North Gaston used balanced scoring and a 23-point first quarter to springboard itself to a 66-50 victory in the first round of the third annual Peoples Bank Holiday Clash Thursday night.
Princeton Brooks, a standout running back, paced the Wildcats with 19 points, while Gevin Allison added 13. D.J. Shives also was in double figures with 11.
West Lincoln whittled North Gastonâ€™s lead, which at one point had been 22, down to 10, courtesy of a Jake Wattsâ€™ layup with under four minutes to play.
Junior Ben Poole led the Rebels with 15 points. Daniel Payseur contributed nine points, while Casey Gee had seven off the bench.
Along with Gee, West Lincoln head coach Chad Wright was pleased with the play of his bench.
â€œItâ€™s hard to be upset when guys like Tyler Swafford, Clay Rayfield and Seth Wallace come in and give the type of energy they gave in the fourth quarter,â€ he said.
The Wildcats advance to face Lincolnton tonight in the menâ€™s championship for the third consecutive year. West Lincoln will face North Lincoln in the consolation game.
â€œWe turned the ball over too much and weâ€™re too inconsistent with our defensive efforts to be the kind of ball club we want to be,â€ Wright said.
West Lincoln is now 3-7 on the season with a 1-1 Southern Piedmont mark.
East Lincoln women
Bandys defeated East Lincoln 69-40 Thursday night behind 16 points from Savannah Huffman.
Katie Houser scored 15, while Ryeleigh Loftin contributed 14 for the Lady Trojans.
Sarah Webb scored a game-high 18, while Krista Moore netted 14.
With their second loss in as many nights, the Mustangs will face Mooresville in the seventh-place game at 10 a.m. today.
East Lincoln fell to Hopewell 80-47 Wednesday night in the opening night of the tournament.
Amber Holt scored a game-high 24 points for the Lady Titans, while Brenda Shephard added 19.
Moore led the Lady Mustangs with 15 points. Webb, her teammate, added 13 in the losing cause.
by John Mark Brooks