SHINNSTON -- Lincoln came through with a tremendous defensive effort to down South Harrison, 49-36, for the Lincoln-McDonald's Holiday Tournament boys title Friday night.
Nick Barron nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cougars the lead for good at halftime, 23-22. Lincoln then outscored the Hawks, 11-1, the third to take control.
Jared Bryant fired in two of his three 3-pointers in the decisive third period and led the Cougars with 20 points. Jordan Toth followed with 12 for the Cougars (4-2).
"This time we executed down the stretch, and the defense was just tremendous," Lincoln coach Rob Hawkins said.
The Hawks (4-1) were led by Stephen Greathouse with 13 points.
South Harrison and Harrison County's leading scorer Jarred Novotny was limited to six points.
Class AA No. 3 Bridgeport won the girls division of the Lincoln-McDonalds Holiday Tournament.
The Indians (8-0) Bridgeport struggled most of evening on offense, but turned to its tenacious defense in the second half to take a 49-30 win over Grafton in the girls championship game.
The Class AA No. 3 Indians (8-0) trailed 20-19 at halftime before holding the Bearcats (2-2) to just three field goals and 10 points in the second half.
"This team knows that on nights when you're struggling offensively that they can turn to the defensive end of the floor and still win the basketball game," Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall said. "They have the capabilities of changing the game defensively and that will be a key for us all year."
Erica Rome, saddled with three fouls in the first half, responded with a big third quarter for Bridgeport. Rome scored 12 points on 4 of 4 shooting, including a 3-pointer, to fuel a 15-7 third quarter run and give Bridgeport a 34-27 heading into the fourth quarter. That was as close as the Bearcats would get.
"We are right now in a little better game shape that what Grafton is," Marshall said. "We've won eight games and won two tournaments. (Grafton) has only played four games.
"This is going to be one of possibly four encounters with them this season. All of the games are going to be this tough."
Rome led all scorers with 20 points, while teammate Theresa Melko added eight points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
Sheena Zbosnik led Grafton with nine points, while Brandi Patton followed with seven points.
In the first game of the evening, Bobbi Jo Devericks scored 18 points to lead South Harrison (4-4) over Lincoln, 53-23 in the girls consolation game.
The Hawks took a 19-1 lead after the first quarter behind Devericks who scored nine points.
Senior point guard Sarah Byrd added a season-high 11 points for South Harrison, while Emily Barker and Tracey Devericks chipped in seven and six points, respectively.
"We wanted to try and press (Lincoln) and take them out of their game, and that's what we did," South Harrison coach Joe Johnson said. "Bobbi Jo played well again, but we had some others step up and help us, too."
Brandi Brown scored six points for Lincoln (0-6)
"I really thought we did a better job tonight," Lincoln coach Buddy Randolph said. "We just couldn't shots to fall. Defensively, we still have to work on rebounding the ball better."
In the boys consolation, Grafton won its first game this season, defeating Clay-Battelle, 54-38.
The Bearcats led just 21-19 at halftime, but pulled away for good with a 13-4 run midway through the third quarter.
"Basketball is a game of runs," Grafton coach Steve Smith said. "We were able to get in an offensive flow, and our defense kept the run going."
Chad Morris led three Bearcat scorers in double figures with 18 points. Michael Manning added 17, followed by Casey Workman with 10.
David Conrad led Clay-Battelle with nine points.
"This is a very tough and disappointing loss," C-B coach Frank Skubis said. "We just struggled offensively."
n PRINCETON 51, Lewis County 50: Princeton outscored Lewis County, 20-8 at the free throw line to hold off the Minutemaids in the Nicholas County Holiday Tournament.
Lindsay Casto scored a team-high 15 points to lead Lewis County (4-4) and was selected to the all-tournament team.
Audra Hall and Nikki Arbogast chipped in nine and six points, respectively.
Robin Reed led Princeton with 21 points.
Correspondent Andrew Richards contributed to this story.