On Friday night, Lincolnton found out how important it is to play with intensity for the full 32 minutes.
Fortunately for the Wolves, the experience did not prove too painful. Lincolnton blew every bit of a 17-point second-half lead, fell behind, forced overtime and then took care of business in the extra period to beat Bandys 69-62.
Playing at home, Lincolnton appeared on its way to an easy win when the lead inflated to 35-18 in the early minutes of the third quarter.
But the Wolves relaxed a bit, stopped contesting Bandys` 3-pointer shooters, and soon found themselves in a game.
In fact, it took a huge play by senior Kyle Snyder just to force OT. Trailing 54-53 with 13 seconds left in regulation, the Wolves inbounded the ball under their own basket.
Whatever play Lincolonton had in mind broke down because Bandys played aggressive defense. Snyder drove into the lane, found his path blocked, and flipped a desperation pass to 6-foot-6 junior P.J. Hamright on the wing.
With the final seconds clicking down, the last player coach Bob Cowie would want shooting an outside shoot was forced to put one up.
The shot was off the mark but Snyder was there to get the offensive rebound and go back up. He drew a foul with one second left and hit the second of two foul shots to tie the game at 54.
In the extra period, the Wolves regained the intensity they lost and opened with a 6-0 run on a fast break basket by Demory Williams, two free throws by Zack Gibson and a putback by Snyder.
The Trojans (2-8, 1-3) seemed to deflate after the Lincolnton spurt, and the Wolves went on to dominate OT by outscoring Bandys 15-8.
“Hopefully, we learned a lesson that when you get in that situation, and you are up 16 to 18 points, you have to make sure you put someone away,” a drained Cowie said afterward.
“All the 3`s we were contesting in the first half were not going in. Then we let down our intensity and started watching, and they started making them.”
Bandys hit five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to fuel the comeback and outscored the Wolves 22-13 during that eight-minute stretch.
Gibson kept Lincolnton from a complete collapse with 14 of his game-high 20 points coming in the fourth quarter and OT. Also in double figures were Lance Friday with 14 and Williams with 12.
One bright spot defensively was the work the Wolves did on Bandys 3-point specialist Matt Oaks, who was held to six points.
“Matt Wright, Dustin Metts and Kyle Snyder really did a good job on him,” Cowie said. “(Oaks) is capable of exploding for 30-35 points, so those three did a great job.”
Oaks was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half. Blake Edmonson led the Trojans with 16 points.
Now 3-1 in the Midwest 2A Conference (5-7 all), the Wolves face the league`s elite teams this week, going to Shelby on Tuesday and to East Rutherford on Friday.
Bandys 11 7 14 22 8 -62
Lincolnton 16 16 9 13 15 – 69
TROJANS: Edmonson 16, Harper 3, Oaks 6, Torrence 3, Fearheily 9, McCleave 12, Mackie 7, Bennett 2, Bjamason 4.
WOLVES: Zack Gibson 20, Kyle Snyder 9, Demory Williams 12, Jammel Jefferies 7, Dusty Friday 4, Dustin Metts 3, Lance Friday 14. by Mike Powell