The No. 3-seeded Lincolnton Wolverines are hosting the third round of the NCHSAA 2A basketball playoffs today against the No. 5 Greyhounds of North Surry, and here is what you need to know.
The Wolverines will meet the Greyhounds with a 25-1 overall record, 13-1 in Southern Dist. 7 Athletic 2A play, along with the regular season and conference tournament championships. The Greyhounds matched their regular-season achievements by winning the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament titles with a 24-4 overall record and 9-1 in league contests.
The only loss that Lincolnton has suffered all season happened when they hosted the Warriors of West Caldwell in a conference matchup. The Wolves sustained a 77-71 loss on Jan 12. Less than a month later, the Wolves evened the mark with the Warriors with a seven-point win.
North Surry actually competed against West Caldwell early on in their own season. The Hounds posted a 26-point win that was part of a five-game winning streak to open the season. In the win over the only team who has outlasted the Wolverines, Carter Phillips posted a 31-point game. Kendal Tucker scored 20 points and Mason Hawks had 14.
The Wolverines are coming off a 67-59 second round win over East Lincoln, another conference rival from the Southern District 7. The Wolves defeated Lexington Senior in the opening round of the state playoffs by a 20-point margin. Less than a week prior to defeating East Lincoln in the second round, the schools had met in the Southern District 7 Conference Tournament championship. In that game, Lincolnton pulled out a 93-91 win in overtime.
Comparing the two teams statistically, North Surry will come into tonight’s game averaging around 78.5 points per game this season and are coming off of two large-margin wins which placed them into Saturday’s third round. The Greyhounds used a 22-0 fourth quarter run to stamp a 95-69 victory against Draughn High, a game where they had trailed the Wildcats by four at the half. During the second round against the 15-11 Randleman Wildcats, multiple double-digit unanswered runs seemed to be the difference down the stretch in collecting the 84-68 win.
Whichever team comes up victorious after tonight’s matchup will have home court advantage as they host the fourth round of the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs and will take on the winner of No. 8 Lake Norman Charter and No. 14 Shelby on Tuesday night. The winner after Round 4 will represent the West Region in the Final Four scheduled for March 11.
The game is one of four NCHSAA state playoff games taking place tonight. Mount Airy is hosting two games tonight, with the 26-2 girls taking on 22-6 Atkins at 6 p.m., followed by a game involving the Granite Bear boys (23-6) against Albemarle (17-10). North Surry’s girls, who also swept the WPAC titles this season, are on the road at Mountain Heritage for a 5 p.m. tilt. The Lady Hounds (23-5) have won 19 straight games, but will face a serious challenge from the Lady Cougars, who are 23-2 with a 10-game winning streak of their own.