“It’s always big when we can beat Lincoln because they are our rival,” Munford head coach Isiah Gaddis said. “Our kids were real pumped up for it. We had a big crowd in here and that crowd helped us pull that game out, too. I would love to see that every home game. I got some big play from CJ (Chapman) down the stretch and defensively. We were down five with four minutes left. We were able to come back. Brett Haynie hit a couple of big shots, big threes. It was a team win. Unfortunately, we’ve got to play them again on Wednesday. I told them that’s a big test with those guys because they’re a load. Earl Moss played big for me. He’s my big guy, but they are huge down low.”
Lincoln got on the scoreboard first with a 3-pointer by Danny Bradford. Tavon Lawson answered for Munford with a steal and a driving layup that resulted in an ensuing free throw that he made to tie the game, 3-3.
Dee Johnson kept Lincoln on top with a series of rebounds and putbacks until Munford’s Earl Moss had a rebound and putback to give Munford an 8-7 lead.
At that point, Lincoln responded with a 10-0 run to close out the first quarter. Johnson made a basket in the post by using the glass to help Lincoln regain the lead, 9-8. Bradford hit a 3-pointer and hit another 3-pointer for the last basket of the first quarter, giving Lincoln a 17-8 lead. Zay Caldwell nearly hit a 3-pointer from halfcourt as time expired, but the shot went in and out. Caldwell received a foul call but was unable to hit the free throws.
Munford responded midway through the second quarter while on a 9-2 run. Lawson started the run with a driving layup. Monteo Garrett capped the drive with a basket inside while driving past two defenders to give Munford a 23-21 lead. Just before the half, Caldwell hit two free throws to give Lincoln a 28-24 lead.
Lincoln controlled the third quarter, finishing with a 48-41 lead.
Munford began the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run. Lawson continued to do well in making baskets while driving into the post to start the run and drew a subsequent free throw attempt which he converted. Logan Cooper followed the 3-point play with a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 48-47. Brett Haynie capped the run with a 3-pointer off an assist by Garrett that gave Munford a 51-48 lead.
Lincoln regained the lead, which included a dunk by Dee Johnson to push the team’s lead to 60-55.
After another Haynie 3-pointer, Munford had cut the lead to 64-63 with 1:49 remaining. Lawson tied the game 65-65 after hitting two free throws with 1:07 left in the game.
Lawson was able to draw a foul with just 7.7 seconds left in the game. He made one of two free throws to give Munford a 66-65 lead.
Caldwell made a mad dash past halfcourt and Lincoln head coach Rush Rutledge immediately called timeout with 3.9 seconds. Devon Whiteside made the inbound pass, but CJ Chapman intercepted his pass and was fouled with 1.5 seconds. Chapman made one of two shots to give Munford a 67-65 lead.
“The only thing that was going through my mind was just get the win,” Chapman said after the game. “Get the ball and you’ll get the win. If you get to the basket and get an open look, go ahead and go for it.”
Chapman missed the second shot and Lincoln pulled down the rebound and called timeout with just 0.8 seconds left.
Bradford received the inbound pass and put up a desperation shot that wasn’t far off the mark, but didn’t go in.
“We’re getting better,” Lincoln head coach Rush Rutledge said. “They beat us by two. Heflin beat us the other night by three in overtime. Anniston beat us by eight. Pell City beat us by two. We’re taking some tough losses right now. We are beating ourselves. The last three or four minutes of the basketball game, we quit defending. It is what it is. We have no way to point a finger except back at our self. We missed some free throws early, we missed some layups early and when it comes down to it, you’ve got to make free throws, layups and you’ve got to defend. When we needed to defend the most, we didn’t do it. They got us beat. They did what they had to do: make free throws down the stretch. They’re a good basketball team.”
Lincoln shot just eight for 22 on free throws.
Munford has now won six of their last seven games.
Lawson led Munford in scoring with 20 points. Chapman was the second-leading scorer with 12 points.
For Lincoln, Johnson finished the game with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Caldwell contributed 16 points, while Bradford had 14 points. Shedrick Thomas finished second on the team in rebounding with eight.
Munford travels to Winterboro today with tipoff scheduled for 12 p.m.