Special to LTN
PUMPKIN CENTER — Lincolnton boys varsity basketball coach Bob Cowie couldn’t help but smile a little after Friday night’s 60-47 road victory against North Lincoln.
After all, there were plenty of things about the way his Wolves played to make him happy.
— Nine players scored with senior Alonzo Mobley leading the way for the Wolves with 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and 5 of 6 from the foul line.
— Five players sank 3-pointers.
— Lincolnton shot 48.8 percent from the field and made 15 of 20 free throws, including 8 of 10 in the final quarter.
“We talked about having to make sure that we played well tonight,” said Cowie, whose team beat North Lincoln 67-59 earlier this season. “We had to be ready because we knew North Lincoln was going to play well, and they did. We had a lot of people contribute in the first half, and that gave us a lift. We played mentally tough in a difficult atmosphere.”
In the second quarter, Cowie went deep into his bench. Mobley picked up his second foul early in the quarter and went to the bench. But the Wolves didn’t skip a beat offensively.
Case in point: a three-minute stretch midway through the quarter.
After North Lincoln’s Terrell McClain hit a 3-pointer to give the Knights a 16-15 lead, Lincolnton freshman Jordon Easter answered with a 3-pointer of his own. McClain (eight points) then hit another 3-pointer, but this time, D.J. Cunningham (13 points) answered with a three of his own to give the lead back to Lincolnton, 21-19. Not to be outdone, Hunter Caldwell (13 points) hit a three in the corner to put North Lincoln back on top, 22-21. But Quinlyn Harris (seven points) hit a driving layup, Colby Pridmore nailed a pair of free throws and Cunningham hit a 15-foot jumper to give the Wolves a 27-22 lead and they never trailed again.
In the third quarter, Caldwell’s basket with 5:56 left cut Lincolnton’s lead to 36-31, but Mobley’s putback and a layup and free throw built the advantage up to 41-31 and the Knights didn’t get closer than eight the rest of the game.
In the second half, 14 of Lincolnton’s 26 points came in the paint and another eight came on free throws and the Wolves’ shot selection was as good as it’s been all season.
“We did the right thing, for the most part,” Cowie said. “And when we got our lead toward the end, with about three or four minutes, we went to a slow-down, caution game and were able to hit some free throws and end up the game. Overall, I was very pleased.”
The Wolves improved to 10-8 overall and 6-4 in Southern Piedmont play, while the Knights fell to 9-11 and 2-8.
“In the past, we’ve really had teams that could go up and down the floor and score and that’s just not the strength of this team,” Cowie said. “To beat the good teams that we want to beat we’ve got to play more of a halfcourt game and take our opportunities selectively on the fast break.”