In a game that they had to have, the Lincolnton Wolves came up big with a 72-61 victory over Bunker Hill Friday night at River Bend Middle School. Due to problems with the gymnasium floor at Bunker Hill High, the Bears have been playing their home games across the street at River Bend.
In what had been a very tight game all night, the Wolves outscored Bunker Hill 23-15 in the fourth and final quarter to pull away for the 11-point win. Bunker Hill had pulled to within one point at 60-59 with just under three minutes to play, but Lincolnton finished the game with a 12-2 run, making eight of ten free throw attempts to put the game away.
Although the Wolves (7-7, 9-14) led most of the game, neither team was able to gain more than a four-point advantage in the first half. Lincolnton led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, and 30-29 going into the locker room at the half.
Midway through the third period, the Wolves went on an 8-0 run to go up 44-35. Bunker Hill, however, trimmed the lead back down to three by the end of the quarter at 49-46.
The Bears (5-9, 8-15) tied the game twice in the fourth quarter at 53 and 55, but were never able to take the lead. The final three minutes of play, however, were dominated by the Wolves who just seemed to want it more.
Lance Friday again led the Wolves with his strong performance in the paint. Friday finished the game with 22 points and numerous rebounds. Junior guard Zack Gibson also played well for the Wolves, chipping in 16 points. Kyle Snyder and Jammelle Jefferies scored in double figures as well, adding 10 points each.
Bunker Hill was led by sophomore guard Damarius Miller`s 18 points. Senior Martin Turbeville added 15 for the Bears in a losing effort.
With the win, Lincolnton secures fourth place in the Midwest 2A conference and is all but assured of a playoff spot. The only way the Wolves could miss the playoffs is if one of the lower four seeds was to win the conference tournament.
Lincolnton head coach Bob Cowie was very pleased with his teams effort with so much on the line.
“Basically our five starters played the whole second half and they did a great job,” Cowie said.
“I told the guys in the locker room after the game that this team has done some things this year that hasn`t made me very happy, but I was extremely proud of the things we did on the floor tonight and we had support on our bench in the second half and I think that`s what finally got us through this game,” Cowie noted.
Cowie mentioned the solid performances of Snyder, Gibson and Friday, but also made sure to mention that the bench played a big role in the success of his team, especially in the second half.
The Wolves now move ahead to conference tournament play, and will host the number five seed Bandys Trojans Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Lincolnton High School. The Wolves will try to avenge a loss just ten days ago at Bandys.
Lincolnton 12 18 19 23-72
Bunker Hill 11 18 17 15-61
WOLVES: Lance Friday 22, Zack Gibson 16, Kyle Snyder 10, Jammelle Jefferies 10, Demory Williams 6, Dusty Friday 5, P.J. Hamright 2, Dustin Metts 1.
Bunker Hill: Damarius Miller 18, Martin Turbeville 15, Varron Williams 11, Jordan Kaylor 10, Brett Patterson 4, Eric Brown 3.
The Lady Wolves dug a big hole in the first quarter Friday night at River Bend Middle School and spent the rest of the night trying to climb out of it. Bunker Hill scored the first thirteen points of the game, and led 17-2 at the end of the first quarter en route to a 44-33 victory.
After playing the Lady Bears pretty even in the second period, Lincolnton trailed going in at halftime 23-10. But when the two teams came out to start the second half, things went much the same way as in quarter number one. A 14-5 advantage for Bunker Hill to close out the third quarter gave the Lady Bears a commanding 37-15 lead heading into the final period.
The Lady Wolves put together a rally and cut the deficit to eleven at 40-29, but they could not get any closer as they would run out of time and gas.
With the loss, the Lady Wolves drop to 7-16 on the season, 1-13 in Midwest 2A conference play. Bunker Hill improves to 7-7 in the conference and 9-14 overall.
Lincolnton will begin conference tournament play on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. as they travel to number two seed Newton-Conover.
Lincolnton 2 8 5 18-33
Bunker Hill 17 6 14 7-44
WOLVES: Brittany Jones 13, Shonda Faw 6, Andrea Isoler 4, Keisha Duncan 4, Ashley Tipton 2, Santana Edwards 2, Jessie Cline 2.
Bunker Hill: Lauren Lefevers 13, Jamie Sigmon 13, Jackie Payne 8, Tara Little 4, Danielle Martin 2, Sara Rhoney 2, Sara Holland 2.
by David Keever