Lake Norman & Mooresville

Huskies host Vikings for 1st time

North Mecklenburg and Hough will forever be linked by proximity and the fact that the Huskies drew most of their student body from the Vikings.

But while there are a lot of friends, family and even former teammates mixed at both schools, on the court there will be no love lost as North Meck makes it first visit to Hough in I-Meck play Friday night.

The fact that the Vikings dominated the Huskies Dec. 17 82-54 just adds to what should become a heated rivalry in years to come.

While the schools and teams have a lot of connections, right now they have been going in different directions on the hardwood. North Meck is surging at 14-2 overall, including 5-1 in the I-Meck, while Hough is struggling as expected in their first year as a program.

The Huskies have yet to win a game in league play, starting off 4-12, 0-6 in I-Meck play.

But former North Meck basketball player, Hough coach Justin Batts, will do everything he can to help the Huskies compete with the Vikings.

While longtime North Meck coach Duane Lewis, who coached and mentored Batts before he transferred to Hopewell to finish out his high school career, will try to keep the rivalry a one-sided affair for now.

"Obviously, we look up to the North Meck program and coach Lewis and all they have accomplished," said Batts earlier this season. "But while we respect them, we also want to beat them."

North Meck is a far superior team and program at this point, so the Vikings should roll to another victory.

North Mecklenburg

After surprising people early on with some upset victories, North Meck has entrenched itself as one of top teams in Charlotte and the I-Meck, once again, despite some key injuries.

Top scorer and leader, senior shooting guard Carlin Bremner, who's averaging 21 points per game, has struggled with an ankle injury and may or may not be back for the Huskies.

But while the Vikings do not prefer life without Bremner, they have found a way to keep winning.

Junior point guard Shivaughn Wiggins has been the leader, averaging 11 points and nearly eight assists, picking up some of the scoring slack.

Meanwhile, forwards Jermaine Forte and Tahjai Watt have stepped up their games inside. Watt, a 6-foot-5 sophomore has started to become the inside force the Vikings need, while is a steady player as well.

Wings Kenny Tucker, the shooter, and Rashaan Brown, the slasher, have also been big as the Vikings look to keep pace with first-place West Charlotte.

North Meck will get a tough reception when they visit Hough, which should help the home team. But for right now, Lewis and company seem to be the better team.

Hough

While the Huskies are improving as a team nearly every week, Batts and company will want to be at their best when North Meck visits Friday night.

A good number of Hough's key players grew up in the North Meck system and will be looking to show they belong to their former teammates and coaches.

Point guard Drexler Clark, a former Viking, will need to be ready for a variety of pressures from full to half court and needs to be smart with the ball and limit turnovers to give his team a chance to stay close.

Clark will look to get the ball to Ty Decker, Jacquez Jackson and Nick Bernardo on the wings and former North post man, 6-foot-8 Johnny Piedmonte, inside.

Piedmonte, who has a size advantage, could be a factor against a smaller, but quicker Viking frontline.

The Huskies have circled this game on their calendar all year and will be fired up for the Vikings. The longer they stay in the game, the more Hough and their home crowd will believe in a major upset.

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