Lincolnton head coach Bob Cowie had one goal for his team entering Thursday nightâ€™s second round of the 2A State Basketball playoffs, play hard.
His team accomplished that, but matched up against two division 1 talents, effort isnâ€™t always enough as the Wolves found out in a 71-51 defeat to Forest Hills.
â€œOur main goal was to go out and compete hard and not back down. We played as hard as we have in any game this season,â€ Cowie said.
Juniors Dorenzo Hudson and J.T. Thompson showed why theyâ€™re garnering plenty of attention from college scouts with Hudson, a 6-foot-4 wing scoring a game-high 25 and Thompson complementing him with 19 points, 10 boards and five blocks.
Hudson did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 20 points.
â€œTheyâ€™re two of the most talented high school players Iâ€™ve ever had to coach against, no doubt. When you have both of those talents on the same team, thatâ€™s obviously something special,â€ Cowie said of the gifted duo.
Seniors Zack Gibson, sparkplug Demory Williams and Matt Wright played their final prep game Thursday night in Marshville. Lance Friday, who was hoping to play, missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury.
â€œTheyâ€™re four fine young men, basketball aside. Theyâ€™ve all four done everything Iâ€™ve asked them to do and certainly none of them have ever been a problem off the court,â€ Cowie said. â€œFrom a coaching standpoint, I certainly appreciate what each of those individuals have given the last four years,â€ he added.
Gibson, Friday and Williams, the teamâ€™s captains, led with their mouths and by example, actions appreciated by their coach.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been our leaders both during games and practices,â€ Cowie said.
In fact, the talented trio, was a big reason the Wolves went 19-6 after beginning the season a month late due to a state runner-up finish.
â€œIf you look back, with our late start, you have to believe thatâ€™s a pretty successful season for us,â€ Cowie said.
One of the biggest things the team accomplished was not losing to an inferior opponent as the Wolves lost to East Lincoln three times, Cherryville twice and to the Yellow Jackets.
â€œThe six losses were legitimate losses to three very good teams,â€ Cowie said.
Sophomore C.J. Wilson paced Lincolnton with a season-high 15 points, while Nate Wright complemented him with 11. Gibson chipped in eight in his final high school game.
by John Mark Brooks