The Lady Knights refused to look past Lincolnton Friday and their focus earned them a 73-57 victory.
North Lincoln (15-7, 11-1) will battle South Iredell (14-8, 11-) Tuesday night, but they knew for that game to mean anything they would have to get past Lincoln County rival Lincolnton (6-14, 5-7).
Sophomore Kayla Alexander paced the Lady Knights with 22 points, while senior Alyssa Lowe complemented her with 21 points. Kathryn Thorne also finished in double-figures with 10.
â€œThey (Kayla and Alyssa) got a lot of good looks. We rotated the basketball around real well in the first half, and when we do that we find a lot of open looks and we were fortunate they knocked them down,â€ North Lincoln head coach Mark Lackey said.
Entering the game, although it was tempting to look ahead, Lackey impressed upon his team the importance of not overlooking Lincolnton.
â€œWe talked about it for two days. This Lincolnton team is a good team, theyâ€™re well-coached by Coach (Franklin) Lowery, who does an excellent job leading them,â€ he said. â€œTheyâ€™ve been playing very well, took South Iredell to the wire and probably shouldâ€™ve won the basketball game. You canâ€™t let a team sneak up and beat you and this team was very capable of beating us if we didnâ€™t play well tonight,â€ he said.
Both Jessie Cline and Brittany Jones scored 15 for the Lady Wolves in the losing cause.
With Fridayâ€™s victory, the Lady Knights will welcome South Iredell to town in a battle for supremacy in the Southern Piedmont, a match-up Lackey and company have been anticipating for some time.
â€œWeâ€™ve taken it one game at a time, but in the back of our minds, itâ€™s been South Iredell and we canâ€™t wait to see them. Hopefully, weâ€™ll play well. A conference championship would be niceâ€”these kids deserve it and hopefully weâ€™ll have a shot at it,â€ Lackey said. â€œItâ€™s a game thatâ€™s going to be worth watching. I think weâ€™ll come out and play better. We did not play well over there the first time, we had too many turnovers, did not take care of the basketball and it showed.â€
by John Mark Brooks