Fresh off an impressive performance at the Bojangles' Shootout tournament, the Hopewell girls' team will face Mallard Creek in an important I-Meck game to kick off the new year.
Hopewell won the tournament while No. 10 Mallard Creek made it to the third place game, where they lost to No. 3 Forestview.
With the two teams at the top of the I-Meck standings, this game could be a preview of the conference championship.
Hopewell has two key wins over 3A powers Concord and Forestview while Mallard Creek beat Lake Norman by one point in their second conference game.
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Both teams look strong as they dive into the heart of conference play in January.
The Titans were ranked No. 12 in the preseason Sweet 16 poll but fell out of the rankings after losses to Myers Park and Harding.
Their absence should be short-lived.
After a stunning performance in the Bojangles' Shootout, the unranked Titans (11-2, 2-0 I-Meck through Dec. 30) proved that they're one of the best teams in the area with a convincing 11-point victory over No. 3 Forestview.
Hopewell went on to win the championship game against Harding, which, combined with a win by the boys', gave the school a sweep of Charlotte's premier tournament.Hunter Meakin was a big part of Hopewell's success in the tournament, hitting 10 three-pointers and scoring 40 points in the first two games.
The Mallard Creek girls' have also been very impressive early this season, starting 8-3, 3-0 I-Meck (through Dec. 30). But the Mavericks fell just short of getting a preview of the Titans in the Bojangles' Shootout with a four-point loss to Harding in the semifinals.
The No. 10 Mavericks will look to Mimi Benson to lead the team in this I-Meck matchup. Benson leads the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game and grabbed 30 rebounds in the first two games of the Bojangles' Shootout.
Mallard Creek struggled against Forestview, losing the third place game by 28. The Mavericks hope to bounce back from this loss going into the heart of conference play.