ELKIN - Heading into the Mountain Valley Conference tournament next week, the Buckin’ Elks are battle tested and looking to add to their regular-season league title.
Elkin capped an impressive 15-1 run through the conference Tuesday night with a hard-fought 51-48 victory over West Wilkes in its season finale.
“They played that zone on us. We worked at practice at getting the ball inside, and we got the ball inside tonight for some easy baskets,” head coach Kenneth Abrams explained. “The offense was clicking pretty good at getting the ball into the interior.
“Defense won it for us - team defense in the last two minutes won it,” he added.
West came out on fire, quieting down Elkin’s rowdy student section Senior Night. The Blackhawks opened on a quick 10-2 run over the opening five minutes.
The Elks fought back, closing the quarter on a 6-2 spurt - highlighted by a two-hand slam by Kody King on the fast-break - to cut the deficit down to 12-8 at the end of the frame.
Elkin continued its burst, reeling off four-straight drives to the hoop to grab a 16-15 edge early in the second. The ‘Hawks responded and took a 26-22 lead into the locker room on the road.
West maintained its cushion in the third, pushing its lead out to 37-32 at the end of three before the Elks made their push.
Elkin opened the final period on a quick 10-4 run, with five points coming from Trey King, finally pulling ahead 42-41 on a Josh Strickland three.
After trading buckets down the stretch, the King brothers made three critical plays in the final minutes to help the Elks pull out the win.
Kody King stripped the ball and laid it up on the break to push the lead out to 48-45. After two West free throws, Trey King followed suit with a steal and drive to give Elkin a two-point lead at 50-48 with less than 30 seconds left.
With 15 ticks left, Kody King stuffed a Blackhawk three-point attempt to seal the thrilling 51-48 victory.
“Kody King - game ball. He made two or three steals and an easy chip and that block; that block was the biggest block of the night,” Abrams said.
Abrams credited controlling the boards in the final period for the win.
“The old saying is if you rebound and play defense, you’ll score baskets, and that’s what we did in the fourth quarter. We didn’t do a good job in the first half. We were getting out-rebounded 22-10 at halftime. We did a better job at limiting them to one shot and it paid off,” he said.
Lane and the Kings powered the Elks with double-figure scoring performances, led by Lane’s 12. Trey King finished with 11 points, while Kody King tacked on 10. Chris Hudspeth and Frank Miller added six and five points, respectively, on Senior Night.
“It was a good win. I’m glad it turned out the way for my seniors,” Abrams said. “Right now, we’re looking at the conference tournament. Whatever happens from here, we’ll take it. It’s been a great year of basketball.
“I want to thank the student body tonight because we needed them as the sixth man,” he added.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.