Lincoln Wins Kaysinger Conference Tournament Amidst Perfect Season

It is hard to know just where to start. The Lincoln Cardinals won the Kaysinger Conference tournament last Saturday for the second year in a row in Sedalia on the campus of State Fair Community College. They defeated second seeded Tipton, 46-39 to establish a school record the longest winning streak for the boys at 22-0. The Lincoln girls record is 23-0.
The Cardinals defeated Tipton at home a few weeks back. Like last time, Lincoln fell behind early and trailed 18-12 after one. Considering they hold their opponents to under 40 per game, 18 points was way too many for Coach Tyler Burke and crew but the Tipton Cardinals hit shot after shot early on.
Tipton led by nine at 25-16. Lincoln would score eight unanswered points to pull to within one at 25-24 behind two free throws made by Connor Lynde, two nice buckets by Mack Hesse and a driving basket by Kaleb Mundy. Tipton would hang on to a 29-28 lead at the half.
At 6:20 of the third period, Ross Johnson would give Lincoln the lead at 30-29 on a layup and Tipton called time out. Zack Moon would give the lead back to Tipton on a basket underneath at 32-31 after Kyle Eckhoff had made a free throw for Lincoln.
Hesse would force his will on a drive to the basket and then the 6'4" senior center came up with a pancake-like block that saw the ball and the shooter both come crashing to the floor.
A few minutes later, Hesse sent a ball flying across the court with another intimidating block.
With Lincoln's defense connecting, Lynde would a take a huge charge as the momentum switched to Lincoln with a 37-32 third quarter lead.
The fourth period wasn't for the faint of heart. Lincoln claimed a hard fought nine point lead but Jack Moon hit a long three to make it 43-3. Mundy would go 3-6 from the line in the final seconds to ensure the win for Lincoln.
Coach Burke commented, "I told our players at halftime that we were okay but we needed to hold them to four points in the third and we held them to three. We have struggled to score all year. Our goal has been to hold teams under 40 points and somehow hopefully we can manage to scrape up 41".
He added, "Tipton is very athletic and they are such a good ball team. It is so hard to do what we have done. To be 22-0 is really an amazing accomplishment."
Lincoln has four more regular season games to go and a tough road trip to Northwest on Friday.
LINCOLN (46): Eckhoff 6, Mundy 11, Lynde 9, Johnson 3, Everhart 2, Hesse 16.
TIPTON (39): Z. Moon 10, Cooley 11, J. Moon 8, Bailey 10.
*     *     *
Lincoln defeated Sacred Heart for the second time this season 43-35 in the semifinal of the Kaysinger Conference tournament on Tuesday night  at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.
They moved to 21-0, which unofficially is the longest opening season undefeated winning streak in Lincoln history.
However, for a moment, that record looked threatened by the sharp shooting Gremlins.
Unlike their first meeting, when Lincoln couldn't get on track scoring early on, the Cardinals jumped out to a 26-7 second quarter margin.  Sacred Heart brought it  to 26-11 before George Bain would hit an open three at the buzzer to edge back to 26-14 at the half. Lincoln had led 10-5 after one.
Lincoln head coach Tler Burke commented, " We knew they would come back. We have known these kids for a long time. It was inevitable that they would make a comeback. They came out hesitant at first and we took the early lead. The three before halftime was big."
"They (the Gremlins) got aggressive at the right time in the third as we entered into the bonus," he also said.
Lincoln center Mack Hesse picked up two early fouls in the first quarter and sat out the remainder of the half.
Cam Everhart came off the bench and played his most minutes of the season. 
"Cam did a fantastic job," Coach Burke said.
Sacred Heart head coach Steve Goodwin kept his team courtside during the halftime break and whatever he said worked as the Gremlins caught on fire from long range.
"Give them credit, they hit some shots," Coach Burke remarked.
It was 36-31 after three.Hesse picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench and didn't return until the 3:12 mark.
In the meantime, Carter  Rice hit a three from downtown Chicago to pull Sacred Heart to 36-34 at the 7:27 tick of the clock.
Kaleb Mundy drove for a layup and it was 39-34 with hearts pounding.
Everhart, back in the game this time for rugged forward Ross Johnson, would go to the free throw line with 1:08 to play.
"I was a little nervous but coach encouraged me," Everhart commented.
Well, he dropped both free throws for a 41-34 lead.
Carter Rice hit a free throw and Connor Lynde hit two to finish out the scoring.
"It was a dog fight and we knew the semifinal would be, regardless of who played. From now on, every game will be a dog fight," Coach Burke said. 
Sacred Heart fell to 12-7.Lincoln, at 21-0, is 4-0 at home, 5-0 on the road and 12-0 in tournaments. They are scoring 54.9 ppg and allowing 36 ppg.
LINCOLN (43): Lynde 15, Mundy 5, K. Eckhoff 3, Hess 12, Everhart 5, Johnson 2, Sanders 1.
SACRED HEART (35): Ca. Rice 12, Co. Rice 7, Vanleer 5, Bain 3, Goodwin 6, Damlo 3.