LINCOLNTON â€” The Lincolnton Lady Wolves had a 35-22 lead over the Lake Norman Charter Lady Knights after the first half of play on Friday.
Unfortunately for the Lady Wolves (9-6, 5-3 SPC), that lead was not sustainable through the final 16 minutes of play, as Lincolnton dropped the Southern Piedmont Conference contest 56-52.
â€œThey killed us on the boards in the second half,â€ Lincolnton head coach Jimmy Carr said. â€œWhen we played good defense they shot it and we missed box-outs, and theyâ€™d put it back in.â€
The Lady Wolves were without junior Bridget Derr in Fridayâ€™s game, who Carr described as a â€œdifference makerâ€ for his team. Derr averaged 11 rebounds per game before Fridayâ€™s contest to lead the Lady Wolves.
Senior guard Chelsea Slentz led the Lady Wolves in scoring with 15 points, followed by junior Treasure Averyâ€™s 13 points. Ezinne Mbamalu led the Lady Knights with 19 points.
The Lady Wolves started the game strong, amassing a 12-3 lead in the opening minutes of play. As the first quarter came to a close, the Lady Knights closed the gap to 12-8, before a 3-pointer by Slentz with 40 seconds left to play and another 3-pointer by Brie Steward at the buzzer gave the Lady Wolves an 18-8 lead.
Lincolntonâ€™s success from beyond the 3-point line was a welcome change from the Lady Wolvesâ€™ shooting performance in their 26-21 loss to West Lincoln on January 13.
â€œWe were 0-38 on 3-pointers against West Lincoln, we missed every one we shot,â€ Carr said. â€œI donâ€™t know if it was because it was Friday the 13th or what, but Iâ€™ve never been involved with or seen anything like that. I knew it was going to be kind of mental going out there today, because we had talked about that last game. It was a relief when they started falling today, because I didnâ€™t know how we were going to rebound from that last game.â€
The Lady Knights scored 34 points in the second half, while allowing on 17 points to the Lady Wolves. Lake Norman Charter went on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter to cut the gap to one point, 37-36.
Averyâ€™s field goal with two minutes left in the third quarter was followed by a layup by Alex Busch for the Lady Knights to hold Lincolnton to a one-point lead. Steward logged another 3-pointer, on an assist from Avery with a minute left in the third to push Lincolntonâ€™s lead to five points, but Mbamalu hit a field goal with 30 seconds left in the quarter to make it a two-point game.
Lake Norman Charterâ€™s Brittany Buckstad drained a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Lady Knights a 43-42 lead. Avery answered with a field goal at the six-minute mark to push the score back into Lincolntonâ€™s favor, and Sydney Devine added two points on free throws with four minutes left to play to give the Lady Wolves a 46-43 lead.
Seconds later, Buckstad hit another 3-pointer to tie the game at 46-46, and touched off an 11-0 run that effectively sealed a win for the Lady Knights.