Special to LTN
LINCOLNTON â€” By the time Cherryville figured out how to contain Lincolntonâ€™s Chelsea Slentz on Monday night, it was too late.
The Lady Wolvesâ€™ senior sharpshooter scored 17 points, but just three in the second half when the Lady Ironmen deployed a box-and-one defense against her. Regardless, it was too late as Slentzâ€™s first-half barrage helped Lincolnton build a 10-point halftime lead and Treasure Avery made sure it stayed that way in the second half as the Lady Wolves pulled away for a 58-41 victory.
With the win, Lincolnton advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference tournament. The Lady Wolves (15-7, 11-4 SPC) will play Lake Norman Charter today at North Lincoln.
â€œI was glad that Chelsea showed up in the first half because a lot of us didnâ€™t,â€ Lincolnton coach Jimmy Carr said. â€œThey also did a good job of getting her the ball. We always talk about if we find a hot hand, keep feeding them the ball and theyâ€™re going to keep knocking down shots.â€
Slentz hit 4 of 9 three-pointers in the first half. She took just one shotâ€”she buried another three-pointerâ€”in the second half. Thatâ€™s when Avery stepped in and led the Lady Wolves to 34 second-half points.
Avery scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half mostly on an array of drives to the basket. She connected on 8 of 9 free throws as well.
â€œWe started off a little slow, but I saw that Chelsea was hot so I kept trying to get her the ball,â€ Avery said. â€œOnce I saw them playing two people on Chelsea, I started taking it to the hole.â€
Cherryvilleâ€™s Lauren Graham scored the final four points of the third quarter to pull Cherryville (14-11, 6-9 SPC) to within 37-30. But Lincolnton opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach. Sydney Devine hit the second of her two three-pointers and Avery scored on back-to-back drives to the basket to make it 44-30.
Graham led Cherryville with 19 points before fouling out with 1:11 remaining.
Devine scored six points in support of Slentz and Avery, while Bridget Derr also added six.
Carr expects a tough one tonight against Lake Norman Charter. The two teams split during the regular season.
â€œWeâ€™ll go to North and know that itâ€™s going to be us against the world. There probably arenâ€™t too many people down there pulling for Lincolnton,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s our mentality right now. We just want to go and think that itâ€™s us against everyone else and we want to go in there with a chip on our shoulder and hopefully knock off Lake Norman.â€