The Lincoln Golden Eagles survived Union County’s 21-11 run in the  fourth quarter to pull off a 62-61 Tri-Eastern Conference thriller at the free throw line in the final 4 seconds. Lincoln defeated Union County, 62-61.

Lincoln’s four 3-point field goals in the first period left the Pats trailing, 22-14. 

“First half we were not ready to go,” UC coach Alex McCool said. “We were asleep at the wheel in the first quarter.”

Better second and third quarters still gave the Golden Eagles an 11-point, 51-40 lead. 

“Never should have been in that situation to begin with,”McCool said.

The Patriots’ offense returned in force in the fourth quarter with 21  points to Lincoln’s 11. 

UC began the final eight minutes with 3-point field goals (Alex VanWinkle two and Keaghan Coyle one). Hayden Alldredge hit a pair of freebies, VanWinkle scored from 2-point range, Luke Paddock made a free throw and another Coyle trey cut Lincoln’s lead to three, 59-56.

With 1:55 remaining, Lincoln’s leading scorer (Hayden Pierce) scored from 2-point range to extend the lead to 61-56 and 1:42 left.  

Coyle’s third 3-pointer in the quarter narrowed the score to 61-59 and a minute remaining. Lincoln missed at the free throw line with 37 seconds on the clock, but Coyle didn’t. The 6’1” sophomore guard’s pair of freebies tied the score, 61-61. 

Pierce was fouled and went to the free throw line for two shots. He made the first and missed the second. Game over, 62-61.

“Good effort to come back but fell asleep on that free throw,” McCool said. “It’s frustrating to get close so many times and not win. It’s tough. Still have some growing to do. Got to keep going and get better each game.”

VanWinkle and Coyle paced UC in double figures. VanWinkle had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Coyle 13 points. 

Lincoln senior Hayden Pierce led all scoring with 26 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Alex Bertsch added 10 points and senior Keaton Southerland had 13. 

Next opponent
Union County plays at North Decatur tomorrow night, Friday, Feb. 14 and returns home on Tuesday, Feb. 18, to host East Central at 6 p.m. 

Quarter scores
Union County     14   27   40   61
Lincoln              22   37   51   62

UNION COUNTY (5-12, 3-3) Panceri 0-0-0, VanWinkle 7-0/1-
(See “LOSE,” Page 3)               18, J.Bias 2-2/4-6, Coyle 5-2/2-13, Alldredge 3-2/2-8, Paddock 3-0-9, Swafford 2-0-5, R.Bias 0-0-00. Totals: 22-6/9-61.