The East Lincoln Mustangs looked to upset top-seeded East Gaston Thursday night in the Big South 3Aâ€™s Conference Tournament semi-final. The warriors were just too much pulling away for a 67-47 victory.
Due to Hunter Huss falling to North Gaston 80-76, the Huskies will now face East Lincoln Friday night in a winner-takes-final-berth play-in game.
The Mustangs would have clinched the last spot representing the BS 3A with a win over the Warriors and a Huss loss, but East Gaston outscored them 44-26 in the second half to reach the tournament final.
Ten consecutive points in the fourth quarter, including four free throws by senior Corey Hare helped the Warriors open the game up. East Lincoln coach Neil Hodges was ejected, resulting in Hareâ€™s attempts.
East Gaston (21-4) continued their balanced scoring as four players hit double-figures. Corey Hare had a game-high 20 points, while Sean Helms contributed 15. Eric Hare and Ivory Craig scored 13 points and 12 points respectively.
Carlos-Marquez Sykes led the Mustangs with 15 points. Junior Jamelle Lowery complemented him with 10 points. Darin Dellinger added eight.
East Lincoln finds themselves in a unique situation Friday. After back-to-back last place finishes in the BS 3A, their state playoff dreams hinge on getting the job done against the Huskies.
East Lincoln 7 14 16 10-47
East Gaston 12 11 21 23-67
MUSTANGS: Carlos Marquez-Sykes 15, Jamelle Lowery 10, Dellinger 8, White 6, Davis 4, Huntley 2, Newsome 2.
WARRIORS: Corey Hare 20, Sean Helms 15, Eric Hare 13, Ivory Craig 12, Byers 2, Abernathy 1, Alexander 2, Perrigo 2.
by John Mark Brooks