The Lincolnton Wolves still find themselves below .500 (4-7) on the season, but a close loss to North Gaston in the championship game of the Peoples Bank Holiday Clash has them believing.
â€œI think it gave us confidence. We realized that we had gotten better. I felt like we really should have won the game after the previous two where they had beaten us pretty handily,â€ head coach Bob Cowie said.
The Wolves, who defeated Chase 57-45 Tuesday, have won two of their last three. Whatâ€™s stood out more than anything is their new-found continuity on offense.
â€œI think weâ€™re getting better. They continue to work extremely hard in practice. Weâ€™ve put in a more structured offense,â€ Cowie said.
Lincolnton players struggled to find their way in a motion-oriented attack to begin the year. In the last three games, they have drastically reduced turnovers and looks more comfortable on the offensive end.
â€œNow weâ€™re running different offensive sets with a whole lot more structure and I think itâ€™s helped us out some,â€ Cowie said.
When asked who have been recent standouts, Cowie believes itâ€™s been the whole unit.
â€œIt really hasnâ€™t been any one particular person. It continues to be a group of people. Weâ€™ve had games where three or four have scored in double figures. Nobody is having a huge game, but collectively I think weâ€™ve gotten better.â€
While his team continues to improve, Cowie wants his team to focus on their overall goal.
â€œRight now, we have our eyes set on one of those four playoff berths. I think itâ€™s no secret that East Rutherford has established themselves as the class of the conference. Shelby and Newton-Conover are close behind them. Then the other five of us are pretty equal,â€
He also warns his team is not a team that can just â€˜show up,â€™ they have to play a solid basketball to win.
â€œWeâ€™ll have to continue to play well. We have very small room for error. If we do not play well; weâ€™ll not beat anybody. If we play well, we can be a decent basketball team, but if weâ€™re a little bit off we can be beat bad by anybody,â€
The Wolves have a great opportunity in their midst as they host the Bandys Trojans coached by Mark Lynch. The Trojans are led by guard deadly outside shooter Matt Oaks.
â€œWe need to make sure weâ€™re ready to play tomorrow night (Friday). The kids have seen some scores where Bandys have beat by 30 points. We need to realize that those losses have come to good teamsâ€”they (the scores) can be very deceiving. They are certainly capable of beating us, if weâ€™re not ready,â€ Cowie said.
With a win, the Wolves would improve to 3-1 in the Midwest 2A Conference heading into a key away game against the Shelby Golden Lions next Tuesday.
With East Rutherford (Jan. 18) and Newton-Conover looming (Jan. 21), being above .500, heading into those two MW 2A games, would be a big confidence boost.
by John Mark Brooks