The North Lincoln Knights overcame Ty Carterâ€™s 39 points Friday to come away with a 74-69 victory.
The Yellow Jackets led by seven at the halftime, but North Lincoln ran a full-court man and full-court trapping defense, which caused numerous turnovers and led to easy baskets on the offensive end.
â€œWe picked up our intensity, forced some turnovers which led to lay ups,â€ Knightsâ€™ head coach David Johnson said.
The pressure defense allowed North Lincoln to tie it, at the end of the third quarter. The final stanza saw Carter score 11 of his game-high 39, but it wasnâ€™t enough to overtake the Knights.
North received balanced-scoring with Kenny Bethea leading the way with 19 points. Trishtan Johnson netted 18, while his older brother Lesharion contributed with 15. Justin Thompson chipped in with five.
â€œThis was huge in the fact that it keeps the boysâ€™ confidence. It also kept us in second place because Bessemer City was in third,â€ Johnson said.
The win served as a nice rebound from a 78-69 loss to Southern Foothills 1A leader Maiden last Tuesday night.
Johnson felt Betheaâ€™s solid play was instrumental in the win.
â€œHe did well. He has been struggling with his shot-selection lately, but he played really hard and gave us that inside presence that weâ€™ve been looking for,â€ he said.
Carter continues his scoring tear, having scored over 30 numerous times this season. Johnson was happy with his teamâ€™s defensive effort, but believes against a scorer the magnitude of Carter, there is only so much a team can do.
â€œWe did the best we could to contain him and we knew if we limited him to the only one shooting, then we would have a good chance.â€
The Knights have an open night on Tuesday and will visit Cherryville on Friday. The Ironmen defeated the Knights by three at home in their Jan. 4 meeting.
The top four teams in the SF 1A will make the 1A State Basketball Playoffs.
The win improves their season record to 8-11 and 5-2 in the Southern Foothills 1A Conference.
North Lincoln 9 19 20 26-74
Bessemer City 22 13 13 21-69
KNIGHTS: Lesharion Johnson 15, Kyle Baker 2, Trishtan Johnson 18, Alex Loftin 1, Ward 4, Thompson 5, Kenny Bethea 19, Matt Kight 2, Peyton Brady 4.
YELLOW JACKETS: Howsare 2, Good 2, Anthony Day 10, Ty Carter 39, Stiles 4, Deon Carter 12.
The Lady Knights had balanced scoring in a 54-36 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Kayla Alexander led the Knights with 15, while Alyssa Lowe and Lindsey Smith both had 12 apiece. Caroline Farris chipped in 10 points.
The Knights up their record to 9-10 and 4-3 in the Southern Foothills 1A Conference.
by John Mark Brooks