The Lincolnton Wolves put together a total performance in 61-48 victory over the West Lincoln Rebels Friday night.
The Wolves shot the ball well from the perimeter, played solid defense and rebounded well. Although the Rebels were outdone on the glass, they still only trailed 26-24 at the half.
Amid threats that playing time was going to be lost, head coach Bob Cowieâ€™s team his Lincolnton team responded fresh out of the locker room. The Wolves, who had a 14-1 run in the second quarter spearheaded by Lance Fridayâ€™s seven points, opened the second half with a 10-1 run.
Wolvesâ€™ guard Zack Gibson nailed two three pointers during the run; the second of which put them ahead 36-25 with 5:15 remaining in the third.
â€œI was very disappointed the way we came out to start the game. Our intensity wasnâ€™t there and we talked at halftime that the five that went out there are going to have to play or they were going to have to come sit and five other ones would go out there. They decided they were going to play,â€ Cowie said.
The run served as a springboard to a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the contest.
The Rebels did not go quietly as guards Ryan Huffman and Taylor Woodie tried to shoot their team back into it in the fourth quarter, but to no avail. Huffman had eight points, while Woodie connected on two three-pointers in the final quarter.
A Jammel Jefferies layup gave the Wolves their biggest lead of the night at 54-36 with 4:45 left. Less than a minute after the score the Wolves went into a four-corners look that milked the clock away.
Basketballâ€™s equivalent to footballâ€™s kneel-down play is the four corners. Cowie believed his team did a solid job of executing it in the final five minutes. It was a nice change for Lincolnton, who has had played two overtime games already this season.
â€œWeâ€™re up 14-16 with five minutes left. The only way we lose tonight is if we come down and take shots that are not good shots. My intention was to not to hold it all those times, but after we held it a few timesâ€”again, the only way you lose is if you shoot it and miss and let them have opportunities.â€
Gibson, who has started every game since he was a freshman, responded to getting benched in the previous game against Newton-Conover by scoring a game-high 21 points.
â€œThe last couple of games, Iâ€™ve been playing terrible. Coach Cowie did a good thing in sitting me. Against Newton-Conover I didnâ€™t start and that just made me play harder. I knew I had to come out this game and just do it,â€ a very candid Gibson said following the win.
Cowie was proud of how Gibson handled the brief demotion.
â€œHe shot the ball well tonight. Itâ€™s no secret to anyone; heâ€™s being playing very poorly. He had two good days of practice and let the game come to him tonight. He shot open threes and when heâ€™s open; he can nail them,â€ he said.
The win broke a four-game losing streak, something the Wolves were aware of.
â€œWe just try to play hard and come out and win the game. We lost four games in a row, so we just tried to get a win and move on,â€ Friday said who finished with 12 points.
Whenever these two teams match up, whomever wins is always extra happy.
â€œItâ€™s a big win for us. This is the biggest conference game heâ€™s (Cowie) probably coached in a while because weâ€™ve been losing. If we didnâ€™t beat West Lincoln, we werenâ€™t going to do too good in the season,â€ Gibson said.
Jefferies, with quick jumping ability, led Lincolnton in rebounding and finished with 10 points. Demory Williams had seven.
Huffman led West Lincoln with 19 points, while Woodie finished with a season-high 16 points. He drained four three-pointers. Ben Poole chipped in with nine.
The Rebels fall to 2-7 on the season and will next be in action against Bessemer City on Tuesday. The Wolves are now 2-5 and will host North Gaston on Tuesday.
West Lincoln 14 10 10 14 -48
Lincolnton 12 14 21 14 -61
REBELS: Ryan Huffman 19, Taylor Woodie 16, Ben Poole 9, Heath Cole 2, Brandon Friday 2.
WOLVES: Zack Gibson 21, Jammel Jefferies 10, Lance Friday 12, Kyle Snyder 4, Jeremy Smith 4, Demory Williams 7, Dustin Metts 2.
West Lincoln varsity
The Lady Rebels surged out to a 23-5 in the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again enroute to a 61-57 win over the Lady Wolves.
The Wolves refused to give up going on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 53. Tamika Werts made all four of her points count making two lay ups in the final minute and a half to help seal the win.
Wertâ€™s second lay up gave the Rebels a 61-56 lead with 15 seconds left. When time expired, Candi Taylor heaved the ball in the air in exultation. Taylor had every right.
The two guard finished with a double-doubleâ€”26 points and 10 assists. Taylor also knocked down seven three-pointers.
When asked if sheâ€™s ever scored more than 26 in a game, Taylor responded.
â€œI sure havenâ€™t. It feels great. We havenâ€™t won none all year and we couldâ€™ve won every one of them if we really tried and we came together as a team today,â€ she said.
Center Helen Debari believed the win was extra sweet, not only because it was the Rebelsâ€™ first of the season, because it came against Lincolnton.
â€œItâ€™s great. I love beating Lincolnton; itâ€™s a thing we look forward to every year,â€ she said.
West Lincoln was 0-8 entering Fridayâ€™s game.
â€œIt takes everything away from you. All the losses we had before; it just takes it away. Weâ€™re on cloud nine now and weâ€™re just ready to win some more,â€ Taylor said.
West Lincoln 23 11 13 14 -61
Lincolnton 5 16 17 19 -57
REBELS: Candi Taylor 26, Sara Elmore 10, Anna Knight 6, Valerie Fite 6, Helen Debari 7, Tamika Werts 4, April Norman 2.
WOLVES: Jessie Cline 16, Brittany Jones 14, Shanda Faw 8, Santana Edwards 7, Keisha Duncan 4, Andrea Isoler 3, Charlotte Clark 2, Ashley Tipton 2, Hannah Parker 1.by John Mark Brooks