↑ Harding: Rams’ boys are in the regionals for the first time ever. The girls, reigning regional (and state) champs, are going back.
↑ Lake Norman Charter girls: In the regionals for the first time. The boys lost in the sectional finals, just one win away.
↑ North Meck girls at home: The Vikings finished the season unbeaten on Leroy Holden Court.
↑ Olympic: In the regionals for the third straight season. Trojans still hunting first regional win in school history.
↑ Big South 3A Conference: Gaston County rivals and conference mates Ashbrook and Hunter Huss both advance to the regionals -- where they will play each other.
Harding sends boys and girls teams to regionals
Friday night was extra special for Harding High School.
The boys’ team, which had struggled in the regular-season at times, upset Sweet 16 No. 7 Concord 71-65, at Concord, to advance to the N.C. Western Regionals for the first time.
The Rams girls, reigning N.C. 3A Western Regional and NCHSAA Class 3A state champions, beat Carson 48-32 to earn a repeat regional berth.
In the boys’ game, Harding overcame early foul trouble to center Steven Burrough (seven points) and slowed down high-scoring Concord.
Point guard Aaron Linton, who is 5-foot-3, had 18 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds. Emmanuel Patton had 14 points and Darryl White and Jalien Byers had 10 each. Darren Black (21 points) and Connor Burchfield (16) led the Spiders.
Harding’s girls pounded Carson with defense in a 48-32 win. Carson had one quarter, the third, when it scored more than seven points.
Abrea Harris led the Rams with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists. Brianna Hamrick had seven points and 10 rebounds and Ralisha Currence finished with 13 points, three steals and three assists.
Friday’s Top Performers
Jeffery Dennis, Independence: 15 points, five rebounds in an 82-60 loss to Mount Tabor, leaving the Patriots one win short of their first N.C. 4A Western Regional appearance in 11 years. Ivan Blair had 12 points and four rebounds for the Patriots.
Gabe Devoe, Shelby: 37 points, 11 assists in 90-78 win over East Burke.
Jasmine Huntley, Porter Ridge girls: 24 points, six assists, six steals and five rebounds in 71-53 win over Alexander Central. Teammate Jada Huntley had 12 points, seven steals and five assists.
Jaelan Kennedy, Hunter Huss: 29 points in 90-55 win over Crest. Teammates O’Brian Curry (20) and Jerimiah Hunter (19) also had big games.
Luke Maye, Hough: 19 points, 14 rebounds in 61-52 upset of Sweet 16 No. 2 West Charlotte, ending the Lions bid for a fourth straight N.C. 4A Western Regional appearance.
Shelton Mitchell, Cuthbertson: Wake Forest recruit had 21 points, six rebounds, six assists in a 74-68 win over West Stokes that sent Cuthbertson (27-3) back to the regionals for the second straight year.
Deriece Parks, Olympic: 21 points in 68-49 win over Mallard Creek.
Grant Stafford, Ashbrook: Scored his team’s final seven points in overtime in a 64-59 win over Foard. He finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Antonio Blalock had 17 points.
They Said It
“This is the biggest (basketball) win for our men’s or women’s teams. To come from being 5-20 the first year and 7-18 last year to now being 23-5, it’s a testament to the work the guys put in in the offseason and the focus they’ve put into all the game plans.” – Hough coach Justin Batts after his team upset West Charlotte 61-52 to reach the N.C. 4A Western Regionals for the first time in the school’s three-year history.
By The Numbers
16 Steals for Porter Ridge’s girls in the first half of a 71-53 win over Alexander Central. Porter Ridge (25-3) is in the regionals for the first time in school history.
19 Porter Ridge has won 19 straight games.
6 Friday’s win over East Burke sent Shelby’s boys to the western regionals for the sixth time in eight years.
60 Combined points from East Burke’s Clay Byrd and Trevor Hyatt (30 each) in Friday’s loss to Shelby.