DENVER –– Lincoln Charter’s girls basketball team finally met its match.
Ezinne Mbamalu had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and ninth-ranked Lake Norman Charter defeated Lincoln Charter 56-23 on Wednesday and handed the Eagles their first loss of the year.
For the first time this season Lincoln Charter (14-1) was simply overwhelmed, and it didn’t take long to figure out which team was coming out on top.
The Knights (15-1), ranked ninth in the latest NCPreps.com statewide 2A girls poll, began with an 11-2 run, led 18-4 at the end of the first quarter and had nearly as many offensive rebounds (21) as Lincoln Charter did total rebounds (23).
A runner by Caitlyn Miller at the 2:50 mark of the first quarter ended a 9-0 Knights run. The Eagles didn’t convert their next field goal until Madi Neesmith scored on a putback with 1:50 left in the third.
The two second-chance points –– Lincoln Charter’s only two of the game –– made it 35-9.
Miller and Neesmith led Lincoln Charter with five points apiece, and Neesmith also grabbed nine boards. But no one had an answer for Mbamalu, or the Knights on the inside.
The 6-foot-2 senior was one of three with double-figure rebounds. Jessi Harris had nine points and 10 boards, Sarah Novroski had six points and 10 boards, and Hannah Gaskins chipped in eight rebounds to help give the 2013 East Lincoln Winter Jam girls champions 44 total caroms.
LAKE NORMAN CHARTER 55
LINCOLN CHARTER 40
Clark Coey and Malik McCormick scored 13 points each and Lake Norman Charter’s boys held on to a double-digit halftime lead in the win.
Christian Hilty scored 12 points and Amir Davis added 10 as the Eagles (7-11) fell behind 30-19 at the break and couldn’t recover.