Lincoln County basketball coach Duane Wadsworth has noticed his team coming out a bit slow in games this season.
The latest evidence was Saturday in the Class 2A Southern Region final against Needles at Del Sol when the Lynx missed their first five shots, committed three turnovers and fell behind by four points.
However, once the Lynx settled down, it was all Lincoln County.
Powered by the play of Wadsworth’s senior daughter, Brynlee, Lincoln County scored 19 consecutive points and never looked back in taking a 49-33 victory over Needles.
It was the Lynx’s third win over the Mustangs this season, and a fourth matchup might be on the horizon. Both teams qualified for the state tournament, which begins Friday in Reno.
Lincoln County (24-3) has won 14 straight games.
After the slow start, Lincoln County made five straight field goals — including 3-pointers by Wadsworth and Sadie Soderborg, as the Lynx enjoyed a 16-4 lead after one quarter.
“I can’t figure out why we start slow at times,” said Duane Wadsworth. “It might take a bit, but we find a way to lock in. Our job today was simple, to stop their top scorers.”
Wadsworth was speaking of the sister duo of Preslee and Paige Murch, who combined for 36 points in the Mustangs’ semifinal win Friday.
In the first half, each had just one field goal, with Preslee Murch hitting a 3-poninter at the halftime horn, cutting the Needles’ deficit to 23-13 at the break.
“You have to know where they are at all times,” said Wadsworth. “If you lose sight of them, they can put points up in a hurry.”
Paige Murch spearheaded the Needles charge to open the third quarter, with four baskets during a 9-3 Mustang run, as Needles was within 26-22 at the 3:30 mark of the period.
But the Lynx went to their biggest weapon, and Brynlee Wadsworth delivered.
Wadsworth scored six of her team’s next eight points, including a trey that banked in from the right corner, and Lincoln County pushed the lead to 34-22 after three quarters.
“I’m proud of the way we responded after they (Needles) made that run,” said Duane Wadsworth, whose team is back on the state stage after a four-year absence. “This is certainly a big win for us, but we are back at 0-0 and we must take things one game at a time.”
Brooklyn Hafen added 10 points and three steals for Lincoln County, which hasn’t lost a game since December 30.
Paige Murch led the Mustangs (21-10) with 13 points, and Jasmine Mejia scored nine.