In another episode of Cherryvilleâ€™s caped crusaders, the Ironmen held off the Lincolnton Wolves 88-74 Tuesday.
As is the case with most every game, the talented junior dynamic duo of Justin Johnson and Cameron Lovelace was instrumental in allowing the Ironmen (18-4, 10-2) to maintain the top slot in the Southern Piedmont.
Johnsonâ€™s vision was 20/20 as he finished with 26 points and 20 boards, while Lovelace knocked down six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points.
â€œTheyâ€™re obviously very good players. They really complement each other well. Lovelace shoots it well, puts it on the floor well and Justin, inside, we canâ€™t do a lot with him. Theyâ€™re as good of players as we have in our leagueâ€”thatâ€™s for sure,â€ Wolves head coach Bob Cowie said.
Johnson believes his team got a little complacent in the third quarter, but was happy they were able to finish what they started.
â€œThatâ€™s tremendous that we came out and played like that. We had a lot of intensity in the first half. Then we slacked up a little bit, but we got it back in the second half,â€ he said.
Lovelace had 10 points in the final stanza, while Johnson had nine to deliver when their team needed them most.
â€œWe knew we had to step up in the fourth quarter. They were coming back. They had like an 8-0 run, so we knew as leaders on the team we had to step up,â€ Lovelace said.
â€œIt was a good game tonight. A good win, but now we got to come out and play even harder against Bessemer City.â€
Down by as much as 19 at one point, the Wolves (7-11, 4-8) battled back and cut the deficit to six points as late as seven minutes left in the contest at 64-58 courtesy of a Caleb Ramseur layup.
Cowie felt his team blew an opportunity just minutes before Ramseurâ€™s layup.
â€œAt the end of the third quarter, we couldâ€™ve cut it to four on a steal and a breakaway, but we missed the layup. There were several times when we were very close but didnâ€™t get a rebound or one of their guys hit a shot,â€ Cowie said.
â€œBut we certainly battled back and showed a lot of heart. They couldâ€™ve buried us and we didnâ€™t let them do that.â€
Lincolnton junior Marcus Williams (No. 40) scored a team-high 18 points for the Wolves Tuesday night. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
Marcus Williams scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Wolves, while Ramseur added 17 in the loss. Lincolnton also got some solid play from sophomore Caleb Lail, who scored a varsity-high seven points.
â€œLincolnton came back and fought real hard. They never quit. They never gave in to anything. We were blessed enough we did step up in the fourth quarter and make some big shots. Jasmine had some chances to finish early and they werenâ€™t going down, but he finished in the fourth,â€ Cherryville head coach Scott Harrill said.
Cherryville received a lift from freshman point guard Darius Howell, who made his first four 3-pointers before finishing 5-of-7 from the field and ending with 14 points.
It was a special win for the Ironmen in two waysâ€¦it allows them to stay in first place and it was Senior Night for forward Jasmine Brooks and guard Daniel Martin.
â€œSenior night is a fun night, but itâ€™s a sad night in a way in the way that you know their career is winding down to the end. Our program we try to treat like a family. Whether you play one year, two year or four years, youâ€™re still part of the family. Thatâ€™s what we try to stress to the kids,â€ Harrill said.
â€œI think we have a lot of kids who come back over the years because of that. Thatâ€™s what Jasmine and Daniel are to usâ€”family.â€
by John Mark Brooks