A big night from Mariah Cairer lifted Smithton over Lincoln 40-38 in the consolation semifinal of the Kaysinger Conference girls basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
Cairer scored 30 points in the game, including 21 of her team’s 24 points in the second half.
“She’s just a hard worker,” said Smithton coach Amy Tatham. “I know that I can always count on her because she can always pull through.”
Smithton needed all 30 of Cairer’s points. Two of her free throws with 1:13 left put the Lady Tigers ahead 37-34. Sloan Swearngin answered with a layup for the Lady Cardinals, then a steal and another layup with 30 seconds left put Lincoln in the lead 38-37. On the other end, the Lady Tigers passed the ball into Cairer and she hit the basket and a free throw to put Smithton back in front with 23 seconds left.
A pair of Swearngin jumpers put Lincoln ahead 10-6 at the end of a back-and-forth first quarter as Lincoln’s defense succeeded in keeping the ball away from Cairer. But in the second quarter she was able to get a pair of baskets, including one just before the end of the half to put Smithton ahead 16-14.
“We had a lot of deflections, a lot of turnovers,” Tatham said. “As long as Mariah is posting up and has the height and is able to post up and we are able to make smart passes, she is as good as gold.”
More offense from Cairer had Smithton ahead 35-28 early in the fourth quarter before Lincoln got a jumper from Allison Spunaugle, another from Swearngin and a layup from Taylor Sanders to get back into the game.
Paige Bybee led Lincoln with 16 points. Swearngin added 15.
Smithton will face Stover in the consolation final at 5 p.m. Thursday.