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Myers Parks women’s basketball looking to hit next level

By Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

More Information

  • Myers Parks women’s basketball looking to hit next level
  • The Observer’s preseason Sweet 16 girls basketball poll
  • Myers Parks women’s basketball looking to hit next level
  • More winter sports previews
  • Observer Preseason Girls Basketball Sweet 16

    Rk. Team (Class) 2012-13 Rec. Comment
    1Myers Park (4A) 29-1Mustangs have lost two games in two years; four starters return
    2Providence Day (IND)27-4Won fourth straight N.C. Independent Schools 3A state title last season
    3Ardrey Kell (4A)25-4Eight of the top players from last year’s team return; Knights lost in second round playoffs last season
    4Harding (4A)23-4Moving up to 4A after winning back-to-back 3A state titles
    5Hickory (3A)26-3All-conf. stars Yazmen Hannah and Danasia Witherspoon lead talented group
    6East Rutherford (2A)21-7Four starters back including Rachel Camp, who averaged 31 ppg last season
    7Hough (4A)18-8Five starters return, including Anna Diggs (14 ppg) and Julia Brown (12 ppg)
    8.North Mecklenburg (4A)26-4Conf. player of year Destiny Barrino is one of three starters back
    9Bandys (2A)27-3Already deep team picked up North Lincoln trasnfer Antaijah Easter, who averaged 25.8 ppg last season
    10Weddington (3A)21-7UNC recruit Stephanie Watts is one of three starters back.
    11Cuthbertson (3A)18-11All five starters back for team expected to challenge for league title.
    12Lake Norman Charter (2A)NA1A regional semifinalist returns four starters
    13North Rowan (2A)13-12Moving up in class with one of the nation’s top players, Salisbury transfer Brielle Blair
    14West Charlotte (4A)13-13Four starters return; three of whom averaged double figures
    15South Point (3A)19-6Red Raiders return seven of their top players
    16West Rowan (3A)24-1Suffered disappointing first-round playoff loss which should make West hungry

    Also receiving consideration: R-S Central (3A, 17-11); Monroe (1A, 19-9); Forestview (3A, 20-7).

    Note: to be eligible for inclusion in the poll, a school must offer football and basketball and not allow students to repeat a grade after starting high school and continue to maintain her eligibility.



Myers Park girls basketball coach Barbara Nelson said in the past two years, the Mustangs may have been too good for their own good.

The Mustangs haven’t lost a regular-season game in two years, and both years achieved national rankings, but Myers Park has not gotten to the state championship game yet.

“Last year, our practices left a lot to be desired,” said Nelson, whose team begins the 2013-14 season in a familiar place – No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 girls basketball poll.

“But if you’re not suffering repercussions of losses,” she continued, “it’s really hard to convince kids that they’re not good enough. I think they’re starting to put two and two together, understanding that their playing time for games is so short and that practice is 10 times more important. That will determine what happens in the game.”

The Mustangs return four starters, including two players ranked among the nation’s top 60 in the junior class by ESPN: guard Aliyah Mazyck and forward Rydeiah Rogers.

Rogers was Southwestern 4A conference player of the year as a sophomore. Nelson said both players are getting heavy recruiting attention from SEC, ACC and Big 10 schools.

With talent like that, Myers Park has big goals, Nelson said, but winning the last game isn’t the only thing.

“Our theme this year is ‘Chasing A Dream,’” she said. “Our dream is to be the best we can be, and that’s certainly to win Myers Park’s first state championship for women’s basketball, but that’s not the only part. We want to become better people, too.”

Nelson said she likes the direction her team is heading in, and wants the Mustangs to simply enjoy the season.

“It’s not state championship or bust for us,” she said. “There are so many variables I can’t control. I can’t control somebody getting hurt or how good other teams are. In Winston-Salem and Raleigh, they have open enrollment. I don’t know who transferred or how good they are. I mean, we saw Baylor get beat in (last season’s NCAA women’s tournament). Any given night, anybody can get beat. So I would never say it’s something or bust.

“It’s like having a cake. The icing is the wins and the losses, and maybe the crowning piece is the state championship. But you can still get the cake and the icing and the decorations without it.”

Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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