South Charlotte

Christian, United Faith aim for championships

South Charlotte private school boys' basketball teams were solid last year with one team winning a state title and another making the final.

United Faith may have the most talent in the area as they try to win their third-straight N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A championship.

Christian has a star in power forward Anthony Gill and will look to win the state title this year after falling in the final of last year's NCISAA 3A tournament. But their conference won't be easy with Charlotte Country Day returning a veteran lineup and Providence Day and Charlotte Latin looking to improve this year.

Charlotte Christian

Coach: Shonn Brown.

2009-2010 record: 29-5, NCISAA 3A final.

Key player: Anthony Gill - all-conference and all-state center wants to win the state title his senior year.

Charlotte Christian was the state runner up last year. Seven returning players include senior center Anthony Gill (6-foot-8), who has signed with South Carolina.

With Gill, returning guard Trent Walker, a 6-foot-2 senior, and 6-foot-6 senior forward Worth Smith, who is committed to play at the U.S. Naval Academy, also will be key to Christian's championship run.

The Knights have a tough schedule this year that should prepare Christian for tough state playoff opponents.

Charlotte Country Day

Coach: Dwayne Cherry.

2009-2010 record: 5-19.

Key player: Wake Hamilton - senior was the team MVP and was all-conference last year.

Charlotte Country Day hopes that the football team's championship season will carry over to the basketball team as the Buccaneers will rely on several football players in their lineup.

Senior Wake Hamilton (6-foot-3) was an all-conference guard last year and will be a leader on the team. Quarterback Morgan Roberts, a 6-foot-4 senior, will return to the team this year after not playing last year, adding size and strength inside.

Junior brothers Zach and Ben Simons will stretch the defense. Ben set the 3-point record for a single game and season last year.

First-year coach Dwayne Cherry played at Country Day in the early '90s under coach Kevin Daly.

"It's good to be back and try to restore the program to where he had it," said Cherry.

Charlotte Latin

Coach: Chris Berger.

2009-2010 record: 18-8, second round NCISAA 3A.

Key player: Adam Hermann - sophomore is one of the few returning players.

Charlotte Latin was already inexperienced this year with only five returning players, but the Hawks lost even more when their lone returning starter, junior guard Grayson Foster, broke his foot last week and is out for the year.

Chris Berger, in his second year as varsity head coach after serving as an assistant coach since 1994, will rely on young players to contribute, such as freshmen Rusty Reigel, a 6-foot-1 forward, and Joe Baynard, a 5-foot-11 point guard. Sophomore James Mingoes (6-foot) and junior Matt Tome (6-foot-3) will also be key players.

Berger said the Hawks will focus on defense, playing hard and scrappy.

Providence Day

Coach: Brian Field.

2009-2010 record: 8-20.

Key players: Connor Sullivan and Kevin Hickson - the only two returning starters.

Providence Day will only return two seniors from last year's team and will rely on underclassman this year.

Senior guard Connor Sullivan (6-foot) and 6-foot-8 senior forward Kevin Hickson will be the focus of the team as the two returning starters.

Sophomore Bryon Fields is a "quick point guard" according to coach Brian Field, who is in his fifth year as a head coach. Jordan Watkins is a freshman shooting guard who is already getting interest from colleges.

Junior forward James Stramm (6-foot-3) will also be a key new player for the Chargers as they plan to play a more high-energy game.

United Faith Christian

Coach: Shaun Wiseman.

2009-2010 record: 30-6 (NCISAA 1A state champs).

Key player: Braxton Ogbueze - Junior transfer from Vance is one of the top guards in the nation.

After winning the NCISAA 1A title last year, the Falcons have started strong this year at 3-0 (through Nov. 19).

United Faith is loaded with new talent, including 6-foot-5 junior Ivan Benkovic and Ogbueze and the No. 7 point guard in the country according to Scout.com.

They also have returning starters Peter Jurkin, a 7-foot junior who is committed to Indiana, and Paris Roberts-Campbell, a senior who signed with East Carolina.

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