Devon Dotson and Trey Wertz, Providence Day Basketball, juniors: Providence Day guards, Devon Dotson and Trey Wertz, have proven they are major, Division I recruits all season, as the duo averages a combined 42 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists per game.
But Dotson, who has 23 Division I basketball offers, and Wertz, who has nine Division I basketball offers, have never been better than in historic, three-day run to the Hoodies’ House National Hoops’ Classic at Providence Day, Dec. 28-30, according to Providence Day coach Brian Field.
Dotson and Wertz led the Chargers (12-5) to wins over Seffner in Florida and two nationally-ranked teams in DeMatha Catholic in Maryland (No. 11 in the USA Today poll) and Sunrise in Kansas (No. 18 in the USA Today poll).
“They (Dotson/Wertz) were really good, moved the ball, didn’t force up shots, and played with great efficiency,” said Field, whose team won the Hoodies’ House tournament (national bracket) for the second straight year, the only team from Mecklenburg County ever to do so. “In all three games, I thought they played great basketball. Devon and Trey are probably played as good as any two guards (backcourt) in the state. ...
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“But we also played great as a team. Winning the tournament was a total team effort.”
Dotson, was named the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP), averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the tournament.
Dotson had 37 points in the, 77-72, semifinal, comeback upset of DeMatha and the game-winning free throws in the championship game, a 39-37 victory over Sunrise.
Wertz, named all-tournament team, had his best game of the event against DeMatha, with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds, going five-of-seven from the three point line.
Dotson (23 points) and Wertz (16 points) combined for all Providence Day’s 39 points in the championship game.
The Providence Day duo also scored 131 of the Chargers’ 169 points in the tournament.
Zane Rankin, Butler Basketball, sr.: Butler senior guard was the MVP of the Cleveland County Holiday Classic at Shelby High, leading the Bulldogs to their second tournament title in as many weeks as they remained undefeated this season at 16-0.
Rankin, who helped Butler win the Y.C. Winborn Classic at Rock Hill on Dec. 23, had 26 points in the Cleveland County Holiday Classic championship game’s 91-82 win over Kings Mountain on Dec. 30.
Rankin, who averages 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game, also had 23 points in the semifinal win against Shelby and 25 points in the tournament opener against Burns.
Dazia Lawrence, Mallard Creek Girls’ Basketball, so.: The Mallard Creek sophomore guard also turned in an MVP performance to lead the Mavericks to win the East Lincoln Winter Jam tournament with wins over East Gaston, East Lincoln and Davidson Day to stay unbeaten this year (14-0).
Lawrence, who averages 17 points per game, was at her best in Mallard Creek’s 75-54 win over Davidson Day in the championship game, scoring 30 points with four assists and four steals.
Lawrence, a 5-foot-8 guard, is already a major, Division I recruit, getting the most attention from schools like Charlotte, Georgia, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, according to Mallard Creek coach C.J. Johnson.
Janelle Bailey, Providence Day Girls’ Basketball, sr.: The Providence Day, All-American center/forward had another monster performance in the Title IX Tournament in Washington, D.C., Dec. 28-30, averaging 25 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in three games in three days.
Bailey, a University of North Carolina signee, had her best game during the second day, Dec. 29, win over Heritage, Fla., posting 29 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
The 6-foot-4 senior averages 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game for Providence Day (12-1) this season, was named to the all-tournament team.
Brennan Settle, Statesville Christian Basketball, jr.: Statesville Christian’s all-state junior quarterback led his team Nov. 18 to a NCISAA, Division III state championship, accounting for 331 yards and six touchdowns in the 58-14 win over Village Christian.
Nearly a month later, Settle, is getting it done on the hardwood as he led the Lions to a 74-47 win over Greater Cabarrus in the Pine Lake Prep Invitational championship game on Dec. 29.
Settle scored 24 points, had 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks in the victory.
The 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season.
Cameron Dollar, East Lincoln Basketball, sr.: The East Lincoln senior guard missed the first eight games of the season with mononucleosis.
