By DAVID KEEVER
The upset minded Lincolnton Wolves came up short Monday night as West Caldwell hung on for a hard fought 55-48 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference win at Lincolnton.
Mekhi Dula led the way for the Warriors with 17 points, as West Caldwell connected on 7 of 8 fourth-quarter free throws to seal the victory.
The Wolves, who had trailed the entire game, tied it at 41-all with 6:52 to go on Colby Pridmore’s two free throws.
Lincolnton even took a brief two-point lead, 45-43, at the four-minute mark when Will Saine knocked down a pair from the charity stripe.
But a big 3-point basket by T.J. Hendrix, along with clutch shooting at the foul line in the game’s final minutes, proved to be too much for the tough-luck Wolves.
“We’ve played well four of our last five games,” Lincolnton head coach Bob Cowie said. “Unfortunately, we’ve only got one win to show for it.”
Quinlyn Harris led the Wolves with 16 points, while Saine added 15.
“Quinlyn is our point guard and our leader,” added Cowie. “When he plays well, we play well also.”
West Caldwell improved to 15-6 overall and 11-2 in the SD-7. The Warriors remain just a half-game behind first-place Newton-Conover, which knocked off Bunker Hill in overtime Monday.
The Wolves fell to 7-14 overall, 4-9 in conference play, and are in danger of missing the state playoffs. The SD-7 will get only three automatic berths, and it appears that there are enough nine-win teams in the 2A west to fill up the wildcard slots.
“We’re struggling with where we want to be as far as our record is concerned,” noted Cowie, “but we’ve shown signs of being a pretty good team.”
Lincolnton will be back in action this Friday night, weather permitting, when they it hosts Maiden in the regular season finale.
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Saylor Whitesides and Kaniyia Brown scored 10 points each as Lincolnton’s girls edged West Caldwell for their fifth league win.
The Wolves (8-13, 5-8) trailed 6-2 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored the Warriors (9-9, 6-7) by three in the decisive fourth quarter.