Knights' 3-pointer efficiency leads to 70-56 win over Maiden in Tuesday's rematch

Blue Devils’ sophomore guard Chris Culliver (2) looking to get past North Lincoln junior guard Jack Waggoner (2) on Feb. 9. Culliver earned a team-high 16 points. (O-N-E photo by Michelle Thompson)North Lincoln senior point guard Cole Seagle (4) attempting one of his technical free-throws in Tuesday’s road win over Maiden, 70-56. (O-N-E photo by Michelle Thompson)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

These two programs just came off of a close encounter on Feb. 3 in which Maiden came into enemy territory and knocked off the No. 1 team in the South Fork 2A Conference, 67-64.

However, the Knights (8-2) would respond early and often on Tuesday night as North Lincoln defeated the Blue Devils, 70-56.

The main thing that hurt host-Maiden (6-5) in this one was the inability to stop the 3-ball. The Knights finished the contest with 10 triples compared to Maiden's three.

Knights' senior guard Cole Seagle couldn't be contained on either side of the court from beyond the arc as he garnered four triples and 24 total points.

Despite a quick 4-2 Knights' lead led by senior forward Samari Collins, Maiden did hold an early 9-8 lead with 3:04 left in the opening quarter. This included a 3-pointer by senior guard/forward Micah Haynes (who finished with five total points all in the first quarter).

However, North Lincoln's 3-pointer barrage began in the period with junior guard Jake Dedmon as he collected a pair of triples (eight points all in the first quarter).

Trailing 16-13 entering the second quarter, the Blue Devils were able to trim North Lincoln's lead as junior guard Mason Lowman came in off of the bench and connected on a triple to make it, 19-18. Junior forward/center Dru McClough – who finished with nine points – followed by converting 1-of-2 at the charity stripe to tie things at 19-all with under six minutes left in the half.

On this run, Maiden finally regained its lead on a layup by senior forward Izaiah Morgan, 21-19, with 5:14 left in the half. Morgan finished the contest with 15 points.

Nevertheless, the momentum would go in North Lincoln's favor following a foul called on senior guard Jayden Roseman which sent Seagle to the line. In addition to the traditional free-throws, Seagle was also awarded a pair of foul shots due to a technical foul called on Roseman.

Seagle went 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, giving his team the 28-22 lead with 3:38 left before the break. He would also aid in extending the Knights' lead on back-to-back triples under a minute, leading 39-28 at the half.

On the other side, Blue Devils' sophomore guard Chris Culliver led his team with eight points going into the locker room.

Coming out of the break, Roseman kicked things off with his only triple in the game to cut the lead to 39-31 with about seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Throughout this period, Maiden had its chances to trim the deficit even more as Culliver and Morgan would do as much as they could. Culliver – who finished with a team-high 16 points – and Morgan obtained six points apiece in the frame.

This included a finish at the rim by Culliver assisted by Morgan to make it 47-39 with 3:20 left in the quarter, as well as a putback layup by Morgan to cut the lead to seven, 50-43, with 1:20 left in the frame.

Nevertheless, North Lincoln carried a 10-point advantage into the final quarter, 54-44. That's when Knights' senior guard Jack Carter began to hit up with his buddy Seagle.

Carter opened the final period with a triple to push out in front, 57-44, with 7:35 left in the action. Maiden responded and cut the lead down to 10, 62-52, off of a steal and fastbreak finish by Culliver with 4:05 left to play.

However, Seagle continued his onslaught as he aided in extending the lead to 68-52 following an And-1 finish. He missed the free-throw, but he earned five points in the period.

Also, Carter hit another triple (finishing with 12 points) and sophomore guard Connor Carson earned five points in the fourth quarter (including a triple) to close out Maiden.

Next up for the Blue Devils is a road match-up with East Lincoln (8-3) on Friday. The South Fork 2A Conference playoff race is still very much alive with the top half of the conference.