The North Lincoln Knights beat Hendersonville 65-54 Friday night. More importantly, they locked up a spot in the 1A State Playoffs.
Brothers Lesharion and Trishtan combined for over half, 35, of the Knightsâ€™ points. North head coach David Johnson feels theyâ€™ve been solid all season.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been consistent throughout the year. They led the team in defense, thatâ€™s really where they stepped it up. Kenny (Bethea) he stepped it up again on the inside,â€ he said.
Bethea finished with 14 points, to lead the Knightsâ€™ effort in the paint. Peyton Brady chipped in with eight of his own.
After an upset at the hands of Highland Tech on Tuesday, Johnson believed Fridayâ€™s win was much-needed.
â€œIt was big again momentum-wise, it brought the boysâ€™ confidence back in again,â€ he said.
With the win, North Lincoln is now tied for second with Cherryville, but the Ironmen hold the head-to-head tie-break advantage because theyâ€™ve beaten the Knights twice. The good news is the Knights can do no worse than third in the Southern Foothills 1A Conference.
With a 6-4 SF 1A mark, the Knights hold a decisive advantage over Bessemer City, who is third with a 5-6 record, with a 2-0 advantage over the Yellow Jackets, having beaten them twice on the season.
North has an emotional week as they will face Polk Co., coached by former head coach and athletic director Scott Sekal, on Tuesday and unblemished Maiden on Friday.
â€œBoth of them are tough. Polk Co. being against their former coach and Maiden being an undefeated team. Itâ€™s still a challenge for the boys. We have to play well going into the playoffs. If we play the way we can play, we should do well,â€ Johnson said.
At 9-13, 6-4 North Lincoln had a remarkable season, no matter what happens in the remainder. Last season, they were a dismal 1-23.
â€œItâ€™s huge for a team to be 1-23 to come back now and make the playoffs. The kids are excited about it, but we canâ€™t overlook the fact that we still are going to have to come out and play. I donâ€™t them to be just happy to make the playoffs. I would like to see us play well,â€ Johnson said.
North Lincoln 16 13 12 24-65
Hendersonville 7 20 16 11-54
KNIGHTS: Lesharion Johnson 19, Trishtan Johnson 16, Loftin 5, Ketner 3, Ward 3, Kenny Bethea 14, Brady 8.
BEARCATS: Hopkins 2, Mike Lance 12, Kimbrough 4, Craly Carter 10, Lee Shogrun 18, Temple 4, Zarhowski 4.
The Lady Knights fell 69-65 to the Bearcats. Hendersonville is the SF 1A Conference leader with a mark of 8-2.
The Knights (11-11, 6-4) are in third place behind Polk Co. and Cherryville, who are both 7-3.
Alyssa Lowe paced the Knights with 19, while Kayla Alexander complemented her with 15 in the loss.
North Lincoln will face Polk Co. on Tuesday with a chance to move into a tie for second place.
North Lincoln 18 11 15 11-65
Hendersonville 17 18 19 15-69
KNIGHTS: Alyssa Lowe 19, Kayla Alexander 15, Thorne 4, Mabe 2, Feldon 3, Devine 4, Smith 6, McCall 2.
by John Mark Brooks