East Lincoln’s boys basketball season has come to a close.
North Rowan senior Michael Connor orchestrated his own 13-point run, which turned a late Mustangs lead into a deficit that held as the Cavaliers won 65-62 in the second round of the NCHSAA state 2A playoffs on Wednesday.
North Rowan (18-5) travels to Shelby, a 93-72 winner over Monroe Central Academy, for a third round game tonight.
East Lincoln (24-4) led 47-45 with 5:08 to play when Connor hit a pair of free throws to tie. He then sank a 3-pointer, followed with another 3, before a second pair of free throws made it 55-47.
A final 3 from Connor, who had 26 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, made it 58-47 with 2:42 to play.
The Mustangs clawed back, getting three putbacks from Charlie Hills, plus hit 5 of 9 free throws in the final 2:30 to cut the Cavaliers’ lead down to four twice, and down to three at 63-60 with 28 seconds left.
North Rowan hit its free throws to hold on.
Chazz Surratt had 19 points to lead fifth-ranked East Lincoln. Hills added 17 points and Sage Surratt scored 11.
Jalen Sanders added 15 points for the Cavaliers, who also defeated the Mustangs last summer in pool play of the Powerade State Games of North Carolina.