The Lake Norman region regularly produces some of the top girls’ basketball teams in the state.The North Mecklenburg’s girls’ basketball team had taken small steps in that right direction in the past three seasons under coach Jennifer Baker.After watching rivals Hopewell and Hough split the regular-season and tournament titles last year, Baker and the Vikings (26-4) took a huge leap to win the I-Meck regular-season title, going 13-1 in league play and advancing to the 4A western regional semifinal.Two other area teams reached the regional rounds of the playoffs, but like the Vikings, Lake Norman Charter (1A) and Bandys (2A) didn’t fare well in Greensboro.Lake Norman Charter (24-6) tied for the Southern Piedmont Conference regular-season crown with Lincolnton, while the Trojans (27-3) swept the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships.Lake Norman girls’ basketball player of the year: Destiny Barrino, North MecklenburgDestiny Barrino proved that she was one of the top players in the I-Meck last year, earning all-conference honors while leading the Vikings to a winning record (14-13).This year, the versatile Vikings’ junior raised her game, doing a bit of everything to lead North Meck.Barrino averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and nearly six steals per game to lead her team.While Barrino is slated to return next year, she will have to play without this year’s strong senior class, including Kelly Beasley, Jasmine Bullock, Jasmine Cash and Kelsey Ellison. Lake Norman girls’ basketball coach of the year: Jennifer Baker, North MecklenburgJennifer Baker and her North Meck basketball team came into the season believing they could challenge the top teams in the I-Meck conference for a league crown.By the season’s end, Baker and her team lived up to their potential. The Vikings proved to be one of the state’s best, beating Lake Norman, Watauga and West Meck in the playoffs to advance all the way to the 4A West Regional semifinals.With her top scorer and defender, Barrino, expected to be back, along with Brianna Jones, Jaydah Hayden and Sha’Nyia Lester in the fold, the Vikings could have a chance to be just as good next season.All Lake Norman girls’ basketball teamFirst team• Destiny Barrino, North Mecklenburg, Jr.: I-Meck Player of the Year stood out on both ends of the court to lead her Vikings.• Madi Story, Bandys, Jr.: Appalachian State commit, the CVAC Player of the Year, averaged 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals per game.• Alex Busch, Lake Norman Charter, Jr.: Hard-nosed Knight averaged 15 points, six rebounds per contest to lead the Knight to the 1A state quarterfinals.• Kelsey Dean, Hough, Jr.: Huskies’ leading scorer, with 15 points per game, did all the little things well for her team.• Ezinne Mbamalu, Lake Norman Charter, Jr.: 6-foot-2 center dominated the interior, averaging 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game.Second team• Jasmine Cash, North Mecklenburg, Sr.: She was steady with seven points, seven rebounds per game to help lead Vikings to top of the I-Meck.• Maya Caldwell, Davidson Day, eighth-grader: All-state selection averaged 16 points per game for the Patriots.• Julia Scoles, South Iredell, Fr.: 6-foot freshman averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds for the Vikings.• Argia Gibson, Lake Norman, Sr.: Wildcats’ senior emerged as one of the I-Meck’s top scorers, with 13 points per game.• Antaijah Easter, North Lincoln, Jr.: Knights’ guard was the area’s top scorer at 26 points per game.
Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013
2013 All-Lake Norman girls’ basketball team
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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