Northside Christian boys basketball coach Byron Dinkins has watched his team run up a gaudy 29-2 record while winning by nearly 30 points per game.
Conference play in the Metrolina Athletic Conference hasn’t tested the Knights much either. In last week’s conference tournament, Dinkins’ team won games by 53, 35 and 36 points, respectively.
So as Northside tries to reach a third straight N.C. Independent 2A state championship game this week – and repeat as state champions – Dinkins has his kids looking inward to get ready.
“We continue to have competitive practice and try to cover all game situations,” Dinkins said. “We cannot look ahead. We’re preaching to them that another team only has to be better than you that day. You may be the better team, but if they’re better than you that day, they beat you.”
Northside Christian has won eight straight games entering the NCISAA 2A playoffs. The seeding meeting is 1 p.m. Sunday in Greensboro.
The Knights have good size, with a pair of 6-foot-9 pivotmen in Luke Morrison and Phillip Reed. Those two average about 20 points and 21 rebounds between them.
Northside has four players averaging double figures – James Demery (16.4), Keyshawn Woods (14.8), Austin Dasent (11.5) and Reed (10). Morrison is nearly there at 9.3.
Demery also averages 4.2 steals. Jeremy Ritter averages 8.6 assists, helping to spread the ball to his teammates, and he gets nearly four steals a game.
If Northside has anything, it’s competitive balance.
“I like the frame of mind they’re in right now,” Dinkins said. “It’s about competing and working hard and playing for each other – all the stuff we’ve been talking about. They’re focusing in on it right now.”
Dinkins said his team will need that focus, because as reigning state champions, they’re everyone’s mega game.
“When you defend (a championship),” he said, “everybody knows who you are. We’ve been getting people’s best games, which is difficult, but it’s something I think our kids get up for.”
CMS conference championships at one site?
A few years back, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools used to have all the conference championships at one site. I think it’s a great idea and one they should go back to.
It’s a showcase event, for one, and allows fans from all three leagues to see the talented players they often miss during the season as they follow their home teams.
With three leagues and six championship games, it would be obviously difficult to play six games in one day, so I’d suggest playing three on Thursday and three on Friday – or Friday and Saturday.
Olympic is hitting its stride
Nationally ranked Olympic (22-0) has been dominant all season. Last week was no different with convincing wins against Berry (70-48) and Charlotte Catholic (84-50).
At the CMS conference tournament seeding meeting Saturday morning, Charlotte Catholic coach Mike King told Ardrey Kell’s Mike Craft that he was impressed that a team like Olympic, with an abundance of individual talent, shares the basketball as well as it does.
“Hearing that from an opposing coach is good,” Trojans coach Ty Baumgardner said, “but it’s true. This group is just common, especially in this day and age when it’s all about me, me, me. They could care less who scores and who shoots. They just want to win. They share the ball and play well together and it all goes back to how close we are.”
Baumgardner said he’s been most impressed with how consistent his team has been. There haven’t been a lot of times when he didn’t think his team was playing at 100 percent effort and commitment.
“We’ve been real steady and I don’t read too much into scores,” he said. “I know people like to read into that, but you start doing that you start thinking about other things instead of playing the game the way you’re supposed to. I told the guys after the game Friday, ‘Hey proud of you for a great regular season, but a new season starts this week. The playoffs is a whole different ballgame.’”
North Rowan goes on scoring barrage
North Rowan beat South Davidson 116-44 Friday to finish Yadkin Valley conference play at 16-0. North Rowan’s scoring output broke the school record of 105 set in 1989.
Cuthbertson’s Shelton Mitchell out with knee injury
Cuthbertson point guard Shelton Mitchell, a junior committed to Wake Forest, missed Friday’s 75-40 win over Piedmont.
Cuthbertson (22-2, 13-1) won its second Rocky River conference championship. Mitchell, who is averaging more than 21 points, missed his fourth game with a knee injury.
Mitchell is expected back for the start of the state 2A playoffs, but likely will miss this week’s conference tournament.
Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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