Special to LTN
LINCOLNTON — Forestview coach Kevin Gurganus’ game plan entering Friday night’s game at Lincolnton was simple: apply lots of defensive pressure and keep the ball out of the hands of Wolves senior guard Treasure Avery.
Check and check.
The Jaguars did just that and spoiled the season opener for Lincolnton with a 57-34 victory.
“We knew that Treasure, in my opinion, was the key to their team and we were trying to put pressure on her and get it out of her hands and see what everybody else could do,” said Gurganus, whose team improved to 3-0. “We played them last year so I knew she was their primary ballhandler and we’re very, very strong defensively.”
Forestview, a 3A squad that won 24 games last season, swept the home-and-home series last season against the Wolves. The two teams meet again Dec. 12 at Forestview.
Lincolnton struggled offensively Friday against the Forestview pressure and was forced to play the final 10 minutes of the first half with Avery on the bench. She picked up her third foul with 1:33 remaining in the opening quarter.
Still, without its floor general, Lincolnton hung tight in the opening half. Alexis Killian scored seven of her team-high 12 points in the opening half, while Bridget Derr added five as the Wolves trailed just 25-16 at the break. The Wolves were stout on defense as well, limiting the Jaguars to eight field goals on 28 attempts.
But Forestview reeled off the first 10 points of the third quarter to take a 35-16 lead. With senior guard Lauren Smith — with help from her teammates — keying on Avery every time down the floor, the Wolves were unable to get back in the game. Avery finally got on the board with 12.1 seconds left in the third quarter with a pair of free throws. She finished with three points.
Gurganus acknowledged that Friday’s performance on the defensive end was special.
“We put a lot of pressure on teams and we’re only getting better,” said Gurganus, whose team entered the game allowing an average of 35.5 points per game. “This was the best defensively we’ve played all year.”
Lincolnton coach Jimmy Carr emptied his bench midway through the fourth quarter. Jada Mayo scored all five of her points in the final quarter, including a three-pointer.