Consider it akin to a pre-postseason preview performance.
Lake Norman’s girls basketball team presented itself to be positioned in prime playoff form following what amounted to its final appearance prior to that part of the season schedule’s program.
The Wildcats darted out in front early, weathered a mild comeback bid and stormed back on top late to defeat I-Meck Conference member North Mecklenburg, 69-51, in the regular-season finale for both teams.
With the win coming to also draw a spree of three games played over the course of a four-night span, Lake Norman put the finishing touches on a 9-1 overall standard that wound up being highlighted by a 5-1 ledger to show for all games taking place in the crucial I-Meck ranks.
As a result, the Wildcats also wound up netting one of the available automatic bids extended for participation into this week’s scheduled opening play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class postseason field that also singles them out as the only local girls team to merit such preferred distinction.
In a schedule shortened by the presence of COVID-19, Lake Norman closed out the regulation segment of its season’s slate officially in second place n the circuit standings. The lone setback suffered by the Wildcats all season came in by a mere two-point decision dealt to them by the undefeated Julius Chambers – formally Vance High -- team that wound up winning the I-Meck regular season title outright.
For Lake Norman, it more than supported its selection with its effort in the regular-season finale.
Buoyed by the pair of personal double-doubles fashioned by as many different underclass members of this year’s roster, the Wildcats cruised out to a sizable advantage that more than enabled them to prevail.
Junior primary post presence Aly Wadkovsky, a first-year member of the program, and sophomore perimeter player Kirsten Lewis-Williams, part of the varsity since a freshman, each filled their individual stat sheets with twin-figure totals in points while also entering the department in two additional categories each as well. Wadkovsky netted 14 points to accompany the claiming of 12 rebounds, while Lewis-Williams teamed her 13 points along with the handing out of 11 assists.
Making sure not to be lost in the shuffle, junior guard Madison Saunders captained the points-producing crew with her game-high total of 11 points. Junior Jade Lewis rounded out the double-figure scoring cast with her 11 points.
Lake Norman busted out to a 42-19 lead at the halftime break and, after watching that cushion trimmed to as few as 11 at one point, re-charged its battery to finish as comfortable near 20-point victors.
The stretching of the season’s second multi-game winning streak comes to mark the arrival of the Wildcats’ presence as a state postseason participant. Lake Norman was presented with the No. 10 seed in the NCHSAA’s West Region that served to pit it opposite No. 7 seed unbeaten Charlotte Myers Park in opening-round play for both teams.
With a win, the Wildcats would move on into Thursday night’s second round to face off against either No. 2 seed South Caldwell or No. 15 seed West Forsyth. All games will be held on the home court of higher seeded teams.
Third-round play with the fast break-paced playoffs being held under a single-elimination format and with COVID-19 protocols remaining in place is set for the upcoming weekend. State finals will be held later in March.