By RYAN HERMAN
The boys and girls basketball teams from Lincolnton and West Lincoln are all in a funk.
Today, two teams will find their way out.
The Wolves and Rebels meet at Lincolnton in Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference action tonight with each team at its wits end. Lincolnton’s girls have lost six in a row while its boys have dropped five straight. At West Lincoln, its girls and boys are both mired in six-game losing streaks.
“We just haven’t played very well,” Lincolnton boys coach Bob Cowie said.
Both schools have endured the gauntlet of SD-7 play since competing in the Peoples Bank Holiday Clash (Lincolnton’s boys and girls finished third while West Lincoln’s boys and girls finished second).
All teams have faced the league’s top-tier teams, and each has lost by double digits.
Three teams get automatic bids to the state playoffs, and right now both Lincolnton teams are two games back in the loss column of third place while West Lincoln’s boys and girls are in last place and have yet to win a conference game.
Lincolnton swept the team’s first meeting on Dec. 20, with its girls winning 41-35 and its boys winning 69-63.
Home sweet home
Tonight’s cross-county rivalry game with West Lincoln will mark the first time Lincolnton has been at home since Jan. 3 after playing its last five games on the road.
The Wolves lost all five, but Cowie isn’t blaming the skid on his boys team (5-9, 2-4) playing away from home.
“Yes, we are looking forward to our first home game in awhile. I can’t say that being away from home has been the reason for our 5 game losing streak; we just haven’t played very well,” said Cowie, whose team was defeated 79-33 at Forestview on Wednesday. “We’ve struggled to play consistently for extended periods of time throughout games. Our physical and mental effort has not been where it needs to be for us to win games, or at times even be competitive.”
Tonight’s basketball games mark the start of the second half of conference play for all three area leagues.
Leading the boys’ leagues are: Newton-Conover (11-3, 5-0), Lake Norman (13-1, 7-0 North Piedmont 3A/4A) and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (11-4, 6-0 Southern Piedmont 1A). The girls’ leaders are: Bandys (15-0, 6-0), Alexander Central (16-1, 7-0) and Lincoln Charter (14-1, 6-0).
If the season ended today, East Lincoln’s boys (14-2, 5-2) and Lincoln Charter’s girls would be the only county teams guaranteed a state playoff berth.