By MICHAEL HUGHES
VALE –– Friday’s early-season contests at West Lincoln showed that more work on the hardwood is needed before area basketball teams reach peak performance.
In Friday’s varsity action among boys, visiting North Lincoln gave as much as it took in thumping the Rebels, 72-58.
Knights junior Landon Yarborough had his second double-double in November with 21 points and 18 rebounds. Senior Chase Stehling had 11 points and 10 boards as the two posts dominated the glass and combined for several transition points in a fast-paced, foul-filled game.
Junior forward Reid Anderson contributed 14 points for North Lincoln.
“I think that West’s strategy was to run five-in, five-out, and take advantage of their defense,” said North Lincoln coach Eric King, whose team was fouled 44 times and made 35 of 71 free throws for the game. “If you fouled them you fouled them — try to create a little chaos was their game plan. For awhile it was definitely working because we struggled from the free throw line.”
Yarborough (11-for-20 FTs) and Anderson (10-for-20) had a combined 40 attempts from the charity stripe.
“It was an interesting game,” King added with a dry grin. “I don’t really want to be a part of a game like that again.”
The Knights (2-0) clung to a 24-22 lead after 25 first-quarter fouls were called and a combined 31 free throws were shot in the period, which ended with three Rebels having three fouls apiece. Rebels starter Zach Carpenter, a 6-6 pivot, fouled out with 2:13 to go in the first half.
North attempted another 22 free throws in the second quarter and moved to a 40-29 halftime lead as West Lincoln (0-1) players committed three of their four technical fouls on the night. North was assessed a technical in the fourth quarter.
“The strategy that they used wasn’t too effective, but it made for a long game,” said King.
North committed 43 turnovers in pulling out the non-conference win.
“That’s not how we want to win,” King said. “I’d say between the two teams, we’re probably pushing 80 turnovers.”
With officials making a point of emphasis on the traveling call, both teams had trouble getting an offense started from start to finish. North Lincoln relied on second-half fast-break opportunities provided by Yarborough and Stehling to pull away near the end.
“We try to get [the basketball] in their hands just to finish the play,” said King, who has five sophomores and one freshman on his 13-man roster. “It takes the pressure off the guards.”
Harry Huddleston and Garrett Starby had 11 points each to lead the Rebels’ effort.
North Lincoln faces Maiden in a home game on Tuesday. West Lincoln hosts Draughn that same evening.
WEST LINCOLN 51, NORTH LINCOLN 19
In the girls game, Madison Ferguson scored a game-high 17 points as the Rebels won their season opener.
Erin Huff and Olivia Sain added eight points each for West Lincoln (1-0), which held North Lincoln (0-2) under 20 points for its second sub-20-point game this season.
Rachel Nuhfer and Cailee Franklin led the Knights with seven points each.
West Lincoln’s JV boys won 64-56. The Rebels were led by Matt Bumgarner’s 18 points. Brandon Schesny and Dallas Bridges added 10 points each. Shaun Johnson had nine rebounds and Brown added seven.