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DIVISION III GIRLS: Third time a charm for Lincoln County

Lincoln County’s girls basketball team lost only two league games all season, both to Needles by a combined seven points.

So when Lincoln County found out it was facing the Mustangs in the Division III Southern League championship, the Lynx could hardly wait for the opportunity to avenge the losses.

After a slow start by both teams Saturday, the Lynx finally found their groove late and topped the Mustangs, 48-32 at Sunrise Mountain. It’s the third consecutive league tournament title for Lincoln County.

“I’m really proud of the girls,” Lincoln County coach Lori Cheeney said. “They did a good job mentally coming back from two losses to this team, and that was satisfying for them. We really didn’t focus on anything different other than doing things right. We’ve tried doing that all along, but they’re just finally getting it.

“We didn’t want to go into the tournament (in Reno) and face the No. 1 seed right off the bat. We’re right where we want to be going into the state tournament.”

In the game’s first five minutes, the teams combined for just two points and seven turnovers.

Lincoln County (14-4) led 3-2 after one quarter, despite going 0-for-9 from the field.

Jillyn Katschke made the team’s first field goal with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the second quarter and recorded all eight of her points in the first half to give Lincoln County a 18-10 halftime lead.

The Lynx used three consecutive turnovers from Needles (20-8) to start the third quarter on a 7-0 run. Jaycee Wadsworth and Kayla Mathews led the charge, scoring nine of the team’s 12 third-quarter points.

Wadsworth had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Savannah Harr scored the Lynx’s first six points of the fourth quarter to help seal it. Harr led the Lynx with 15 points and had three steals.

“Savannah is young, only a sophomore,” Cheeney said. “We’ve been working really hard on her to help her understand when to go for it and when to run the offense. It’s coming together for her. The offense wasn’t working out, but she saw opportunities to drive, and she took them when she needed to.”

Needles struggled all game long with Lincoln County’s full-court press. The Mustangs finished 11-for-39 (28.2 percent) from the field in the game and had 26 turnovers.

Brenna Chavez had 11 points and six rebounds for the Mustangs, and teammate Demi Limon scored 10.

“They did a great job defensively on us today, bottom line,” Needles coach Manuel Calderon said. “I told the girls as they were coming off the floor, ‘It’s better to have the ugly game today and get it over with.’ (We’ll) regroup Monday and go attack it again next weekend and hope things work out for the best.”

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