In his first game back, Dec. 27, in the opening game of East Lincoln’s Winter Jam tournament,, the 6-foot-4 guard went 11-for-12 from the field, scoring 27 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists in the Mustangs’ 71-67 win over Ashbrook.
Dollar, a Charlotte 49ers’ football signee, also had a strong game in the championship loss on Dec. 29 to Mallard Creek with 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Dollar is averaging 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game.
Tyrese Barbour, Forest Hills’ Basketball, sr.: Forest Hills’ 5-foot-8 senior point guard was the MVP of the Farm Bureau Classic at Chesterfield High, S.C., leading the Yellow Jackets’ to the tournament title for the second time in the last three years.
Barbour averaged 13 points in three games, with 17 points in Forest Hills (11-2) tournament opening win over Camden. He had 12 points in the championship game win over previously unbeaten, Dreher High.
Barbour, a three-year starter, averages 11 points and four assists per game this season.
David Kasanganay, Ardrey Kell Basketball, jr.: The 6-foot-3, Ardrey Kell guard had a big week as the KSA Tournament at the ESPN Wild World of Sports’ complex at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., averaging 18 points per contests in three games.
Kasanganay had 19 points in the opening win over Bayside, Fla., pouring in 21 points on next day in win over University High, Calif.
The Ardrey Kell senior had 14 points in the tournament’s championship game (Brown bracket) loss to Kettering, Ohio.
Kasanganay is averaging 15 points and four rebounds per game for Ardrey Kell (8-5) this season, while shooting 40 percent from the three-point line.
Jalisa Rushing, Concord First Assembly Girls’ Basketball, sr.: Jalisa Rushing came into the Carolina Invitational averaging just two points, five rebounds and a block per contest as a reserve center for her Concord First Assembly girls’ basketball team.
But, the 6-foot, senior, stepped up her game last weekend, Dec. 28-30, averaging four points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game to help the Eagles win the Carolina Invitational tournaments’ Harbor Division at First Baptist School in Charleston, S.C.
Rushing had a season-high 15 rebounds, while adding three blocks in the tournament opening win over T.L. Hanna, Dec. 28. She had 12 rebounds and four blocks in the next day’s win over Pickerington North, Ohio.
Rushing had a season-high six points, adding nine rebounds, in Concord First Assembly’s (14-2) championship game victory over Hampton, Tenn.
Caleb Kreitter, Hough Wrestling, sr.: The Hough senior is still perfect on the mat at 25-0 this season, after winning the 126-pound, weight class at the prestigious, Holy Angels Tournament on Dec. 29.
Kreitter is now 79-1 in the last two seasons, with his only loss a year ago coming in the 4A state championship match.
Kreitter also won the Tiger Classic earlier this season, and is currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 126 pounds, according to retrorankings.com.
Matt Price, Piedmont Wrestling, sr.: The Piedmont senior won the 152-pound, weight class at the Holy Angels Tournament, Dec. 29.
Price, who also won the Enka Jet Invitational in November, is 30-1 on the mat this season and 73-8 during the last two years combined to date.
Price is No. 2 in the state in his 152-pound weight class, according to retrorankings.com.
Jake Hart, Fort Mill Wrestling, jr.: The Fort Mill junior is off to a 20-3 start this season, finishing strong in back-to-back tournaments.
Hart, who wrestles at 145 pounds, was 6-0 at the Lexington (S.C.) Wildcat Duals on Dec. 29-30, earning the matches’ most outstanding wrestler honors.
Hart beat River Bluff’s Ben Emery, ranked No. 1 in the state in his weight class according to scmat.com, to go unbeaten at the Lexington Duals.
Hart was also runner-up in the Coastal Clash at North Charleston Convention Center on Dec. 22-23.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: email@example.com.
HELP US FIND THE ATHLETES
This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Jan. 2. In most cases, the athletes featured will come from sports that don’t get a lot of recognition. However, the goal is to recognize excellence. If you want to suggest someone to be included in This Season’s Finest column, send email to Jay Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.