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Mustangs finish fifth at Winter Jam

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

DENVER — The East Lincoln Mustangs boys varsity basketball team may have only fared a fifth-place finish in their annual Winter Jam Tournament this year, but not before crushing their Cabarrus County opponent, the J.M. Robinson Bulldogs, 86-68 Saturday afternoon at home.
The Lincoln County team showed fans they were on fire for a second tournament victory after topping Northern Vance 56-48 on Friday.
Junior Mustang Charlie Hills and freshman teammate Chazz Surratt each contributed 19 points apiece throughout the aggressive, fast-paced match. Both players worked together to execute successful plays, and when one of the two wasn’t busy sinking shots, he was setting up the other for a potential basket.
Hills also sent the home-team’s side into a clapping frenzy after he dunked the ball towards the end of the second quarter.
Sophomore Mustang Connor Ashley also shocked the crowd by sinking a trey in the final two seconds of the first period.
Both teams sped up and down the court, taking shot after shot, and kept the scoreboard busy during the competition.
With three treys, three 2-point baskets and one free throw, senior Tyler Brock racked up 16 points for the Mustangs, gaining most of his successful plays in the second half.
East Lincoln junior Domonique Smith secured the next highest number of points with 15 total.
While the Bulldogs only made a few 2-point shots, a trey and five free throw points in the first half, quickly falling behind their opponent 44-16 by the end of the second quarter, the squad appeared to reinvent themselves at the start of the third quarter, rushing to the ball and setting up shots at a much faster pace.
Between the third and final quarter, the visiting team scored more than quadruple the number of points they scored between the first two periods.
While they still lagged greatly behind the Mustangs during the second half, the Bulldogs were closing in on the significant score margin.
East Lincoln continued to make impressive shots with what seemed like little effort on their part.
The all-tournament team, which was announced following the championship match on Saturday, included two East Lincoln players, Charlie Hills for the men’s team and Ashlee Frazier for the women’s team.

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