DENVER – Lincoln Charter saw its season come to an end Saturday, March 2, falling at home, 72-53, against the North Stanly Comets in the third round of the 1A state playoffs.
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, besting North Stanly 12-10 in the first quarter before a back-and-forth second quarter closed with a run that gave the Comets a 33-26 advantage at halftime.
North Stanly cranked up the defensive intensity coming out of the locker room for the second half, stifling Lincoln Charter in the third quarter before icing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead with 18 free throw attempts down the stretch.
Lincoln Charter had no answer for North Stanly’s Bryson Childress, who paced the Comets with 32 points in the victory, including 10 fourth-quarter free throws to put the game away.
The Comets made Lincoln Charter sharpshooter Jackson Gabriel a priority, holding the state’s deadliest 3-point marksman to 15 points. While shadowing Gabriel beyond the arc, North Stanly was also able to contain the slashing ability of fellow senior Levontae Knox, who finished with 10 points.
The loss is a bitter end to an otherwise stellar career for Lincoln Charter’s senior class, which includes Gabriel and Knox, as well as Tyler Reitler, JoJo Rhodes, Hunter Herrick, Tron Robinson and Tank Fricker. In addition to a state championship as sophomores in 2017, the 2019 class rattled off four consecutive Southern Piedmont 1A conference championships and 108 wins while donning the red, white and blue of Lincoln Charter.
The Eagles finish the 2018-19 campaign with a 23-7 overall record, marking the program’s fifth consecutive 20-win season.