and then Justin Edwards got two baskets to put Southwestern back out front over the Patriots.
The Warriors would get a huge lift from senior Justin Schulz, who ended the frame with eight straight points, which included two treys. Schulz’s 8-0 run gave the ‘Blue and Orange’ a 48-39 advantage after three quarters.
After leading by 12 points at 52-40 with 6:52 remaining in the contest, Southwestern looked to be in control. The Patriots wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, as Lincoln County used a 12-2 run to cut the Warrior lead down to a mere two points at 54-52.
With only a two-point lead over the Patriots, Southwestern went on a big run of their own, scoring ten consecutive points to run out to a 64-52 advantage over Lincoln County. Kapinga tallied five of the ten points on the run.
Southwestern survived the Patriots by a nine-point margin.
“Lincoln County is a good team,” stated Wright. “If you look at their scores, they play everybody close because of their ball control. They play close with everyone they play because of how well they control the ball. I knew we were in for that today. They’ve got a lot of kids who score a lot, but I thought our defense in the second half was excellent.”
Kapinga led the charge for the Warriors, tallying a game-high 21 points in the win. Sophomore Dylan Gaskin had a big game for the Warriors, tallying 16 points and pulling down a game-high seven rebounds.
Schulz chimed in with eight points, while Edwards had six and Isaiah Collier tallied six.
Lincoln County had four players score in the contest, with Luke Hill’s 19 points being a team-high. Jacob Conway chimed in with 17 points in the loss.
Southwestern (18-6) will play back-to-back road games at Monticello and Wayne County before returning home to the Wigwam on Friday night, when they will face cross-town rival Pulaski County.
LC - 9 23 7 16 - 55
SW - 13 15 20 16 - 64
LINCOLN COUNTY (11-14): Hill 19, Conway 17, Hoover 9, Taylor 9.
SOUTHWESTERN (18-6): Kapinga 21, Gaskin 16, Schulz 8, Isaacs 7, Collier 6, Edwards 6.