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Wolves drop 2OT thriller to second-place Highland Tech

Lincolnton’s Michael Cunningham drives down the court during Tuesday’s game.

Sports Writer

GASTONIA — The Lincolnton Wolves (15-3, 10-1 SPC) felt an unfamiliar sensation after Tuesday’s Southern Piedmont Conference game against the Highland Tech Rams — defeat.
After being down 24-17 at halftime the Wolves battled back to take the game into overtime tied 46-46, but the Rams executed in the second overtime period to take a 60-56 win.
Lincolnton had not dropped a conference game before Tuesday’s matchup with the Rams (12-5, 9-2 SPC), and still have a good chance to claim the conference title.
Lorenzo Carter led the Wolves in scoring with 24 points, including seven 3-pointers. Carter hit nothing but long-range shots until the third quarter, when he converted a 2-point play with 2:25 left in the period. Michael Cunningham finished second for the Wolves with 17 points, nine coming from free throws.
The Rams jumped out to a 4-0 first-quarter lead until Carter’s first 3-pointer got the Wolves on the board with 3:45 left in the first. Lincolnton was 0-6 from the field during the opening four minutes of play, but quickly brought the score to 9-9 by the end of the first with field goals by Cunningham, Jonathan Sherrill and Jonathan Gidney.
The Rams went on a 9-0 run to close out the second quarter and move into the halftime break up 24-17, but the lead was quickly erased by the Wolves in the third on the strength of two 3-pointers by Carter and field goals by Jalen Littlejohn and Sherrill. The teams entered the fourth quarter knotted at 33-33.
Highland Tech took a 37-33 lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Carter followed by a jumper from Gidney put the Wolves up 38-37. Lincolnton took a 40-37 lead with two free throws by Cunningham, and had created a six-point lead with 3:48 left in the game. The Rams closed the gap, and a field goal by Josh Neely with 17 seconds of regulation play left sent the game into its first overtime period.
Carter gave the Wolves an early overtime lead with a 3-pointer, but the Rams responded and took a 51-49 lead with less than a minute to play. Carter was fouled on a desperation jumper with less than one second left in the period, and made one of his three free throw attempts to push the game into the second overtime session.
Sherrill gave the Wolves a 54-53 lead 30 seconds into the final overtime period that was quickly erased by a 3-pointer by Highland Tech’s Jevon Patton. Cunningham tied the game at 56-56 with free throws, but Patton gave the Rams the lead moments later with two free throws of his own.
Kameron Harper nailed two more free throws for the Rams for a 60-56 lead that put the Wolves out of contention.
Lincolnton hosts East Lincoln on Friday, while Highland Tech travels to Lake Norman Charter. Lincolnton defeated the Mustangs 62-50 in early January.

Lincolnton’s Lorenzo Carter defends against Highland Tech’s Kameron Harper during Tuesday’s game.

Lincolnton’s Jalen Littlejohn squares off with a Highland Tech player.

Image courtesy of Nayeli Ramirez / LTN

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