PUMPKIN CENTER â€” The Lincolnton Wolves jumped out to a 17-13 first-quarter lead over the North Lincoln Knights on Friday, a lead that they wouldnâ€™t relinquish on their way to a 60-52 Southern Piedmont Conference win.
The Wolves have won 12 straight, a streak that began in mid-December with a 69-46 win over the Knights.
The two teams met once more during the regular season, in the first round of the Peoples Bank Holiday Tournament at Bandys High School on December 29, where the Wolves took a 59-42 victory.
Seniors Jalen Littlejohn and Jonathan Gidney paced the Wolves with 15 points each, while North Lincolnâ€™s Gray Brotherton led the Knights with 16 points.
With four games left in the regular season, the Knights are currently tied for third place in the conference standings, with a 5-5 record, with Lake Norman Charter and East Lincoln.
North Lincoln opened Fridayâ€™s game with a 6-1 run, touched off by a one-handed layup by Travis Cannon, followed by two field goals Landon Yarborough.
The Knightsâ€™ lead was short-lived, after a field goal by Gidney and two jumpers by Lorenzo Carter put the Wolves up 7-6. North Lincolnâ€™s Christian Ramos responded with a 3-pointer, but was answered by field goals from Michael Cunningham and Jonathan Sherrill for Lincolnton.
Cannon opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to cut Lincolntonâ€™s lead to 17-16 but, as was the story throughout the game, Lincolnton answered with a 3-pointer from Alonzo Mobley to give the Wolves a 20-16 lead. The Knights ratcheted up their defense in the second quarter, allowing only 13 points to the Wolves, but were able to muster just 11 points of their own to go into halftime down 30-24.
The first three quarters proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Both teams put 17 points on the board during the final eight minutes of play, but the Wolves had already solidified a 12-point advantage.
Brotherton logged a double-double during the game for the Knights, with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ramos had seven assists for North Lincoln.
The Wolves travel to Highland Tech on Tuesday for what may be their toughest conference matchup of the season. Highland Tech, firmly in second place in the Southern Piedmont Conference, defeated Bessemer City 63-61 on Friday. The Wolves defeated Highland Tech 70-54 at Lincolnton on January 3.
The Knights, who have lost two straight, host Bessemer City on Tuesday.