Lincoln coach Travis Connor said he expected a different player each game to fill in as the third option behind his top two returning scorers this season. Chloe Cardinal played the role in the Alices opener Saturday, and the sophomore did more than just score.
Maycee Lange and Darrian Carmean combined for 37 points, and Cardinal chipped in 12 points, five rebounds and four assists to push Class 3A No. 10 Lincoln to a 66-40 girls basketball win over Evansville Reitz at Alice Arena.
Lange led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Carmean scored 17 with three assists on 6-of-6 free throw shooting. Victoria Jackson added five points and a game-high 11 boards as seven Alices grabbed at least three rebounds to give the team a 37-19 advantage.
It wasn't a perfect game for Lincoln (1-0), as the Panthers (1-2) outscored the Alices 18-17 in the third quarter after scoring only 12 in the first half, but the margin still never got tighter than 18 after intermission. Lincoln helped itself at the free-throw line, shooting 19-of-25.
“We knew it might be like this coming out of the gate. These November games don't usually look like January and February games, but we don't want them to,” Connor said. “We want to be peaking in late January and in February, and right now we're still finding our rotations and our chemistry. You can practice those things all day long, but until you're playing against another opponent, it's never the same.
“I saw some things I expected to see that I liked, and I saw some other things that didn't carry over from practice like I expected. But you play these games to get it on film and you try to get better at it.”
Lincoln never trailed after scoring the first five points. Cardinal scored buckets to bookend a 13-2 run to close the first period, as her 3-pointer with nine seconds left gave the Alices a 24-10 advantage.
“We've talked about the growth that (Cardinal) has made, length-wise, but also the growth in her game,” Connor said. “She's showing a willingness to go in and get the rebound, and she has an absolute knack for getting to the basket. She has a high ceiling, and she's one of several who we could get a breakout year from.
“(Lange and Carmean) are going to get theirs, but we have at least four others who can put the ball in the basket, and what I like is that it could be any one on a given night.”
Both teams struggled in the second period, combining to shoot 5-of-22 with 15 turnovers, but Lange provided six points and helped the Alices take the margin to 34-12. Connor said his team made more of an effort to get the ball in the post in the third quarter, and Lange responded with six more points. The lead was 51-30 after three. Alyssa Haynes had 10 of her 12 points in the third for Reitz, and Catie Shane also finished with 12.
Carmean scored the first seven in the final stanza, and Lincoln's biggest margin was 61-32. It was a strong finish for Carmean, who struggled in the opening half.
“There was some nervous energy coming out, without a doubt, but that kid's a winner,” Connor said. “Every kid is excited to start their senior year, and we have all kinds of faith in her. She had zero turnovers in the second half after having a few too many in the first, and she steadied the ship.”
Lincoln's junior varsity cruised, 40-27. Morgan Leehy had 19 points, and Faith Fleetwood scored nine.
The Alices host Evansville North at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
LINCOLN 66, EVANSVILLE REITZ 40
Shane (f) 5-8 2-2 12, Compton (f) 2-5 0-0 4, Terry (g) 1-3 0-0 2, Haynes (g) 5-15 0-0 12, Hodge (g) 1-6 0-0 2, Groben 0-3 0-0 0, Beyers 1-3 0-0 2, Effinger 0-2 2-3 2, Cole 1-2 0-2 2, Meuth 0-3 0-0 0, Fitzgerald 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 17-52 4-7 40.
Lange (f) 8-16 3-4 20, Jackson (f) 1-1 3-4 5, Kroeger (g) 2-3 2-2 6, Kramer (g) 1-9 2-2 4, Carmean (g) 4-13 6-6 17, Cardinal 4-7 3-5 12, Sutton 0-0 0-2 0, Fleetwood 0-1 0-0 0, Bottoms 0-0 0-0 0, Leehy 0-0 0-0 0, Grube 0-0 0-0 0, Bochner 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 21-51 19-25 66.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Evansville Reitz |10-2-18-10 — 40
Lincoln |24-10-17-15 — 66
3-pointers: Reitz 2-16 (Haynes 2-5, Hodge 0-3, Groben 0-3, Beyers 0-1, Effinger 0-1, Meuth 0-3), Lincoln 5-16 (Carmean 3-9, Cardinal 1-2, Lange 1-1, Kroeger 0-1, Kramer 0-3). Rebounds: Reitz 19 (Compton 7), Lincoln 37 (Jackson 11). Turnovers: Reitz 22, Lincoln 20. Fouls: Reitz 17, Lincoln 12. JV: Lincoln 40-27.