First place Newton-Conover raced out to a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter, and cruised to a 73-55 victory over Lincolnton Thursday evening at Lincolnton.
Led by junior guard Tyoun Shuford, Newton-Con-over closed the first period with a 6-0 run, then finished up the half with 12-2 spurt that gave the Red Devils an insurmountable 41-19 advantage at the break.
Shuford scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, with 11 of those coming in the opening quarter.
The Wolves (6-10, 3-5 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A) were able to close the gap to 16 early in the fourth period, but that’s as close as they could get. Every time Lincolnton seemed to get a little momentum, the Red Devils answered with a big shot.
Junior Jalen Conner, a 6-foot-5 forward, provided an inside presence for Newton-Conover, pouring in 16 points on the night. Josh Ramseur, another 6-5 post player, added nine.
Will Saine had a solid night for the Wolves offensively, leading the team with 20 points. Quinlyn Harris was also in double figures with 10.
“Will played hard from the get go,” said Lincolnton head coach Bob Cowie. “He took the ball hard to the rim.”
Overall, the Wolves played with intensity as a team the entire night. It just wasn’t enough to overcome a bigger and more talented Newton-Conover squad that remained unbeaten in the SD-7.
“Our effort was fine.” noted Cowie. “Especially considering that we’ve been out of school for several days.”
With the victory, the Red Devils improved to 7-0 in conference play, and maintain a two game lead over East Lincoln and West Caldwell. Newton-Conover is 13-3 overall, and will travel to West Lincoln tonight.
The Wolves will also be back in action tonight when they travel to Bandys.
Although school was out due to icy conditions Thursday, Lincoln County Schools allowed scheduled games to be played throughout the county.
The Red Devils exploded for 27 points in the fourth quarter in the win.
Rakena Bowers led three in double figures with 13 for Newton-Conover (8-8, 4-3), which led 36-28 entering the final eight minutes.
Saylor Whitesides led Lincolnton (6-10, 3-5) with 18 points and Kaniyia Brown added 17.