By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Way back in early November, Southwestern traveled to Stanford for a scrimmage with two-time defending 12th Region champion Lincoln County. On that night, the home standing Lady Patriots won the scrimmage over Southwestern by a large margin.
Those same two squads, who are both favorites to win the region this year, met up on Thursday evening at the Wigwam. This time it was Stephen Butcher and the Southwestern Lady Warriors coming away with a 65-58 victory.
Thanks to a late-game surge, Southwestern was able to come away with the seven-point victory over Lincoln County and up their record to 16-4 on the season.
A lot has changed for Butcher and the Lady Warriors since that scrimmage prior to Thanksgiving, which has the first-year coach excited about what his team can accomplish in the 2013-14 season.
“The girls have more trust in me and I have more trust in them,” told the Lady Warrior coach. “They’ve bought in and believed that playing for each other is more important than playing themselves. They want to be coached and they want to be as good as they can be. We’ve got the team that can make it to Bowling Green.”
Southwestern got out to a hot start in the fourth period thanks to baskets from Destiny Molden and Samantha Fitzgerald. After the back-to-back scores, Lincoln County took a timeout with 5:36 left in the game, a game that Southwestern led, 56-50.
Later in the frame, a lay-up from Tiandra Hocker lessened the Lady Warrior lead to a lone field goal at 58-56 with 2:08 remaining.
With 56 seconds left to play, Fitzgerald knocked down a pair of free-throws to widen the gap to four points at 60-56. Molden hit both of her charity tosses to put Southwestern out front by six points at 62-56 with 41 seconds remaining.
Following a made free-throw from Southwestern’s Brittany Combs, Lincoln County’s Spencer Sims got a lay-up to cut the Lady Warrior lead to 63-58 with 22 ticks left on the clock.
Adison Corder hit a pair of charity tosses with 10 seconds left to play in the game, sealing the deal for Southwestern, who upped their winning streak to six games in a row.
The first-year Lady Warrior coach was thrilled with the way his team played down the stretch against the two-time defending champions of the 12th Region.
“Our kids just refused to back down tonight,” stated Butcher. “I’m super proud of my kids. That’s a game that could have went either way, but we hung in there together and fought it out. I can’t take the credit for that – that’s all them.”
Paced by a 7-point first quarter from Corder, Southwestern, after one quarter in the books, held a 14-9 lead over the Lady Patriots. Hocker tallied 7 of the Lady Patriots’ 9 points in the opening frame.
Lincoln County outscored the Lady Warriors by a margin of 21-16 in the second period to knot the contest up at 30-30 at the intermission. Fitzgerald paved the way for the ‘Blue and Orange’ in the quarter with 7 points.
The Lady Patriots would take their first lead of the game since early in the frame late in the third period, when they took a 47-45 lead over Southwestern. The Lady Warriors would quickly take lead back from Lincoln County after points from Dylana Fothergill and Molden.
After three quarters down, Southwestern held a 52-49 lead over the Lady Patriots.
Hocker led all scorers with a contest-high 21 points. Sims chimed in with 15 points for the Lady Patriots, while Cristin Hall chimed in with 11 points.
Southwestern had four different players reach double figures in the victory. Corder and Fitzgerald both led the charge with 16 points, while Molden has 14 points and Fothergill tallied 13 points.
The Lady Warriors, who are now 16-4 on the year, will return to the hardwood next Thursday evening, when they will travel to Liberty for a match-up with the Casey County Lady Rebels.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter:@GetChili22
LC – 9 21 19 9 – 58
SW – 14 16 22 13 – 65
LINCOLN COUNTY (11-8): Hocker 21, Sims 15, Cr. Hall 11, Lester 5, Honaker 4, King 2.
SOUTHWESTERN (16-4): Corder 16, Fitzgerald 16, Molden 14, Fothergill 13, Combs 4, Latham 2.