LINCOLN — Lincoln senior Jaycee Woods scored almost instantly when she stepped on the court with a minute left in the third quarter of Lincoln’s 35-32 loss to Talladega on Wednesday afternoon.
Woods had been relegated to the bench since the middle of the second quarter when she picked up her fourth foul, but the senior was more than ready to make up for the lost time. Woods scored three more times and assisted on a fourth to power an 11-2 run that cut Talladega’s lead down to one point with 2:26 remaining.
“She’s a cheerleader,” Talladega coach Rebecca Williams said. “So guess what she did, she did her job. She got them up, and I could tell with my team their mind went down because they could hear the intensity of the crowd going up. But when you up 10, why are you putting your head down? You never did lose (the) lead. You don’t give it to somebody, and that is what we was getting ready to do.”
Talladega sophomore Trinity Webb only scored once from the field in the final 2.5 minutes, but she managed to sink a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Tigers (4-1) a bit of breathing room.
Lincoln (0-5) got the ball back, but the tying 3-point shot clattered off the rim and out of bounds giving Talladega a chance to run out the clock.
“It was ugly,” Williams said. “But at the end of the day, a win is a win, and I got to remind them of a win is a win.”
What to know
— Woods finished with a team-high 18 points, 11 of which came in the final nine minutes of the game as the senior played with four fouls.
— Talladega seemed poised to put the game away often in the first three quarters, but Lincoln’s defense recorded a number of steals, forced jump balls, grabbed defensive rebounds, and rejected the inbounds pass to keep the game close.
— Webb recorded a team-high 17 points to pace the Tigers. Williams said she expected Lincoln would employ a box-and-one defense on Webb to limit her ability to score. However, Lincoln coach Jessica Butterworth said the Golden Bears didn’t run that hybrid defense as much as they planned, largely because Lincoln senior Jaylah King seemed to hold her own against Webb.
— Butterworth on Woods: “She really knows how to keep the girls going. She just brings a positive impact on the team with her aggression, and it kind of spreads throughout the team.”
— Butterworth on the third quarter: “It definitely is tough when you lose a big key part of your offense and defense, but again I couldn’t say how proud I am of these girls for stepping up in her absence. But her (Woods) picking the girls up and talking to them while they were on the court helped them work through their problems that they were facing without her on the court, because she does create a lot of opportunities for everyone else.”
— Williams on her team's pace at the end of the game: “I’m trying to teach them the clock is your friend, it is not your enemy. Not when you’re winning.”