It was quite a two days for Alyssa Lowe.
No, she didnâ€™t set the nets on fire in a 12-point performance against West Lincoln in the Peoples Bank Holiday Clashâ€™s Championship game, but she did make arguably the biggest shot in the Knightsâ€™ 45-40 victory.
With two and half minutes remaining, Lowe nailed a three-pointer that gave the Knights (5-6, 2-0) their first lead of the game 38-37.
â€œI was pretty confident that it was going in. After I made that shot, it really boosted our energy up and got the crowd into it too,â€ Lowe said.
Sophomore Kayla Alexander, who had 12 points, followed Loweâ€™s shot with a jumper and two free throws to help seal the deal.
Jessie Watts and Sara Elmore both turned in strong performances for the Lady Rebels, finishing with 13 points and 12 points, respectively.
â€œIt was a tremendous win for the kids. I was so happy for them. We had finished fourth the first year and third last year,â€ North Lincoln head coach Mark Lackey said.
While the coach and players were ecstatic with the victory, it was a goal they set for this yearâ€™s tournament.
â€œThis year, it was kind one of our goals to make it to the championship game of this tournament. We were fortunate enough to win it which was a big feather in the kidsâ€™ cap,â€ Lackey said.
When asked, other than the victory and Loweâ€™s 1,000 point scored, if anything else stood out, Lackey said:
â€œOne of the things that made it very special is we played well during the tournament. Lincolnton is a good basketball team, we felt fortunate to come out and win that basketball game,â€ he said of his first round matchup, complimenting Wolvesâ€™ head coach Franklin Lowery in the process.
West Lincoln jumped out to a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Lady Knights responded with a 15-point second quarter to whittle the lead to 21-18 at the half.
Although, North won the championship, Lackey had high praise for head coach Jaime Boyles-Honbaier.
â€œThey have improved tremendously since we played them on the 16th. They have made such an improvement over the last couple of weeks. Theyâ€™re going to be reckoned with in the conference,â€ he said. â€œJaime and Tom (Sain) have done a great job with those kids.â€
â€œI think it will be really a big boost going into conference play. I think it will help our team have more confidence. We go out hard every game, work as a team and do our best,â€ Lowe said.
West vs. North Lincoln men (Third-place game)
The North Lincoln Knights suffered their second heartbreaking loss in as many nights as they fell to West Lincoln Friday night in the Peoples Bank Holiday Clashâ€™s third-place game 58-54 in overtime.
The Rebels outscored the Knights 8-4 in the extra session to come up with the win.
Daniel Payseur exploded for 25 points for the Rebels, while leading scorer Ben Poole complemented Payseur with 14 of his own. Casey Gee scored a season-high 11 points in the win.
â€œDaniel has played pretty well for us all year long. It was just a matter of time he would have a game like this,â€ West Lincoln head coach Chad Wright said.
Adrian Arruza and Kenny Bethea, in his second game back from an ankle injury, led North Lincoln with 13 points each. Alex Loftin and David Ward also were in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively.
Wright was happy his team could bounce back after a first-round loss to capture third place.
â€œIt says a lot about our character that we can bounce back after not playing very well Thursday night,â€ he said.
Lincolnton avenged an earlier loss to North Gaston by taking third place with a score of 42-41 in the Peoples Bank Holiday Clash Friday night.
The Lady Wolves, who have one senior, center Hannah Parker, and just three players with any previous varsity experience, continue their learning curve as they enter the heart of the Southern Piedmont Conference schedule.
â€œIâ€™ve seen some improvement. They played with heart and determination today. Theyâ€™re still learning,â€ Wolves head coach Franklin Lowery said.
Lowery felt the previous nightâ€™s lopsided loss to North Lincoln served as good motivation.
â€œI think the kids were somewhat embarrassed by the margin we lost to North Lincoln. Theyâ€™re young, but Iâ€™m real pleased with their effort,â€ he said of his team. â€œAnytime you get a win, youâ€™re happy about it.â€
East Lincoln women
Mooresvilleâ€™s Chandler Elliotâ€™s 17 points helped lead her team past East Lincoln 49-33 to finish seventh in the First Charter Holiday Classic Friday night.
Courtney Abraham also finished in double figures with 11 points for the Lady Blue Devils. Krista Moore led the Lady Mustangs with 13 points, while Sarah Webb chipped in with seven.
East Lincoln went 0-3 in this yearâ€™s tournament.
by John Mark Brooks