If the Wilson High School girls basketball team had a target on its back, Lincoln found it Wednesday night.
The Abes rode a second-half surge to knock off the four-time defending Class 3A Narrows League champions, 53-51, at home.
“When you play the champs, you have a ‘take-it’ expectation,” Lincoln coach Jamila Jones said. “I think that gave us a different level of hunger.”
The win was Lincoln’s first over 10th-ranked Wilson (7-3, 4-1 3A Narrows) since 2011, and broke a nine-game Rams winning streak in the cross-town rivalry.
“I was hyped for this game,” Lincoln forward Morticia McCall said. “This was the only game I was really worried about, to be honest.”
With 21 seconds to play, Lincoln (9-1, 4-0) inbounded the ball from half court and worked five passes around the perimeter before Faith Brantley found McCall on the baseline.
She put up a short jumper in traffic to net the game-winner with two seconds to play, and Wilson’s Hail Mary pass on the ensuing possession fell short.
“I just turned around to face the basket real quick because there were a couple seconds on the shot clock, so I took a quick jumper and played defense,” McCall said.
McCall scored all 11 of her points in the second half to help bring the Abes back from a 33-22 deficit at the break.
Lincoln missed its first eight shots to open the game and was 9 of 28 shooting in the first half. Wilson — led by Kiki Knox, who had a game-high 16 points — went on a 15-4 run to close the second quarter.
But Knox exited with 5:43 left in the third after picking up her fourth foul. She eventually fouled out with 3:15 to play in the fourth.
And Josie Matz (knee) was carried off the floor early in the fourth quarter after hitting the floor hard for the second time in the game.
Wilson spent much of the second half with either Knox or Matz — who scored 13 for the Rams — absent.
“The second half, because of some key people out on the bench, we had some key letdowns,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said. “We’ll get better from this, this one hurt — bragging rights obviously included.”
Matz would return with 2:45 to play, but Lincoln’s 12-3 run in the final five minutes would ice it.
“We’ve played really well in second halves this year, especially defensively,” Jones said.
Wilson shot 3 of 12 from the floor in the fourth quarter.
After being nearly shut out offensively in the first half, Tamia Braggs — who scored 13 — sunk three buckets late to bring Lincoln within striking distance before McCall scored the eventual game-winner.
The Rams are on a three-game skid after losing their past two to Bishop Blanchet (62-56) and Kentlake (66-65). Wilson had never lost three in a row under Birge, now in her eighth season.
“Three losses in a row is not easy for me to swallow,” she said.