SHINNSTON -- Lincoln rolled to a 21-point halftime lead and never looked back in its 68-42 victory over Tucker County in boys high school action Monday night.
The Cougars (8-8) trailed briefly, 3-2, in the first minute of the game before taking control of the game. They went on a 18-5 run to close the quarter and take a 20-8 lead.
Mitch Barnes, who led Lincoln with a game-high 19 points, scored eight points in the first period and fired in a 3-pointer in the second quarter to account for 11 points during the decisive first half.
Lincoln led 20-10 when Nick Barron sparked a 9-0 run with five points and two steals to put the Mountain Lions in a big hole. The Cougars cruised to a 36-15 halftime lead.
The Cougars' defense also was a factor, forcing Tucker County (3-12) into a poor shooting half. Tucker made just four of 21 (19 percent) from the floor and committed 12 turnovers.
"The first half was definitely the best half of basketball we have played all year," Lincoln coach Rob Hawkins said.
"We especially did a good job defensively forcing turnovers and missed shots as well as moving the ball offensively.
"We played very well as a team, and I am very proud of the effort."
Lincoln's bench also factored heavily. Barron, Ryan Loretta and Carmen Sims contributed 28 points.
Barron led the way with 15 points, including two 3-pointers and five steals. Loretta added eight points, while Sims scored five points.
"I thought (Nick) Barron and (Ryan) Loretta played excellent," Hawkins said. "Those two players were the difference, and when (Tucker County) cut the lead to 13 points in the third period, they made some big plays to push the lead back to 20 points.
"So, I was extremely pleased with the bench play, and Carmen Sims also gave us a big boost."
David Ray Harris had his usual solid game for Lincoln with 10 points, seven assists and three steals.
Dave Lambert paced the Mountain Lions with nine points, and Justin Hamrick followed with eight points.