Special to LTN
PUMPKIN CENTER â€” North Lincoln coach Lynn Rhyne was eager to find out how her team would adjust without senior floor leader Stephanie Wooten in the lineup Tuesday night.
While her Lady Knights earned their sixth consecutive win, the 35-point victory was not what she envisioned.
â€œWe had to adjust and we did not adjust well,â€ said Rhyne of her teamâ€™s 46-11 win against Highland Tech. â€œThatâ€™s my take on that one.â€
Wooten was sidelined Tuesday after receving 11 staples in the back of her head when she was injured last Friday night against Cherryville. The teamâ€™s second-leading scorer and assists leader is also expected to miss Fridayâ€™s home game against Lincolnton.
Without her against Highland Tech, North Lincoln struggled to find its rhythm on offense after it had scored 90-plus points in three of its past five games.
â€œI think we kind of got into their routine instead of getting into our routine,â€ Rhyne said. â€œI think we were a little bit out of sync. They have to play five on the floor. Stephanie is a great leader, she gets them started, but theyâ€™re going to have to step up, too.â€
The usually explosive Lady Knights led just 6-2 after the first quarter and 16-4 at the half. They connected on just seven first-half field goals and were 1 of 10 from three-point range. Antaijah Easter scored six first-half points, but was sidelined much of the second quarter after picking up three first-quarter fouls.
Lacey Miller scored four consecutive points and Lainey Livernois and Nicole Paysour sank three-pointers as North Lincoln extended the lead to 28-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Payton Bruce scored six points, Sarah Barr added five and Kayla Burchettâ€™s jumper capped a 16-2 run that gave the Knights their biggest lead of the night, 44-8, with just less than two minutes to play.
Even though North Lincoln struggled offensively â€” no players scored in double figures â€” the Rams never threatened. Highland Tech (6-9, 4-5 in Southern Piedmont) played without its top scorer, Mikalia Butler, who missed the game for personal reasons. Without Butler, Highland Tech had few options offensively and made just 4 of 51 field-goal attempts.
Easter and Lauren Armstrong led North Lincoln (13-4, 9-0) with eight points each, while Miller and Bruce chipped in six.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have to make some adjustments,â€ Rhyne said. â€œWeâ€™re going to have to get everybody back motivated.â€