For the past few years, the biggest problem with Mecklenburg County high school basketball has been game times.
Or more specifically the end of game times.
Last year, and the year before that – and the year before that – county high school games have regularly ended after 11 p.m. on Mondays or Tuesdays or Thursdays. I’ve had parents report kids getting home after 12:30 a.m. on school nights and then having to wake their kids before 6 to get ready for class the next morning.
That’s just wrong.
The biggest reason why games run late is because Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plays four games at one site: two junior varsity games followed by the varsity doubleheader. In the past, the games started at 4 p.m. and if anything started late or anything went into overtime or became foul-prone, well, the final games – the boys’ varsity – could easily start after 9 p.m.
Or sometimes after 10.
This year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is thankfully taking action. It’s moved back the start of the first game, girls’ junior varsity, to 3:30.
I’d prefer CMS split the boys and girls up and play them at opposite sites. There are several counties throughout the state that do just that.
CMS should at least do it for any weeknight games. Education is the priority and sleepy kids are missing out on part of theirs.
Playing these quadruple-headers on Friday nights, to me, is not nearly as much of an issue. So there’s room to compromise.
But this is a start.
“We’re mindful of the time on the other end (after games),” CMS county athletics director Sue Doran said. “We’re wanting to get our student-athletes and their coaches home earlier. And we felt like a 3:30 start time was reasonable and we thought we’d give that a try. We’re just one week into it but the (referees’) booking agent has been most cooperative.”
Doran said school officials have been thinking about making this change for several years.
“We had several games last year that finished very, very late and we had a conversation with principals and the administration and we all felt it was the right time to give this a try,” Doran said. “We’re hopeful on the back end that it’s going to make a difference to get our student-athletes home at an earlier time.”
• Vance boys’ basketball coach Will Robinson enjoyed a pretty successful career in Virginia before coming to Charlotte. Since arriving at Vance in 2005, Robinson has one state championship appearance and an overall record of 146-47.
In his career, Robinson is 496-119 and needs only four wins to become join a handful of Mecklenburg County coaches to reach 500. Vance opened the season with a 59-52 win over regional power Winston-Salem Reynolds last week. Torin Dorn (14 points) and Derrick Brewer (15) led the Cougars.
Robinson’s team plays West Mecklenburg at home Friday and Robinson will go for win No. 497.
• Former Myers Park star Odell Turner was named South Atlantic Conference player of the week Monday. Turner averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds per game last week in two wins, 71-45 over UNC Pembroke and 68-53 over Clayton State.
A preseason all-conference pick, Turner, a senior forward, leads the team with 13.2 points per game and 10 rebounds. He’s scored 1,211 points in his career.
• Rajsha Blackmon, a 6-foot guard, signed with North Greenville College.
Blackmon, a first-team All-Charlotte Observer pick, was also an Associated Press all-state selection as a junior at Kennedy Charter last season. She graduated early and will start at North Greenville in January. Blackmon led all N.C. girls scorers last season at 31.5 points per game and was 13th nationally. She averaged 12 rebounds and 3.4 steals.