South Charlotte

These prep teams' biggest gift just might be tournament title

This year, the Myers Park girls' basketball team hopes to extend their holiday celebration through the East Lincoln Winter Jam tournament as they enter the event as the defending champions.

"The girls are looking forward to going back to East Lincoln to defend our title," Myers Park coach Wes Hepler said.

The challenge is to win without last year's tournament MVP: 6-foot-4 center Tiffani Stephens.

The Mustangs (5-3 through Dec. 16) have transformed their offense into a more balanced attack.

Myers Park has a solid backcourt featuring senior guards Carly Hammack and Mason Jeffries. Hammack is averaging a team-best 13 points and four steals per game.

Jeffries, who is adjusting to her move to point guard, also has been a solid scorer at 10 points per contest.

While the Mustangs miss Stephens inside, a new star is emerging in sisters India and Saadia Timpton.

India, a sophomore who is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds per game, had a 25-point and 13-rebound performance in a win over East Meck. Saadia, who is a freshman, is averaging eight points and five rebounds in her first season.

Myers Park will again be one of the favorites to win the tournament.

The Myers Park boys' basketball team also will play in the East Lincoln tournament.

The field

Jay M. Robinson and Hickory Ridge, both in the South Piedmont Conference, are two of the Mustangs main obstacles. The Bulls were the runner-up to the Myers Park last year.

Meanwhile, I-Meck rivals North Mecklenburg and Mooresville are also capable of making a run.

East Gaston (5-1) from the Me-Ga 7 could also pose a threat.

East Lincoln, the host team, will have the advantage of playing on their home floor. Northwest Cabarrus has an improving team, but is rebuilding.

Chick-fil-A Classic

Today and Thursday, the Charlotte Christian and United Faith Christian boys' basketball teams will play in Blythewood, S.C., for the Chick-fil-A Classic, which started Tuesday.

For Christian, this is one of four out-of-state tournaments the team will compete in this year.

The team already has played in the Gonzaga Prep Tournament in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 10-12, where they finished second.

For United Faith, this is the second of three straight holiday tournaments. They competed in the Westminster Catawba Christian School Tournament last week.

Cox Mill Tourney

The Ardrey Kell boys' and girls' basketball teams will make their first appearance at the Cox Mill High School Holiday Basketball Tournament on Dec. 27-29.

GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational

United Faith boys will try to defend their GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational championship Dec. 27-29 at Broughton High in Raleigh. The event will feature some of the best teams in North Carolina in two eight-team tournaments.

Freedom Invitational

The Charlotte Catholic boys' and girls' teams and the Charlotte Christian girls' team will compete in the Freedom Invitational at Freedom High School in Morganton Dec. 28-30.

Lindberg Moody Tournament

The Providence High boys' team will travel to Rock Hill, S.C., for the Lindberg Moody Invitational at Northwestern High on Dec. 28-30.

Bojangles' Shootout

The South Mecklenburg boys' team will play in the 11th Bojangles' Shootout on Dec. 28-30 at Bojangles' Coliseum.

West Mecklenburg Tournament

The Providence High girls, East Mecklenburg girls and Independence girls will play in the West Mecklenburg Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28-30.

Midas Highlander Classic

The Charlotte Country day boys' and girls' teams will travel to Columbia, S.C., Dec. 28-30 to play in the Midas Highlander Classic at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.