The Maiden Blue Devils dashed out to a comfortable 22-8 lead after the first quarter of the Southern Foothills 1A conference tournament championship game Friday night at North Lincoln High School and never looked back as they defeated the Knights 90-51.
The Blue Devils, led by senior Adam Lawing`s 25 points, were able to score almost at will, as all twelve players on the roster got in to the scoring column. Center Anthony Bourne and swingman Vantrel England added 15 points each to help Maiden reach the 90-point mark. Bourne also pulled down 14 rebounds.
North Lincoln never gave up and played hard the entire night, but the Blue Devils were just too good and too well balanced for the second year Knights to overcome. Maiden answered every run that North Lincoln put together, and never let the lead get down to single digits.
Alex Loftin led the way for the Knights with 14 points while Lasharion Johnson added 11.
“Maiden is just a great team,” said North Lincoln coach David Johnson, “We are still young and learning.”
The Knights reached the tournament finals by defeating Polk County 67-42 on Tuesday night, and then downing Cherryville 71-56 on Wednesday. The Blue Devils route to the championship included a 74-50 semi-final win over Bessemer City, following a first round bye.
With the loss, North Lincoln falls to 11-16 on the season. The Knights will begin play in the 1A State Playoffs tonight at 6:30 p.m. at home against Andrews High School. Johnson believes his team will show up versus the Wildcats.
â€œIf we play the way we can, we should do well. But weâ€™re going to have to play better than we did against Maiden. We didnâ€™t play to the best of our ability,â€ he said.
Despite the near 40-point loss, Johnson and his team remains confident.
â€œWeâ€™re still real confident. We werenâ€™t expected to be where we were anyway. Still to have gone from one win to 11 wins is a big deal. The boys and me knew what we did wrong. We discussed it and hopefully Monday weâ€™ll have that fixed,â€ he said.
Maiden improves its record to 20-5, and will get a first round bye. The Blue Devils will host the Bessemer City-Hayesville winner on Wednesday night. Maiden will enter the 1A state playoffs riding a 15 game winning streak.
The Lady Knights will play Swain Co. on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 1A State Playoffs.
North Lincoln 8 14 22 7-51
Maiden 22 15 25 28-90
KNIGHTS: Alex Loftin 14, Lasharion Johnson 11, Kenny Bethea 9, Trishtan Johnson 9, Kyle Baker 2, Justin Thompson 2, Peyton Brady 2, Adam Dummer 2.
BLUE DEVILS: Adam Lawing 25, Anthony Bourne 15, Vantrel England 15, D. Kennedy 6, P. McClain 6, B. Wise 6, D. Byrd 4, J. England 3, J. Goodson 3, Z. Welch 3, J. Hanvey 2, M. Young 2.
by David Keever