One of the best seasons in recent years ended on a tough note for the Lincoln County High School girls basketball team.
The Lady Lynx suffered a heartbreaking 44-39 overtime loss to the White Pine Bobcats in the Class 2A state finals in Reno. Even so, it was an excellent season for the Lady Lynx who posted a 25-4 overall record and didn’t lose a league game in the regular season, going 16-0.
“It was a huge season,” head coach Duane Wadsworth said. “I love my girls. I’m proud of them, and I consider our team the state champions too.”
He added, “They went out and played 110%. Sad it has to end that way, but it was a good learning experience, and I can’t wait for next season.”
The team graduates three seniors: forward Brooklyn Hafen, guard Kailey Kelley, and guard Brynlee Wadsworth, who was the only Lincoln player in double figures, scoring 19 in the championship game. Those players will be missed, but the team should have a lot of talent returning next season.
It was a hard-fought game throughout, with both teams making runs.
White Pine struck first and took a 12-10 lead into the second quarter. Then the Lady Lynx defense stepped up and held White Pine to two points in the period. Junior Kendra Mathews added a few points with foul shots. Wadsworth intercepted a pass and landed and fast break layup. Freshman Sadie Soderborg hit a three and Wadsworth did soon after, and Lincoln pulled ahead 21-14 at halftime
In the third quarter it was then White Pine’s turn to fight back and the Bobcats took the lead by one point, 26-25.
Wadsworth started the fourth quarter with a 3-point play. Kelley made a layup, pulling the Lynx ahead 31-30.
Wadsworth later made three foul shots, putting Lincoln ahead 34-31 with just seconds left in the fourth. White Pine’s Madison Rick then sank a 3-point play to tie the game.
In overtime, White Pine was rejuvenated, and Lincoln couldn’t catch a break. The Lady Lynx gave it their all, but came up short.
“Obviously, we didn’t want it to end the way it did,” Wadsworth said. “White Pine is a good team. We didn’t do what we should’ve in overtime. They all did good, but White Pine was just taller, bigger, stronger girls. We missed a few easy shots. We should’ve gotten a few more rebounds towards the end. But you can’t just look at that one game; you have to look at our overall season.”
To make it to the state finals, Lincoln County defeated a tough Battle Mountain team in the semifinals, 52-42. They were equal teams, leading up to an intense game.
Early on, Battle Mountain immediately took the lead due to turnovers on Lincoln’s end. Then, Wadsworth drove and landed two points to end the Longhorn’s scoring streak.
An assist from Kelley to Hafen resulted in a layup and Hafen made the foul shot that came after.
Later, as a pile up of girls fought for a rebound, Hafen picked up the loose ball and took it all the way on a fast break, making the layup. Lincoln tried to slow Battle Mountain down, but they gained a lead due to the Lynx having a hard time holding onto the ball.
The score at the end of the first was 16-9, Longhorns.
The Lady Lynx picked up their defense in the second quarter, including a strong effort by forward Kylee Cameron who came off the bench and made a big impact. Lincoln cut Battle Mountain’s lead to four points and outscored them by three points.
The score at the half was 22-18, Longhorns.
The second half went much better for the Lady Lynx. On the first play, Hafen was fouled and made her two foul shots. Back on offense, Wadsworth fought through the defense and passed the ball off to Kelley, who made a 2-point shot, followed by a 3-pointer right after.
Every time Lincoln was on their side of the court, they scored. Mathews, surrounded by Longhorns, went up and made a layup. Kelley buried a jump shot. Despite the run Lincoln had, Battle Mountain managed to keep a two point lead, 34-32.
Mathews’ foul shots were big in the second half and sealed the deal in the fourth quarter. Lincoln needed every point they could to get the lead and that was what Mathews did, missing only one 1 of 8 foul shots the entire game.
Mathews made a layup and Wadsworth drove right after to add to it. Freshman Sadie Soderborg stole the ball and Hafen made another two points off it. Soderborg also made some vital foul shots. Wadsworth got a hard swat to prevent Longhorns from scoring.
The Lady Lynx had taken the lead and Battle Mountain seemed to know it was over.
“I thought we did real good in our defense,” Wadsworth said. “Their point guard was very good, and we played good defense on her. We rebounded the ball good. It helped us weather the storm. They got a run on us, but we got back in the game by playing defense. Overall, it was just a huge win. I thought our girls did an awesome job. They played hard.”
Hafen and Mathews both had 16.