On Tuesday night, Phenom Hoops traveled to Lincolnton to watch North Lincoln (13-4) take on the top team in the conference, Hickory (17-1).

Both teams came out ready to play as North Lincoln’s Ty Sanders, Connor Carson and Ben Cipriano led the charge in the first half. But Hickory’s sophomore guard Jamien Little was outstanding, scoring the ball from multiple levels. In addition, Hickory’s Jay Powell made all the right plays under control. Hickory held a 10-point lead 37-27 at the half.

In the second half, North Lincoln made a few runs to cut the lead under 10. But each time they did, Hickory had an answer. Junior forward John Holbrook got things going in the second half in the post, creating deep post-ups and finishing strong in the paint. Hickory was able to extend their lead in the fourth quarter, winning 72-51.

North Lincoln 51
Connor Carson – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Ty Sanders – 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Ben Cipriano – 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Kellen Karr – 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Carter Black – 3 points, 1 rebound
Nathan Aberle – 2 points, 2 rebounds
Shelton Washington – 2 points, 2 rebounds

Hickory 72
Jamien Little – 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 steals
John Holbrook – 17 points 8 rebounds
Jay Powell – 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Britt Rumbaugh – 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Izaiah Littlejohn – 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
Tyquan Hill – 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Josh Fisher – 3 points
Dashawn Medley – 2 points

Player Standouts

6’2 2025 Jamien Little (Hickory)
Jamien Little was excellent from the opening tip, finishing with a game-high 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 3 steals. He showcased his full offensive arsenal. He is extremely quick and explosive, making him tough to keep in front. But more importantly, he played under control, probing for when to attack the gaps, and finished at the end of drives. He connected on multiple floaters off the glass. In addition, he hit 3 three-pointers, showcasing his ability to be a consistent threat from behind the arc. His activity level on the defensive end also caused problems for his opponents as he was able to disrupt the passing lanes and force steals leading to easy scoring opportunities on the other end.

6’8 2024 John Holbrook (Hickory)
Hickory’s leading scorer got off to a slow start, but he turned it up scoring 13 of his 17 points in the second half. Holbrook has excellent feel in the post. He works to create deep post touches. He carves out space and uses angles to score. He has nice touch going over either shoulder. He finished strong through contact. In addition, although he didn’t have to showcase it this game, Holbrook is capable of spacing the floor behind the arc. He finished with the near double-double of 17 points and 8 rebounds.

6’3 2025 Jay Powell (Hickory)
Simply put, Powell played an excellent floor game for Hickory. He plays with so much poise and has a tremendous feel for the game. He picks his spots for when to create for himself and when to get others involved. Powell changes pace really well and is able to make plays downhill off the bounce. He utilizes his length to finish at the rim, and does a nice job of creating contact and getting to the foul line.

5’9 2023 Connor Carson (North Lincoln)
Senior guard Connor Carson led the way for North Lincoln with a team-high 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Despite being one of the smaller guys on the court, Carson plays with an extremely high motor. One can’t help but appreciate his toughness and how hard he competes on every single possession. Carson utilizes his quickness to create off the bounce. He attacks the basket strong, but is also able to stop on a dime and knock down shots off the bounce from the midrange and perimeter.

6’3 2025 Ty Sanders (North Lincoln)
Ty Sanders showcased his skill and versatility throughout the game. He has a unique blend of skill and length and the guard position. Sanders finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He has the ability to knock down shots from behind the arc, but is also capable of getting to the midrange where he has the length to get his shot over contested hands. Sanders also has a good feel for the game. He is a willing passer who showed on multiple occasions the ability to penetrate, draw help, and kick out to the open shooters.