VALDESE — The Draughn girls basketball team put together a rally to a tie at the end of the first half but couldn’t make the same push at the end of the game.
Visiting South Caldwell got in the double bonus late and made its free throws while the host Lady Wildcats struggled to respond with offense on the other end as the Spartans pulled away late to win Monday night’s nonconference season opener in Valdese, 63-51.
The squads battled to a 41-41 tie after three quarters before South went on a 14-6 run to open the finale frame. Hailey Kincaid’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:01 left brought Draughn back within five, but the Lady Spartans went 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the final 57 seconds to seal it.
A Lady Spartans’ 3-pointer with 4:18 left before halftime made it 20-12 in favor of the visitors, but an Abby Parker basket assisted by Bailey Shuping got things rolling for Draughn (0-1). Four straight points from Kincaid brought the hosts within a score before consecutive baskets from Parker and Haley Lowman tied it at 22.
Kincaid and her younger sister Kaitlyn Kincaid combined to go 2 for 3 from the foul line in the last 90 seconds before intermission to first give DHS the lead, then a 25-all tie at the break.
“It’s hard to come back when you’re down,” said DHS coach Liz Taylor. “At one point, we were down by eight and we were able to come back. This will be good for us, especially down the road if we meet some adversity.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on still, but I’m proud of the effort we had.”
Parker (two assists) led the Wildcats with 14 points, followed by Hailey Kincaid (11, five rebounds), freshman point guard Ella Abernathy (six, three steals), Kaitlyn Kincaid (six, two assists) and Bailey Shuping (six, two assists). Haley Lowman (four boards) and Bailey Bryant (two steals) added four points apiece.
Justin Epley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8943.