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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Rails finally net elusive league win

Lincoln Park girls’ basketball Coach Shaun Thacker said his team has had the game with Kennedy circled on the calendar for a long time.

The Rails did not disappoint their coach Friday night and posted a 28-26 victory. It was the team’s first league win in two years.

The game came right down to the final seconds to decide who the winner would be.

Lincoln Park had an 8-2 lead after the first quarter, but Kennedy kept pushing its way back in. The teams saw a 14-11 score at the end of the first half in favor of Lincoln Park and it was the Eagles who led 21-20 at the end of the third quarter.

Kennedy led by five with just over two minutes to go before Lincoln Park took two timeouts and seemed to realize how close the win was.

“One, we had to make free throws and two, we had to make better decisions with the basketball,” Thacker said regarding the discussion during the timeouts.

It worked.

With 35 seconds left, Paige Llanes knocked down two free throws for a 26-26 tie and with just seven seconds to go, Brittany Woods found herself with the ball and put it away for the winning basket.

Thacker said he was pleased with the win and how his team is progressing.

“The girls are starting to close out and it was nice,” he said. “I think they’re starting to learn how to close out. Being a young team, some of the girls are starting to realize how to win.”

Thacker said his team played well to start the game but fell into a bit of a lull by halftime before turning things around.

“I’m excited,” Thacker said. “We’re getting better every day.

“It’s been a long time around here since we competed every night (and now) they’re competing every night and it’s fun.

“They’re starting to believe in what we’re doing.”

Llanes led the way with 18 points, three rebounds and three steals on the night.

Brittany Woods finished with four points and Olivia McKinney led the team with 14 rebounds and had one steal and two blocks.

Breanna Early, Tori Boros and Jaime Reyna each chipped in two points.

Llanes’ effort was not lost on Kennedy Coach Jeff Baum.

“Paige was able to knock down some big shots for them,” he said. “She has a nice touch from anywhere on the floor and put her team on her back.”

Baum said his team let the win get away from them with too many turnovers down the stretch, but said both teams played hard.

“We really struggled offensively most of the night,” he said. “We stood around a lot on the offensive end and struggled to get much going.

“We will continue working to get better and the game experience will do nothing but help us grow as a team.”

The Eagles were led by Teressa Savastano with five points, eight steals and five rebounds.

“Teressa played very tough and was the reason we were able to get back in the game in the second half,” Baum said. “She gave us a great defensive spark.”

Asia Page finished the night with eight points and seven rebounds.

To start the season, Kennedy fell to Garden City 47-38.

Down just 20-18 at the half, the Eagles gave up 18 points in the third quarter and it was too much to overcome.

“Our kids played very hard and did some good things for the first game of the season,” Baum said.

Nine players contributed to the night.

Page led the way with eight points and six rebounds and Savastano had five points, four assists and four steals. Mary Chambers chipped in with eight points.

Lincoln Park opened its season with a 33-31 loss to Belleville.

Llanes led the scoring with 17 points and also had two rebounds.

McKinney led in rebounds with 12 and put up two points as well.

The Rails took on Allen Park last night and will host Truman on Thursday.

Kennedy was at Riverview on Monday night, traveled to Truman last night and will host Woodhaven on Thursday.

Last Updated: 12/10/2013 1:30:26 PM EST

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