East Lincoln's girls lost for the first time Saturday in the 5th round of the NCHSAA 3A basketball playoffs. The loss to West Rowan, who--like the Mustangs--were undefeated, was a defensive struggle. It was only the second time this season that East scored less than 50 points. The final Saturday was 48-42.
Both teams started slow...the score was 6-6 midway thru the first period. After one quarter of the West Region championship, the East Lincoln girls trailed West Rowan 16-15, and midway thru the second period, West Rowan took a 23-16 lead; but the Mustangs erased the deficit and took the lead on a three-pointer and a free throw 26-23 at halftime.
West Rowan tied the score and then took the lead 32-28 midway thru the third quarter. West Rowan led by as much as eight points, 38-30, but East close the margin to six; and going into the final period it was West Rowan 36, East Lincoln 32.
Midway thru the fourth quarter, West Rowan led 41-36. East cut that to 41-38, but the Falcons scored to make it 43-38 with 2:38 left to play, then led by 46-40 before East scored to make it 46-42. A pair of free throws gave the Falcons the lead 48-42 with less than a minute left and that became the final score. It was the first loss after 31 wins this season for East Lincoln.
In Saturday's game, Hailey McFadden led the East Lincoln scoring with 12 points. She had 8 rebounds. Kiara Anderson scored 10 points and had 2 rebounds; Emma Montanari had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and one steal. Abbie Hege had 7 points; Madison Self and Ginny Overbay 2 each.
While the loss is disappointing, East will no doubt be a state title contender next year. Two of the three leading scorers on the team were freshmen and the other a sophomore. Emma Montanari and sophomore Hailey McFadden both averaged 11.1 points per game, while Kiara Anderson averaged 10.9.
Lincoln Charter's boys fell behind unbeaten Reidsville in their 2A playoff game 31-26 at halftime and trailed by 20 points late in the third period. They fell behind by 23 in the fourth quarter, but closed the margin to a final score of 77-60.
Kelan Flowers led the Eagles' scoring with 20 points. Elijah Burnett had 11 points. Krishtan Flowers scored 9 points, Xavier Crawford and David Reed each had 8, Reed had 10 rebounds; Cairo Morales and Joseph Bruce each scored 2.
The Eagles finished the season with a 25-12 record, but they won the Catawba Shores Conference title without a loss in the league and while they lost a dozen games, many of them were to nationally ranked teams.