Special to LTN
LINCOLNTON â€” Lincolnton head coach Jimmy Carr did not want to see a repeat performance of his teamâ€™s matchup against West Lincoln from last month.
Not only did the Lady Rebels win Round 1 on that Jan. 13 night, the Lady Wolves had a nightmare of a shooting performance, misfiring on all of their 38 three-point attempts.
But 31 seconds into Friday nightâ€™s rematch with West Lincoln, Lincolnton senior Chelsea Slentz made sure at least one of those things wasnâ€™t going to repeat itself.
Slentz drained a three-pointer from the corner to open the game and didnâ€™t stop there as she scored a game-high 19 points to lift Lincolnton to a 41-30 victory.
â€œAs soon as we came out and she hit that first one I knew theyâ€™d settle down because last time we played them, we missed a whole lot of shots,â€ said Carr, whose team made 3 of 14 three-pointers. â€œWe were open but we just missed a lot of them. It was good to go ahead and get that one knocked down.â€
The Lady Wolves (14-7, 10-4) locked up the No. 3 seed in the Southern Piedmont and play No. 6 seed Cherryville at home Monday at 6 p.m. Lincolnton swept the season series, winning 65-42 at home and narrowly escaping the Lady Ironmen last week, 39-37.
West Lincoln (8-14, 7-7) is the No. 4 seed and plays at home Monday against No. 5 seed Highland Tech at 7 p.m. The Lady Rebels split their season series against the Rams, winning 36-30 at home on Jan. 20 and losing on the road, 49-35, in December.
On Friday night, Lincolnton led the hard-fought game nearly from start to finish. After Slentz gave the Lady Wolves a 3-0 advantage, Erica Webb hit two free threws and Molly Leatherman scored inside to give West Lincoln its only lead of the game, 4-3.
Slentz scored 10 first-half points and West Lincoln hit just 3 of 21 first-half shots as Lincolnton pulled ahead 15-8 at halftime.
Webbâ€™s layup with 5:09 left in the game cut Lincolntonâ€™s lead to 24-17, but that was as close as the Lady Rebels would get. West Lincoln continually fouled in the final five minutes and sent Lincolnton to the foul line 28 times. The Lady Wolves connected on 17 of themâ€”Slentz was 5 of 6 and Treasure Avery (seven points) hit 5 of 8 in the quarter.
â€œYou get to the point where itâ€™s a little bit ridiculous when itâ€™s played like that,â€ Carr said of the final quarter. â€œItâ€™s no funâ€”just seeing who can push who aroundâ€”itâ€™s not basketball. Iâ€™m just glad that no one got hurt, we survived and hopefully we wonâ€™t have to play them anymore this year.â€
Webb led West Lincoln with nine points, while Brook Hudson added seven.