Charlotte Catholic's Robert Champion: Tall (6-foot-5) wing with an absolutely gorgeous outside shot. Scored 18 Friday against No. 1 Olympic. UP
Charlotte Catholic crowd: As great an environment as I've seen. Catholic's basketball fans, like its football fans, make these events special. UP
Myers Park balance: Four Mustangs hit double-figure scoring in Friday's 75-69 win against Rocky River: Jaray Walker (14 points, eight assists), Patrick Wallace (18 points, six rebounds), Clayton Massey (15 points, five blocks) and Major Thomas (10 points, 12 rebounds). UP
Friday's Top Performers
Matthew Fisher-Davis, Charlotte Christian boys: team-high 23 points in a 91-62 win against Cary Academy.
Laura Beth Hite, Covenant Day girls: 15 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three assists in a 56-49 win against Metrolina Christian. Teammate Sarah Brace had 18 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Josh Smith, Olympic boys: 6-7 Clemson signee had 22 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks in a 83-66 win at Charlotte Catholic. "Josh Smith was the man!" coach Ty Baumgardner said.
Sean Smith, Robinson boys: 24 points, four steals and four assists in a 77-62 win against Hickory Ridge. Teammates Elijah Hampton (13 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists), Kevin Anzenberger (15 points, six assists, five rebounds) and Brody Koerner (15 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists) also had big games.
Saadia Timpton, Myers Park girls: Sweet 16 No. 1 Mustangs got a season-high 92 possessions and 38 steals in 96-21 win against Rocky River. Timpton had 26 points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists. Aliyah Mazyck (15), India Timpton (12), Brittany Smith (12), Roddreka Rogers (10) also scored in double figures.
Harding boys win "do or die" game; Berry girls win thriller
Harding, No. 8 in the boys' Sweet 16, won 61-52 at neighborhood rival Berry in a key ME-GA 7 3A/4A game. The Rams (14-3, 3-3) played like a team desperate to remain in the hunt for the conference championship, creating separation in the second half and maintaining it down the stretch.
"This was our lifeline," Rams coach Walter Aikens said. "We had to win this. We couldn't leave out of here with nothing less than a victory, because if we lose, we're behind (Charlotte) Catholic and Berry. We had to win and the guys knew it."
Berry's Alisha Quinn swished a jump shot from the left wing with 1.7 seconds to push the No. 5 Cardinals girls to a 40-38 overtime win against No. 16 Harding and sole possession of first place in the ME-GA 7 3A/4A standings. Essence Baucom led Berry (14-1, 6-0) with 13 points, followed by Milan Quinn's 10, including a basket with 5.8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Alexius Hampton paced Harding (12-2, 5-1) with 15 points, including a pair of free throws at 3 minutes, 35 seconds left in overtime.
Harding forward Emmanuel Patton came up big with 14 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, mainly on drives to the basket or breakaways. A 7-0 run sparked by Patton and Jarvis Haywood (19 points) put the Rams ahead for good at 40-34 midway through the third quarter and Patton's eight points in the fourth kept Harding there.
"He's becoming a scorer," Aikens said. "Last year, he probably averaged eight points for us and this year, he's almost doubled his points. He's coming on game by game and it's really relieving pressure off Jarvis," the only other Ram to hit double figures with 19 points.
DaJuan Graf and Cazmon Hayes led Berry (12-4, 3-3) with 13 points each, and Osandai Vaughn added 12, but the Cardinals struggled after taking a 19-15 lead into the second quarter. The shots that fell for Berry in the first quarter became more difficult to come by as Harding tightened its defense.
"Harding really outplayed us," Cardinals coach Carlton Anthony said. "Early in the game we had too many turnovers. Our team has to learn how to play team ball. We were trying to be too selfish, trying to rely on one-on-one too much instead of running our system."
No. 3 Concord stops rival A.L. Brown
A.L. Brown grabbed an early 21-15 lead on Sweet 16 No. 3 Concord, but the Spiders ultimately rallied for an easy 70-47 win against their arch rivals.
Concord (14-0, 7-0 South Piedmont 3A) got 20 points from Connor Burchfield, 15 from Kendall Knorr and 14 from Darren Black. Tevin Stark led Brown with 17.
Butler beats rival Independence in 3OT
It took three overtimes, but Butler finally beat arch rival Independence 104-93.
The Bulldogs outscored Independence 20-9 in the third overtime.
Butler junior Riley Ferguson had 27 points and his brother, Zach, a senior, had 17. Independence got 26 points from Tayon Gleaves.