By Will Gaines
WELLBORN — When Wellborn’s Devin Machristie finds his shot, you better look out.
Lincoln found that out Thursday when Machristie led Wellborn to a big fourth-quarter surge, which gave the Panthers a 65-46 win over the Golden Bears.
Going into the final quarter both teams were tied at 39, but 11 points and three 3-point shots later, Machristie had Wellborn in complete control of the game.
Wellborn outscored Lincoln 26-7 in the fourth quarter.
“I finally found my shot,” Machristie said. “It felt great when I did. Everybody was behind me cheering me on. It felt great.”
Machristie finished with a game-high 21 points for Wellborn. It was a big night for him, but it almost didn’t happen.
Earlier in the day at school, he cut his finger on his shooting hand while doing some woodworking in his AgriScience class. He played through the injury and had a big night.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” Machristie said.
Wellborn head coach Jordan Angle said Machristie has the ability to be a big weapon for the Panthers.
“Devin is a great kid,” Angle said. “He’s a country boy. He goes out everyday after school and shoots squirrels and comes back for practice all muddy from head to toe. When he gets on the court he’s an unbelievable player. He hustles on defense and if his shot gets hot you better watch out.”
Jordan Montgomery also had a nice night with 12 points. He hit a 3 in the fourth quarter that gave Wellborn a 47-44 lead. He was fouled on the shot and made the ensuing free throw to make the score 48-44. Wellborn then went on a 17-2 run to secure the win.
“That was the kids,” Angle said on the big fourth quarter. “Lincoln called the timeout and we came over and the players said, ‘Let’s go win the game.’”
Eric Johnson finished with 10 points for Wellborn and Kelvin Harris scored five.
Blake Hanson — normally a big-time scorer for the Panthers — only scored seven points, but Angle said he had been sick all day and played through the sickness to help his team.
For Lincoln, Donte Rivers scored 11 points. Brikael Truss had eight points and LJ Carmichael added six.
The win gives Wellborn a 7-7 record. It’s the first time the Panthers have had a .500 record in eight years.
The Panthers will return to the floor Saturday against Piedmont in the first round of the Calhoun County basketball tournament. Wellborn will have to play without Montgomery, who will be taking his official football recruiting visit to Samford this weekend.
“We’ll miss him,” Angle said. “He’s a good player. He’s a third of our offense and he’s arguably the best defensive player we have. Hopefully this win tonight will give us some momentum going into Piedmont.”
Wellborn girls 56, Lincoln 51: The last time Wellborn and Lincoln faced off, Wellborn head coach Shanese Morgan didn’t like what she saw.
The Panthers lost by 14 points and didn’t play the type of defense they needed to win the game.
Thursday Wellborn played much better and as a result beat Lincoln.
Lincoln jumped on Wellborn in the first quarter with a 12-3 lead, but the Panthers battled back to take a 22-21 lead at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, Wellborn took control of the game and led 45-39. Lincoln got back in the game and had a chance to tie it late, but a steal and score from Katessa Carter with 33 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Panthers.
“The last time we lost to them we played bad defense and we weren’t focused and ready to go,” Morgan said. “Today we came out much more focused and tightened up on defense. That’s what won us the game. Our defense really turned the tide for us in the second quarter.”
Vanessa Carter led the Panthers with 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals. She also shot the ball well with four 3-pointers total for the game. Katessa Carter finished with 14 points. Itiana Weatherly had nine points and Aliyah Thrasher added seven.
Lincoln had a big night from Amaz Carmichael, who finished with a game-high 32 points.
Wellborn (12-6) will return to the floor Monday in the Calhoun County basketball tournament. The Panthers will play the winner of Donoho-Ohatchee.