DENVER - East Lincoln High's basketball team hasn't lost in the 2018 calendar year.

And a fast start in Tuesday's 93-55 South Fork 2A Conference tournament quarterfinal win over visiting West Lincoln gave the Mustangs their 14th straight win.

"We're playing good defense of late," said East Lincoln coach Jon Hancock, whose team plays again Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Bandys in the tournament semifinals at Catawba Valley Community College. "We put a lot of pressure on early tonight and it helped give us a big lead."

East Lincoln (21-4) forced eight West Lincoln (1-22) turnovers in a first quarter in which the Mustangs scored 26 of the game's first 28 points before taking a 31-7 lead.

East Lincoln led 48-19 at halftime and cruised the wo win on a night in which both teams fired up one 3-pointer after another.

The Mustangs converted 12 of 27 3-pointers and the Rebels hit seven of 22 3-pointers.

East Lincoln had its usual offensive balance as six players reached double figures and 11 players scored at least two points. Sidney Dollar (13 points, six rebounds), John Bean (12 points), Ben Zirkle (12 points, seven assists, seven steals), Kabian McClendon (11 points, eight rebounds, four assists), Christian Parks (10 points) and Justin Kuthan (10 points) led the way.

For West Lincoln, Brandon Lail had a game-high 17 points and hit five 3-pointers. Seth Willis added 14 points and Trey Brown nine.

"We're just trying to get better every day," Hancock said. "If we get better every day, we'll be alright."

The Mustangs are assured of making the state playoffs but will likely be one of the top seeds when the N.C. 2A playoff pairings are released by the N.C. High School Athletic Association on Saturday.

Hancock is hopeful his team is peaking, but said emphatically, "We're the healthiest we've been all year."

Dollar (knee), Parks (leg), Coleson Leach (ankle, hand) and Kuthan (ankle) have all missed some time this season with injuries.

East Lincoln  31  17  19  26  -  93

West Lincoln  7   12  19  17  -  55

East Lincoln (21-4): Sidney Dollar 13, John Bean 12,  Ben Zirkle 12, Kabian McClendon 11, Christian Parks 10, Justin Kuthan 10, Horne 8, Leach 7, DeMattia 5, Mott 3, Barnett 2.

West Lincoln (1-22): Brandon Lail 17, Seth Willis 14, Bryan 9, Robinson 6, Gilmore 3, Campbell 2, Brown 2, Varner 2.

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