Lincoln’s motto is “Refuse to lose.”
Given the Golden Eagles’ recent success, it’s hard to argue the sentiment.
Coming off a championship in Monroe Central’s holiday girls basketball tournament, Lincoln continued its winning ways Thursday night in the opening round of the Wayne County Tournament. Kristen Meal finished with 10 points, Jordan Bryant with eight points and 15 rebounds and the Golden Eagles pulled away for a 36-28 victory over Northeastern.
Lincoln advances to Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship opposite tonight’s Centerville-Hagerstown winner.
“We just finished as champions last weekend at Monroe Central, and we’re just hungry for another win,” Meal said. “Refuse to lose is what we say.”
Meal bookended the game by scoring Lincoln’s first five points, and its final five.
The junior went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final quarter to seal the win.
“Key rebounds and then those free throws were major,” Meal said. “Everyone came out and played hard tonight.”
Bryant grabbed the bulk of the rebounds, but Karlie Neff helped on the boards as she added six rebounds and eight points. Neff made the first four shots she took.
Haley Hall also added critical back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter. Hall’s treys helped the Golden Eagles turn a four-point halftime lead into a 29-18 advantage heading into the final stanza.
“I knew if we got it (the lead), we could make them play our tempo,” said Lincoln coach John Lewellen.
” … We made the baskets when we had to and kind of stretched it there at the end.”
Ashley Mosley scored nine points to lead Northeastern (6-7), while Stephanie Adams added six points and Hannah Adams finished with five points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
“You have to give credit to the defense they played. They played good, hard-nosed defense,” Northeastern coach Max Adams said of the Golden Eagles. “They didn’t give us much opportunity, and we didn’t take advantage.”
Lincoln (7-5) now has an opportunity to win its first county crown since 2008. That was also the last time Lincoln was in the Wayne County final as the Golden Eagles topped Hagerstown 40-36 that season.
Hagerstown has won the past two county crowns. The Tigers take on Centerville at 6 tonight.
“With this team now, we’re starting to have some success, and starting to see things now,” Lewellen said. “We’ve seen a progression, seeing them get a little bit better each game.
” … Either one of them (Centerville or Hagerstown), … whoever gets there, it’s going to be a tough game.”