The race for the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association championship is close in girls' basketball, and Friday's game between Providence Day and Charlotte Christian will help decide the regular-season results.
The Providence Day girls' team has dominated recently, winning the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A championship last year and starting this season 19-4 (6-0 CISAA). But the Christian girls are having an impressive year so far at 19-2 (5-1 CISAA).
The Charlotte Christian boys have controlled the CISAA this season and are 6-0 in the conference (22-5 overall) and have played in four out-of-state tournaments this year. Providence Day had one of its best starts in several years in nonconference play but has struggled in conference at 3-3 (16-9 overall).
The last time the two schools played, the Christian boys won 63-51 and the Providence Day girls won 57-49.
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Tiffany Mitchell, committed to play at South Carolina, scored 30 points in last year's NCISAA 3A title game to help Providence Day beat Hickory Grove 61-48. This year the junior guard is leading the charge again, averaging 18.1 points a game and 7.4 rebounds.
But the Chargers have young talent this year in freshman forward Jatarie White, who is averaging 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Providence Day is undefeated in conference play and has yet to lose to an in-state team.
Charlotte Christian has the best chance of upsetting the Chargers with one of the best young players in the area in Gigi Bailey. The sophomore center is averaging 23 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.
Junior guard Maryah Mazyck is averaging 10 points per game and will be key in getting Bailey the ball, averaging 4.7 assists.
Christian's only loss in the conference this year came in its first game against the Chargers, but this time the Knights will have the home-court advantage.
The Providence Day boys started 6-1 this year, after going 8-20 last year, but have struggled in conference play, losing to Cannon, Country Day and Christian. The Chargers hope to do better the second time around the conference to position themselves for a berth in the NCISAA 3A playoffs.
Leading the Chargers has been senior Connor Sullivan, who averages 16.6 points per game. Senior Kevin Hickson has been impressive, grabbing 7.3 rebounds a game, but has struggled to score.
Providence Day also has young talent in sophomore guard Bryon Fields, who is averaging 13 points per game and 4.5 assists.
Senior forward Anthony Gill, committed to play at South Carolina next year, has been the key for Christian this year, averaging almost 20 points a game and 7.9 rebounds.
The Knights, who clinched the CISAA championship with a win over Charlotte Country Day Thursday, have also faced tough competition all season, traveling to tournaments in Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, D.C., and South Carolina.
Senior forward Worth Smith (8.5 ppg) will help the Knights inside, and senior guard Trent Walker (4.1 assists per game) will be expected to run the offense.