VALE — The West Lincoln Rebels boys varsity basketball team has lost 20 games in a row but they showed heart and tenacity and nearly pulled off a major upset in a 74-68 overtime loss to the Lincolnton Wolves in the regular-season finale on Friday.
The Rebels (2-20, 0-14 Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference) pulled ahead for a 17-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game and led 25-17 at the end of the first quarter and 38-31 at halftime. The Wolves tied the game at 50-50 at the end of the third quarter with a putback from Colby Pridmore and knotted the game at 62-62 with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by senior Alonzo Mobley.
Lincolnton (12-10, 8-6) outscored West Lincoln 12-6 in the overtime period, with eight of Lincolnton’s points coming on free throws. Ketawan Ingram made a pair of free throws to open the overtime session but West Lincoln senior Brett Huff cut Lincolnton’s lead to 64-63 with a free throw moments later.
Mobley found Lincolnton’s Will Saine with a pass near the baseline to put the Wolves ahead 66-63 and then Saine made two free throws to put the Wolves up 68-63.
West Lincoln senior Alec Bruning made a layup with 2:24 left in overtime to cut Lincolnton’s lead to 68-63 but that touched off a 6-0 run by the Wolves to give them at 74-65 lead. West Lincoln senior Houston Gilmore hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left for the final score of the game.
The Rebels’ 17-0 run to open the game was bolstered by Huff’s nine points on 3-pointers. Senior forward Danny Miller added four points during the run, including West Lincoln’s first basket of the game, and Gilmore and sophomore Daniel Schesny both added two points.
Lincolnton’s Ketawan Ingram made a free throw to snap the run and Matthew Wray banked in a layup on an inbound pass from freshman Jordon Easter to cut West Lincoln’s lead to 17-3.
Bruning pulled off a spin move and a layup near the baseline to put West Lincoln up 19-3 but Lincolnton followed that score up with a 14-6 run through the rest of the first quarter. Easter and Demetris Anderson both made 3-pointers and Spencer Derr hit two treys and a 2-point basket, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to cut West Lincoln’s lead to 25-17.
Lincolnton senior Alonzo Mobley sat out the first quarter but still finished with a game-high 37 points and knocked down a layup in the opening seconds of the second quarter. Schesny made back-to-back field goals and senior forward Danny Miller hit a short jumper to put West Lincoln ahead 31-19 less than three minutes into the second.
The Wolves closed the gap with a 10-1 run in the final two minutes before halftime. Mobley added seven points with a 3-pointer, two layups and a free throw and D.J. Cunningham found a lane and made a layup to cut West Lincoln’s lead to 38-31 at halftime.
Lincolnton took its first lead of the game with three minutes left in the third quarter. Cunningham knotted the game at 43-43 with a layup and was fouled on his way to the basket and made one of his two free throw attempts to give the Wolves a 44-43 lead.
Miller made a 3-pointer to give the Rebels a 46-44 lead but Cunningham hit another layup on a fast break to knot the score at 46-46.
The Wolves took a 59-58 lead with just over two minutes left in regulation time but field goals by Gilmore and Miller put the Rebels up 62-59 with 50 seconds left in the game. Mobley hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to knot the score at 62-62. Huff attempted a last-minute shot that didn’t find the mark.
Huff led West Lincoln in scoring with 18 points. Miller added 13, Schesny scored 11 and Gilmore added 10 points.
No. 8 West Lincoln opens the Southern Piedmont Conference tournament today at No. 1 Lake Norman Charter at 7 p.m. No. 5 Lincolnton travels to No. 4 Highland Tech at 7 p.m. today.