PUMPKIN CENTER — The North Lincoln Knights boys varsity basketball team started the season by winning six of its first seven games.
But the team has hit a three-game skid, taking a 6-4 overall record into the 2012 Peoples Bank Holiday Clash on Thursday, but those three losses might not reflect much more than a run of bad luck.
The Knights fell to Alexander Central 41-36 on Dec. 14, lost narrowly to Highland Tech 73-69 in overtime on Dec. 18 and fell to Lincolnton 67-59 on Friday. The Knights, who average 63 points per game, opened the season with two-game sweeps of Bunker Hill and Maiden, fell to Bandys and beat South Iredell and North Gaston.
North Lincoln head coach Eric King said he hopes to see improvement from his defense, which has allowed nearly 51 points per game.
“We’ve been inconsistent,” he said, “and there have been times where our defense is where I want it to be and times when it isn’t. It’s a struggle to put together four consistent quarters of defense.”
The Knights have seven seniors on its 14-man roster. They’ve had their best offensive luck when they can get the ball into the hands of senior Hunter Caldwell, who leads the team with 13.1 points per game. Senior guard Christian Ramos is averaging 10.1 points per game.
“Offensively we’re trying to find some rhythm between the guys,” King said. “Even though we have quite a few returners there are a lot of guys adjusting to new spots and new roles. I don’t think we’ve found our rhythm yet.”
Caldwell had made 42 percent of his field goals and is second on the team in free throw shooting at 69 percent.
Two players learning new roles for the Knights are sophomore center Landon Yarbrough and junior center Chase Stehling. Stehling leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game, followed closely by Yarbrough’s 6.8 rebounds per game.
“We’re building. Any time you have new guys in new roles you have to work on the chemistry and build on that,” King said. “We’re getting there. A lot of them have played together for a long time.”
Yarbrough (6-foot-3, 195 lbs.) and Stehling (6-foot-4, 225 lbs.) are the two biggest players on the Knights’ roster.
“With our size and our experience I think they have the ability to be very good defensively,” King said. “It’s about being consistent. We have the ability to be a very good defensive team when we work together.”