COLE CAMP — The Cole Camp Bluebirds fought off the Lincoln Cardinals on Thursday night to claim their piece of the Kaysinger Conference crown.
Despite the lack of their trademark inside game, the Bluebirds held off the Cardinals for a 36-33 victory.
With the win, the Bluebirds shared the Kaysinger regular-season title with the Cardinals as both teams finished 6-1 in the conference season.
“They were going to make us hit some shots,” said Cole Camp coach Tom Ward. “We wanted to establish an inside game and got some good looks, they just didn’t fall. But I like our kids’ toughness and they never got completely down.”
For the first half of the opening quarter, the rim seemed to be covered with a lid.
Both teams could not get their shots to fall.
Finally, Cole Camp’s Kelsey Weymuth cracked the scoring column for the Bluebirds as he finished down low to give his team the early 4-0 advantage.
Brett Bryant sank a jumper at the 2:40 mark to put Lincoln on the board.
After the initial jitters, both teams settled down and began to hit some shots to close the quarter.
Cole Camp (17-2) took a 12-7 lead into the second quarter.
Cold shooting plagued the two teams again midway through the second.
Lincoln’s Jason Culpepper made a jumper with 1:23 remaining in the half, slicing the Cole Camp lead to 19-16.
Neither team would score in the half again as the quarter came to a close.
“Whatever we decide to do before a game, or a game plan or whatever, these kids will do it,” said Lincoln coach Tim Cunningham.
“Defensively, that’s as well as you can guard Cole Camp. I think they scored 66 the first game, we made a few adjustments and tonight they don’t get out of the 30’s. That’s a sign of a team getting better defensively.”
Lincoln (15-5) forced an unofficial nine turnovers in the first half.
Momentum swung the Cardinals’ way in the third quarter as Lincoln took the lead at the 1:59 mark after a jump shot by Culpepper.
“We made some turnovers in some instances that we haven’t made for the last 10 or 12 games,” said Ward.
It was these turnovers that allowed Lincoln to grab the lead and Lincoln held a 26-23 advantage to start the fourth quarter.
Cole Camp immediately retook the lead at the 5:50 mark after Mac Heimsoth converted in the paint and Weymuth made a basket in the post, giving the Bluebirds a 35-30 lead.
At the 1:12 mark, Cole Camp’s Garrett Gilbert was called with an intentional foul as Bryant was fouled on a layup.
Lincoln only managed a single point off the foul and was unable to hit free throws in the final 58 seconds of the game.
“I thought we executed enough, we got good shots,” said Cunningham. “We just didn’t make them, for whatever reason, they just didn’t go in tonight.”