North Lincoln will look to get the bad taste out of its mouth after a disappointing early exit at the hands of West Lincoln in the second round of the Southern Piedmont Conference tournament.
East Davidson (15-11) may be the team to help them do just that Monday night on the Lady Knightsâ€™ home floor.
The Lady Golden Eagles of the Central Carolina finished third in the regular season and are very versatile. The team North Lincoln head coach Mark Lackey calls â€˜a big team,â€™ also has the ability to penetrate and all five players can stroke the three.
On defense, the Golden Eagles will play man-to-man and switch to a 1-2-2 zone on occasion. The Golden Eagles had to play West Davidson in a tie-breaker game with a 2A State playoff berth at stake.
Instead of dwelling on not reaching the championship, Lackey and company are focusing on the opportunity they have at present.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t the way we had hoped it would go, but our focus is now on the playoffs. West Lincoln came in and outplayed us down the stretch. They played hard and my hat goes off to them,â€ Lackey said. â€œYou have new life, but you donâ€™t get a chance to see that team. You donâ€™t have a chance to go scout them extensively. You go in blind,â€ he added.
As is the case, when you head embark on a journey blinded, Monday nightâ€™s game figures to a situation where you expect the unexpected.
â€œThe first-round game is always nerve-racking, but I expect us to come out and play well. With the exception of the East Lincoln game, weâ€™ve played pretty good basketball up until the fourth quarter,â€ Lackey said.
Caroline Farris (6 points, 8 assists) will look to get the basketball to Alyssa Lowe (17 ppg, 5 assists) and Kayla Alexander (11 ppg, five rebounds), as well as freshman Ashley Thackeray, who has come on as of late.
West Lincoln will make its first state playoff basketball appearance in quite some time against North Rowan (20-4).
The Lady Rebels finished as the Southern Piedmont Conference tournament runner-up and won eight of their last 10 games to close out the season.
With Sara Elmore a double-double threat each time she takes the floor and freshman Kayda Caldwell continuing to emerge, itâ€™s not a far-fetched idea to think the Lady Rebels could pull off the upset.
Knowing West Lincoln head coach Jaime Honbaier and assistant Tom Sain, the Rebels will be well prepared. But playing on the road in the playoffs is always a tough task.
Regardless of how the game turns out, Honbaier has West Lincolnâ€™s program headed in the right direction and the Lady Rebels have had an excellent season despite starting with low expectations put on them.
by John Mark Brooks