HICKORY—The East Lincoln girls defeated the West Caldwell Lady Warriors 53-42 in Wednesday night’s Southern District-7 2A tournament semifinal game at CVCC in Hickory.
The hard-fought victory sends the Lady Mustangs into tonight’s championship game against Maiden. The Lady Blue Devils defeated Newton-Conover Thursday night to advance to the title game.
Wednesday’s game was a defensive struggle throughout. Three-point baskets from Destiny Johnson and Brianna Tadlock helped East Lincoln to a 11-9 lead after the opening quarter of play.
But West Caldwell scored the first seven points of the second period to take a 16-11 advantage. The Lady Mustangs answered with six straight points of their own, before a Lady Warriors basket to close the half sent West Caldwell into the break with a 18-17 lead.
East Lincoln seized control in the third quarter behind Eboni Tinsley. The senior continuously pushed the ball into the lane, making layups or drawing fouls.
The Lady Mustangs outscored the Lady Warriors 16-9 in the third period, with half of their points coming from Tinsley.
East Lincoln did a good job down the stretch to prevent a West Caldwell run, giving them no chance for a comeback. The Lady Warriors got as close as 35-30 early in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Mustangs scored 13 of the next eighteen points to put the game out of reach.
Tinsley finished the game with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots for East Lincoln. She scored 19 of her points in the second half, when she knocked down 13 of her 17 free throw attempts.
Johnson added 15 points and 12 rebounds, her seventeenth double-double of the season. The junior also had 3 assists, 3 steals and 6 blocked shots.
West Caldwell (12-11) was led by Annie Bean’s 14 points, and Destanie Wright added 12.
The Lady Mustangs have won 11 straight games, and are now 20-5 on the season. Their last loss was a 66-56 defeat at Maiden on January 11.
West Caldwell 9 9 9 15 – 42
East Lincoln 11 6 16 20 – 53
West Caldwell: Annie Bean 14, Destanie Wright 12, Powell 4, Hood 4, Gurley 3, Whisnant 3, Smith 2.
East Lincoln: Eboni Tinsley 24, Destiny Johnson 15, Tadlock 5, McClain 4, White 2, Robinette 2, Begley 1.
Notes: The game was delayed 25 minutes in the second half due to a nearby armed-robbery of a cell phone store. The gymnasium at CVCC was put on lockdown.