Dani Kroeger shouldered the offensive load for Lincoln in the first half, and the Alices' third-quarter defense gave them enough cushion to defeat Evansville Central, 54-46, in a Southern Indiana Athletic Conference girls basketball win Wednesday at Alice Arena.
Kroeger had 15 of her team-high 18 points before halftime. Chloe Cardinal notched 11 points and seven rebounds for Lincoln (7-6, 5-3 SIAC), Faith Fleetwood scored eight and Maycee Lange seven. Kroeger added five steals, and Gracie Kramer chipped in four to go with her six points.
Despite allowing the Bears (6-10, 2-5) to whittle a 18-point margin down to eight in the final stanza, it was a quality bounce-back win for the Alices. Prior to Wednesday, they'd dropped five of their previous seven, including a 47-46 Tuesday loss to Loogootee where they squandered multiple chances late.
“It was nice to get a win. We had some moments where we really played good, where all of our players on the court were doing their job on both ends. Then we just run into that spell,” Lincoln coach Tim Young said. “Maycee had a hard time getting on track, but Dani gave us another strong game, and Chloe stepped back into her normal mode. Lots of people stepped up for us. McKinsie Halter and Macy Sexton gave us good minutes off the bench, and we were able to play a few more people.”
The Alices led 42-27 entering the fourth quarter, but the Bears quickly got within 44-32. Fleetwood responded with a 3-pointer, and Kroeger finished off a three-point play to take the lead to 50-32, the biggest of the game.
Amaya Thomas countered with her own three-point play for Central, and it was 52-37 when the Bears scored seven in a row. Fortunately for the Alices, less than a minute remained, though Central did have possession. The teams swapped free throws in the final 17 seconds to account for the final tally.
Thomas finished with 18 points. Lincoln aided the Bears' cause with eight of its 17 turnovers coming in the fourth quarter, and Central helped itself with 10-of-11 free throw shooting in the period to finish 16-of-18.
“(Thomas) was a load, but Chloe did a good job on her until the fourth quarter,” Young said. “This team has so many weapons. I had big hopes, and I haven't followed through with those. But I haven't given up yet. There's a lot of talent, and it's just a matter of if I can get them to mesh together for 32 minutes.”
Lincoln never trailed. Kroeger had eight and Cardinal six in giving the Alices a 16-13 lead after one. Kroeger scored seven in the second, and a Fleetwood 3-pointer rimmed in just before the buzzer to put Lincoln up 30-23 at halftime. The Alices let up just four points in the third period and stretched the lead to 15.
Lincoln's junior varsity (3-9) won, 38-32. Mattye Meadows led the way with 10 points, and Madalynn Grube scored seven.
The Alices close out their SIAC schedule at Evansville North at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
LINCOLN 54, EVANSVILLE CENTRAL 46
Johnson (f) 0-3 0-0 0, White (f) 0-7 1-2 1, Thomas (c) 6-11 7-8 19, Nalley (g) 2-7 0-0 5, McAlister (g) 1-2 4-4 6, Laine 2-4 2-2 8, Lovell 1-2 0-0 3, Vallee 1-2 2-2 4. Totals: 13-38 16-18 46.
Lange (f) 3-10 1-1 7, Cardinal (f) 5-13 1-3 11, Kramer (g) 1-2 3-4 6, Kroeger (g) 6-14 4-6 18, Fleetwood (g) 3-5 0-0 8, Halter 1-3 0-0 2, Grube 0-0 0-0 0, Sexton 1-1 0-0 2, Hartley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-48 9-14 54.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Evansville Central |13-10-4-19 — 46
Lincoln |16-14-12-12 — 54
3-pointers: Central 4-14 (Laine 2-3, Lovell 1-1, Nalley 1-6, Johnson 0-2, White 0-2), Lincoln 5-17 (Fleetwood 2-2, Kroeger 2-7, Kramer 1-1, Cardinal 0-5, Lange 0-2). Rebounds: Central 24 (Thomas 7), Lincoln 20 (Cardinal 7). Turnovers: Central 24, Lincoln 17. Fouls: Central 13, Lincoln 14. Fouled out: Lange. JV: Lincoln 38-32.