West Charlotte delivered its most complete game of the season, and so did its biggest Lion.
Stifling defense and the inside presence of 6-foot-7 center Simeon Carter propelled West Charlotte to a 77-54 win against MECKA 4A rival North Mecklenburg on the Lions’ home floor. After a slow start on offense, West Charlotte (5-3, No. 7 in the Sweet 16), hit its stride behind Carter, who led all scorers with 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
“It was OK,” he said. “I feel like I have to work on my rebounding, but as a team we need to focus on our defense.”
West Charlotte’s focus was sharp, especially in the lane where Carter swatted away four North Mecklenburg shots in the first half. A 13-2 run gave the Lions a 15-8 advantage and turned the tide permanently in their favor as the No. 4 Vikings (8-1) struggled to compensate from the perimeter.
“It was like they were more like shooters than drivers,” Carter said.
Four Lions scored in double figures, with Trey Foster adding 15 points and Isiah Blackmon 13. Jadavius McCullough added 10 for West Charlotte, which led by as many as 29 points in the second half. C.J. Boyce paced North Mecklenburg with 15 points, the only Viking to reach double digits against the Lions’ pressure defense.
“I think West Charlotte had a lot to do with it,” Vikings coach Duane Lewis said. “They played great, they did a great job of spreading the floor and we’ve got to tip our hat to them.”
West Charlotte broke the game open with a 25-13 uprising in the second quarter, sparked by Carter’s 12 points, primarily on dunks and layups. With North Mecklenburg struggling to establish offensive rhythm, the Lions attacked on both ends of the floor to sprint to a 40-21 advantage at the break.
“It was a big stage for our guys,” Lewis said. “Their guys have been there before. We’ve been successful but we’ve got a lot of new guys and here we are playing in the Lions’ den, which is one of the toughest places to play in the state ... and it just snowballed from there.”
North Mecklenburg won the girls’ game 61-40, outscoring West Charlotte 39-16 in the second half. Three Vikings (6-3, 2-0) scored in double figures, led by Brianna Jones’ 14 points, while Destiny Barrino and Dynasty Heyward tossed in 11 each. West Charlotte’s Rachel Porter dropped a game-high 20 points for the Lions (3-3, 1-1).
North, which led 28-24 at the break, went on a 23-9 tear in the third quarter, with Heyward and Barrino combining for 13 points during that stretch. North scored 22 points off West Charlotte turnovers, compared to eight points off Vikings’ errors.
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