PUMPKIN CENTER â€” The North Lincoln Lady Knights maintained their Southern Piedmont Conference dominance with a 53-46 win over the Lincolnton Lady Wolves on Friday.
The Lady Knights are now 10-0 in Southern Piedmont Conference play with four games left in the regular season. The Lady Wolves are currently tied for third place with the West Lincoln Lady Rebels, behind Lake Norman Charterâ€™s 7-3 conference record.
The Lady Wolves played close with North Lincoln through three quarters of the game, including a 37-37 tie at the end of the third quarter. North Lincoln put 16 points on the board in the fourth, while limiting Lincolnton to nine points.
â€œWe played with them last time we played them, through three quarters,â€ Lincolnton head coach Jimmy Carr said.
â€œBut that confidence level they had going into the fourth was such a mental block for us. We battled and battled with them and it seemed like the ball would just bounce their way. We didnâ€™t give up or anything like that, North Lincoln just knows how to win.â€
Both teams started the game slowly, with the Lady Wolves taking a 3-1 lead after four minutes of play.
North Lincolnâ€™s Lacey Miller knotted the game at 3-3 with a put-back that was followed up by a 3-point play by Antaijah Easter to give the Lady Knights a 6-3 lead. Maggie Robinson drained a 3-pointer for the Lady Knights to put North Lincoln ahead 9-3.
Lincolntonâ€™s Bridget Derr closed the gap with a pair of field goals and a free throw to cut North Lincolnâ€™s lead to 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams put nine points on the board in the second quarter. North Lincoln went on a 6-0 run through the first three minutes of the second, but Lincolntonâ€™s Chelsea Slentz hit two free throws and a jumper to tie the game at 17-17.
North Lincolnâ€™s Lauren Armstrong added a pair of free throws with 24 seconds before halftime to give the Lady Knights a 19-17 lead.
Lincolnton had a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 31-27 lead. North Lincoln responded in kind, with an 8-0 run that was snapped by a jumper from Lincolnton junior Treasure Avery. Avery closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game.
The Lady Wolves took an early lead in the fourth quarter after a 3-point play by Slentz. The Lady Knights responded with another 8-0 run that took nearly five minutes off of the clock. Lincolnton battled back, closing the gap to 46-43 with just under three minutes left to play, but six unanswered points by the Lady Knights in the waning moments of the game put it out of reach for the Lady Wolves.
North Lincoln hosts Bessemer City on Tuesday. Bessemer City, planted at the bottom of the Southern Piedmont Conference rankings with an 0-10 conference record, fell to the Lady Knights 98-23 earlier in the season.
Lincolnton travels to Highland Tech on Tuesday. The Lady Wolves defeated Highland Tech 51-31 in early January.