Special to LTN
LINCOLNTON — For three and a half quarters Friday night, Lincolnton couldn’t shake Maiden. The Lady Wolves had only trailed once — when the Lady Blue Devils scored the game’s opening basket — and led by as many as 12 points.
But every time Lincolnton threatened to put the game away, cold shooting crept in and Maiden fought its way back into contention.
That’s when the Lady Wolves turned to Bridget Derr.
The senior forward scored eight of her game-high 18 points in a two-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter as Lincolnton beat Maiden for the second time within a week, 46-32.
“Bridget is real good down low,” said Lincolnton’s Treasure Avery, who added 12 points and 10 rebounds. “We tried to get her the ball as much as possible, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. We always try to feed the post and get the post involved in the game. She needs to keep doing that down there because she’s helping out a lot.”
The Lady Wolves improved to 2-2 and begin Southern Piedmont Conference play Tuesday at Bessemer City.
The two teams struggled offensively in the first half. Twice Lincolnton stretched its lead to nine points in the second quarter, but both times, Maiden fought back. Derr’s putback off her own miss with 1:16 left in the half gave the Lady Wolves a 24-18 lead at the half.
Derr gave a glimpse of what was to come later in the game to start the second half. She sank two free throws, scored in the post after blocking a shot on defense and added a basket after an offensive rebound to cap a 6-0 run to start the third quarter. The Lady Wolves led 30-18, but Maiden (2-4) closed the quarter on a 10-4 run to close the gap to 34-28.
Sabrina Gaither’s layup with 4:24 left in the game brought Maiden to within 36-30, but that’s when the Lady Wolves turned to Derr again. She scored back-to-back baskets off assists from Alexis Killian and then two more from Jada Mayo passes and the game was over with Lincolnton leading 44-30 with 1:24 left.
“Coach (Jimmy Carr) said in the locker room that (Bridget) is scoring 80 percent of the time, so we need her and we need the rest of the team to make it a successful season,” Avery said. “We may start out strong, but we have to carry that through the whole game and keep the intensity up — maximum intensity.”