In Gaston County, sophomore Keyshawn Woods is having quite a season.
Woods, a 6-foot-3 guard, had 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 71-65 win over Victory Christian Friday. It was nothing out of the ordinary.
In a 93-64 win over Rock Hill's Westminster Catawba last week, he went for 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists - his first career triple-double.
Woods averages 26 points, second in the Observer's coverage area behind East Burke's Clay Byrd (26.1). Woods also averages 7.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists for Gaston Day (8-5).
When United Faith played at Gaston Day Jan. 3, Falcons coach Muggsy Bogues watched his team win 90-69 but came away impressed.
"He has a lot of potential," Bogues said of Woods. "He's got nice shooting form and can go off the dribble. Zach (Davis) did an excellent job of making him work, but I understand he wasn't feeling as well and wasn't able to move as well as he would like to. But you can tell the young fella has a lot of upside to his game. The mid-range game is more his strength. He's got a great future."
Woods and Gaston Day visit Mecklenburg County to play Davidson Day on Jan. 24 and at Bogues' United Faith team Jan. 27.
It's about time for someone to put together a Martin Luther King Tournament in Charlotte. You could start the tournament Friday and play Sunday and finish Monday. You could do a big Monday showcase. There's a MLK tournament in Greensboro that draws huge crowds. Why let the Triad have all the fun?
Covenant Day's boys beat Metrolina Christian 72-68 Friday, making 23-of-26 free-throw attempts. Metrolina was previously unbeaten against other 3A teams in the Metrolina Athletic Conference.
Thursday, Covenant Day beat Concord's Cannon School 57-47 and made 18-of-21 free throws.
Really impressed with Sweet 16 No. 1 Olympic this season. The Trojans have lots of talent and size and it's scary to think how good they might be if 6-foot-5 forward B.J. Gladden, who has 12 high-major college offers, didn't have to leave school because of residency issues.
One thing I think the Trojans need to watch, though, is their propensity to build big leads and then allow opponents back in the game.
"We lose focus," coach Ty Baumgardner said.
It happened Friday. Olympic was ahead 36-21 at Charlotte Catholic and appeared ready to run away. Then, Olympic scored one point over the next five minutes and saw its lead trimmed to one.
"Sometimes we get a lead and we let off," guard Allerik Freeman said after Friday's 83-66 win. "But our coach does a good job of calling time out, chewing us out and telling us to get back into it. We usually do a good job of getting in there after that."
That might be true, but you have to be careful about letting teams back into a game and trying to "turn it back on." Sometimes you can't flip the switch, and if that happens in the playoffs, a great season could turn sour quick.
We're heading to some of the most competitive boys' conference championship races in history. In the I-Meck, North Mecklenburg (6-1) is ahead of three teams tied for second at 5-2: West Charlotte, Mooresville and Mallard Creek.
In the ME-GA 7, Olympic (6-1) is one game up on Charlotte Catholic. Catholic, Berry (3-3) and Harding (3-3) are all 3A teams fighting for two automatic 3A playoff berths. And in the Southwestern 4A, East Meck upset league-leading South Meck 48-46, creating havoc in that league.
South Meck and Butler lead the league at 6-2. East Meck and Myers Park are 5-2 with Rocky River at 4-3.
The girls' races are pretty tight, too. In the I-Meck, Hopewell and Hough are both 5-1, just ahead of Mallard Creek (5-2). In the ME-GA 7, Berry got a last second shot to beat Harding and get a one-game lead for first. Berry is 5-0. Harding is 5-1. The Southwestern 4A looks like it'll come down to Ardrey Kell (6-1) at Myers Park (7-0) on Jan. 27.