MAIDEN — The first win is sometimes the toughest one to get.
The Lincolnton Wolves mens varsity basketball team (1-2) used a 23-point first quarter to take their first win of the season, 63-51 over the Maiden Blue Devils on Friday.
Junior D.J. Cunningham (20 points) caught fire early and logged 13 first-quarter points to stake the Wolves to a 23-7 lead after the first period.
“He (Cunningham) has a lot of ability,” Lincolnton head coach Bob Cowie said. “He’s young and inexperienced but he does a lot of good things on the basketball court. He’s like the rest of us — when we start eliminating some of our mistakes we’re all going to improve.”
The Wolves needed a big opening quarter to keep pace with the Blue Devils. Maiden outscored the Wolves 10-7 in the second quarter and went on an 8-1 run to open the period. Lincolnton held a 30-17 halftime lead.
Lincolnton’s Will Saine got the team on the board one minute into the first quarter with a free throw. Less than a minute later Cunningham hit a 3-pointer and then a layup off a steal by Quinlyn Harris (5 points) to give the Wolves a 6-0 lead. Grant Yowe hit a short jumper to get Maiden on the board, but Saine, Cunningham and senior Alonzo Mobley all added two points each before Maiden scored again.
Cunningham scored six of Lincolnton’s nine points in the last three minutes of the first quarter.
“There are times when we do some good things,” Cowie said. “We’ve been talking about making sure that when we do a good thing we don’t go down the floor and do something that’s not so good. If we can continue to eliminate some of the mistakes we’ve made — physical mistakes and mental mistakes — we’re going to continue to get better.”
The Wolves extended their lead farther in the third quarter, and outscored the Blue Devils 11-8.
Mobley (16 points) drained a 3-pointer 20 seconds after the halftime break and Saine (7 points) followed his score with a layup to put Lincolnton ahead 35-17. Ketawan Ingram drove in the lane for a layup at the buzzer to give Lincolnton a 41-25 lead before the final frame.
The Wolves were outscored 26-22 in the fourth quarter but held on for the win. Maiden came within 10 points of Lincolnton when Tyler Steelman hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the game but Mobley’s layup a minute later widened the gap.
Mobley scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves travel to Forestview on Wednesday.