The East Lincoln Mustangs snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday night beating Hunter Huss 63-55.
The Mustangs showed the ability to improvise after a fluke bleach incident made three of the Mustangs change numbers before the game.
One of those players, Wayne White, certainly wonâ€™t return to his old No. 22. The senior transfer from North Lincoln, used to wearing No. 22, snapped out of a slump in a big way scoring 16 points in only 13 minutes of action.
â€œI changed my number to No. 24 this game, so I donâ€™t know if thatâ€™s a lucky thing or not,â€ White said, saying later it would be his number for the duration of the season.
After blowing an 18-point lead, and at one point seeing it whittled to only six, the Mustangs, like White, improvised. Instead of running their usual offense, head coach Neil Hodges starting to work the clock with 3:40 remaining.
The strategy worked brilliantly seeing senior point guard Darin Dellinger make 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
To open the fourth quarter, the Huskies (6-8, 3-2 Big South 3A) went on a furious 12-2 run.
Lamar Elder, who had played sparingly in the first three quarters, nailed back-to-back three pointers from the corner to key the run. He scored all of his 14 points in the fourth-quarter.
While White led the team in scoring and Dellinger sealed it with his accurate shooting at the charity stripe, nobody made a bigger shot than Jamelle Lowery.
Clinging to a six-point lead, Lowery drove baseline and made an off-balance banker putting East up by eight with 4:06 left to play in the game. Lowery, who has struggled of late, confidently made two shots in the final four minutes.
With the Mustangs showing little continuity on offense, both were needed.
The home team went to 6â€™3â€ center Josh Davis four times in the first half. The result was four baskets.
â€œDarin and Devin gave me the ball down low, they put it right there, and all I had to do was turn around and make the basket,â€ he said, who scored 11 points in the paint.
Davis, along with Carlos-Marquez-Sykes, was a force on the backboards.
â€œThey had one big guy and all we had to do was put a body on him and go up hard and snatch it,â€ Davis said.
6â€™5â€ freshman Alex Newsome also hauled in several rebounds.
East connected on 22-of-38 shots in the contest for a 58-percent fied-goal percentage. They shot 70-percent in the first half, only missing six shots (14-of-20).
As for White; he owned the wings like BW3, making four three-pointers. He humbly declined credit after the game.
â€œCoach Hodges, Coach Huss and Coach Ashley have been working with us on fundamentals. Iâ€™ve been in a slump lately, but luckily I was able to get out of that.â€
The win ups the Mustangsâ€™ record to 9-5, 2-3 in the Big South 3A Conference.
â€œOne of the key things you got to do, if youâ€™re going to be a good basketball team is you got to be able to play through the ups and play through the downs. Our kids did a pretty good job of that tonight,â€ Hodges said.
Huskiesâ€™ Antwain Pless led all scorers with 18 points, while Demario Garvin contributed 13.
Hunter Huss scored 23 points in the fourth after scoring only six in the first quarter.
Hunter Huss 6 13 13 23-55
East Lincoln 17 17 14 15-63
HUSKIES: D.J. Knox 5, Demario Garvin 13, Antwain Pless 18, Lamar Elder 14, A. Hunnicutt 2, B. Miller 4.
MUSTANGS: Darin Dellinger 15, Devin Carter 4, Jamelle Lowery 6, Carlos Marquez-Sykes 7, Josh Davis 11, Thomas Huntley 2, Alex Newsome 2, Wayne White 16.
The Lady Huskies remain undefeated, 5-0 in the Big South 3A, beating the Lady Mustangs 67-52.
Huss standout Tiffany Blackmon scored 23 points and hauled in 12 rebounds in the win. Alyson Kielar led the Lady Mustangs with 22 points.
Hunter Huss 19 19 15 14-67
East Lincoln 6 14 7 15-52
HUSKIES: Tiffany Blackmon 23, Lanique Austin 12, Paquita Wingate 12, Paige Lockhart 9, Olivia Reid 11.
MUSTANGS: Koree Roseboro 8, Sarah Webb 2, Toree Roseboro 7, Kim Scercy 4, Krista Moore 1, Alyson Kielar 22.
Senior guard Wayne White, who had to sit out games earlier this season due to transferring, paid big dividends for East Lincoln Tuesday night. In 13 minutes of action, White nailed four three-pointers on his way to 16 points. Pless led all scorers with 18. Chris Dean / LTN Photoby John Mark Brooks