“We just need to take care of the ball,” Pell City head coach Bill Grant said.” We weren’t guarding very well. We started guarding a little bit, got a few turnovers and we made a few shots. We have some young guys that are trying to learn how to play. It is always good to get a win at home. We are just going through growing pains. They are trying, they are practicing hard and they are playing hard. Our basketball IQ is so low right now and we are learning how to play.”
Grant saw his Panthers outscored Lincoln 22-11 in the fourth quarter. Lincoln led 46-44 going into the fourth.
The Panthers opened the quarter on an 8-0 run. Markiel Buckhanon aggressive play around the basket got the run started. Buckhanon was fouled the first two possessions of the quarter when taking it strong around the rim. The junior nailed all four of his free throw attempts to give Pell City a 48-46 lead with 7:11 left in the game.
Jaylen Lipscomb increased Pell City lead to 51-46 with a 3-pointer.
Lincoln’s Donnie Johnson ended the run with a layup to make it 52-48.Buckhanon and Lipscomb continued to carry the Panthers down the stretch. Buckhannon hit back-to-back layups to give the Panthers a 56-48 advantage with 4:36 left in the game.
Lipscomb hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter from the top of the key give the Panthers an 11-point advantage, 59-48. Senior Julius Debardlabon hit a jumper to make it 61-48.
Lincoln (1-3) tried to force their way into the paint in the fourth quarter, but they were unsuccessful. Tredarian Gamble scored five of the Golden Bears 11 points in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 36.3 seconds left in the game cut the Pell City lead down to 66-57.
We looked like we couldn’t digest everything, Lincoln head coach Carey Moorer said. “ We just haven’t had continuity in practice. A 2:10 tip was a little bit different for us today and ultimately we didn’t play well. They did a great job of making us press a little bit and not run what we needed to run. Ultimately they did a great job and we didn’t.”
Gamble led the way for Lincoln with 19 points. The sophomore played a huge role in helping the Golden Bears get back into the game in the third quarter. Lincoln trailed 32-38 going into the third quarter. Their defensive intensity sparked a 16-2 run. Gamble scored a layup in transition to start the run. Gamble hooked up with Donnie Johnson on a lob for a layup to make it 38-36. The 6-foot-1 point guard then found Ty’Key Sillmon all alone for a layup to tie the game up at 38 apiece. Gamble capped off the run with an emphatic one-hand dunk on a fast break to give Lincoln a 46-40 lead.
The Panthers are 2-9 on the season. A lack of depth in the backcourt is something that has really hurt Pell City this season.
“We are playing so many first year varsity players going against season veterans and it is tough,” Grant said. “When you only have three guards and you really can’t sub because your other guys are post players. It is pretty tough. The guards have to play so many minutes. We have been in most games early and the guards are just getting worn down and can’t finish at the end.”
Pell City takes on Oxford on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln hosts Anniston on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.