HIGH POINT Northside Christian assistant boys basketball coach Joe Badgett admitted over the weekend that he was worried about his nationally ranked team’s state quarterfinals game with Victory Christian.
Badgett was worried about the Kings’ great size and athleticism, and he kept taking about Victory Christian’s state championship pedigree. Since 1995, Victory Christian has won nine state championships.
Northside Christian, however, made sure – early – that the Kings were not going to run their state championship total to 10. The Knights simply overwhelmed Victory 91-43, courtesy of a suffocating man-to-man defense, spearheaded by guards Jeremy Ritter and Davon Bell. They choked off Victory’s point guards and prevented the Kings from getting into much, if any offense. Another Knights assistant, Jeff McInnis, was a strong on-ball defender at West Charlotte High, at North Carolina and in a 12-year NBA career.
He’s got his wing defenders playing a lot like him.
Northside (26-1) outscored Victory Christian 49-14 in the second and third quarters. The Kings got one basket during a nine-minute stretch. Ultimately, Northside’s lead got as big as 53 points. If nothing else, Northside looked as focused as it’s been all season.
A third straight N.C. Independent Schools state title is just two wins away. Northside will play Asheville Christian (23-4) in the semifinals 5:30 p.m. Friday at Westchester Country Day.
“We’ve got our goal,” Northside senior Keyshawn Woods said, “and we know what we have to do to reach our goal.”
DeSean Murray, a Presbyterian recruit, led the Knights with 16 points. St. Joseph’s recruit James Demery had 15. Woods, a Charlotte recruit, junior Rayjon Tucker and senior guard Addison Holmes each had 12.
Victory Christian’s Brenton Davis led the Kings with 13.
• At halftime of the game, Northside’s players presented a plaque to former Charlotte 49ers player Joe Level, who once roomed with Knights coach Byron Dinkins in college. Joe Level’s son, Josh, was a star basketball player whom Charlotte was recruiting. A year ago, Josh Level of New Garden Friends High passed away suddenly of myocarditis, a viral infection like the common cold, that attacks the heart.
Charlotte coaches had framed a No. 31 jersey – which might’ve been Josh Level’s number at Charlotte – and sent it with Dinkins to honor the young man. Joe Level accepted the large plaque.
United Faith 62, Northwood Temple 53: United Faith sophomore point guard Ty Gadsden made 16-of-18 free throws and scored 21 points to lead the Falcons to the semifinals. Gadsden made 14-of-16 in the fourth quarter to send the Falcons (22-6) to Friday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal against top-seeded Trinity Christian (24-4).
Davidson Day girls 56, Asheville Christian 46: Maya Caldwell had 24 to lead Davidson Day to the win. Alexas Bradford added 16. Davidson Day will face Northside Christian in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinals at Westchester Country Day.
Providence Day girls 50, Charlotte Latin 22: The reigning NCISAA 3A champs got 19 from Jatarie White and 12 from Janelle Bailey to beat their CISAA conference rival.
Village Christian 56, Providence Day 54: Village Christian pulled off a big upset and ended the Chargers’ 14-game win streak and advanced to the semis against top-seeded Greensboro Day. Mecklenburg County’s streak of no 3A champions since 2004 will continue.
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