HAMLIN, W.Va. — Jackson Sanders put on a 3-point shooting clinic on Saturday.
The Lincoln County High guard hit seven treys on the way to a 25-point night to lead the Panthers to a 86-66 win over Wayne.
“He was very, very good tonight,” said LCHS coach Rodney Plumley. “What he did on defense was disruptive and he played hard for four quarters. What he and Isaiah (Koontz) did for us on defense was huge tonight. ”
Lincoln County (2-0) wasn’t hitting on all cylinders in the opening frame. Wayne took advantage as Jake Merritt buried three bombs of his own to put the Pioneers up by seven points early before taking the opening quarter, 21-19.
It would be the last quarter that they’d outscore the Panthers on this night. LCHS was coming off of a win at Point Pleasant of Friday and their coach saw a little bit of early fatigue, but not for long..
“We’re boxing out right now as good or better than any team I’ve had and that is very encouraging,” Plumley added. “You see our guys finding a body and that isn’t an easy thing to do. We’ve got good stamina and it is how we won at Point last night — we had the gas in the tank late.”
The teams exchanged buckets throughout the second frame, where Sanders buried a pair of treys, including one from deep in the corner on a textbook “catch-and-shoot” right out of the Jerry Tarkanian playbook.
Bryan Sansom kept Wayne (0-1) in the game in the second quarter, netting five of his team-high 21 as the Pioneers led, 38-36 but not before a buzzer-beater by Sanders to pull the Panthers three points closer.
“That first half, we looked like we were standing in mud at times and there was a little bit of sluggishness,” he said. “Getting Jayse Tully back out there in the third was big for us. He’s a catalyst.”
The second half saw LCHS push the ball up the floor in transition and Koontz and Sanders were disruptive on defense — causing turnovers from the Pioneers offensive set.
The Panthers tickled the twine for 30 points in the third quarter as Sanders flexed again with four 3-point buckets — three from the wing where he proved most deadly.
The Panthers led 66-48 going into the fourth period and had no answer for Sansom, who netted 12 in the period , including a pair of long-range bombs that kept his squad close but it wasn’t enough.
John Blankenship and Will Carpenter’s presence was felt in the fourth as they drew attention in the paint. Tully and Sanders hit buckets in the final minutes as LCHS pulled away for the comfortable win in their home opener.
“What we’re doing is good we just have to get better at it,” Plumley concluded. “We’re giving up too much in the middle of the floor and our traps have to get better. We are rebounding well and that pleases me. I’m giving them the day off tomorrow. I want them to refresh their minds and bodies. We’ve practiced hard and played hard.”
Lincoln County will host Sissonville on March 10 and Wayne will host Buffalo on March 11.
WAYNE 21 17 10 18 — 66: Sansom 21, Merritt 13, Maynard 9, Adkins 9, Dotson 8, Bryant 4, May 2.
LINCOLN COUNTY 19 17 30 20 — 86: Sanders 25, Koontz 17, Tully 16, Carpenter 10, Blankenship 10, Whitten 5, Romans 3