Don’t look now, but Cannon School is beginning to look like the team that began the year ranked No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, poised to make a run at the school’s second state championship.
Cannon beat Walnut Grove Christian 81-40 Monday, led by 20 points from Jairus Hamilton and 17 from Qon Murphy. On Sunday, the Cougars fended off a challenge from York Prep at the Southeast Hoops Festival at Vance High School, winning 70-66. Hamilton, named Game MVP, had 26 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Murphy, who came over from Hough High to provide his good friend some support, had 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Hamilton and Murphy are both Division I recruits with great size. Hamilton is 6-8, around 230; Murphy is 6-6 around 200.
After the preseason ranking, Cannon got off to a slow start playing a tough schedule. The Cougars played two nationally ranked teams -- No. 1 Oak Hill and No. 12 Greensboro Day (in the Ball Is Life poll) -- and also played unbeaten Florida regional power Oldsmar Christian and Alabama regional power Sacred Heart, which is 9-2 now. The Cougars lost to all four.
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Ultimately, Cannon suffered a four-game losing streak and fell to 2-4. Despite an upset loss to Concord First Assembly last week, Cannon, now No. 10 in the current Sweet 16, is 5-5, having won its last two games, with Murphy and Hamilton beginning to look the one-two punch coach Che’ Roth hoped they would be in preseason.
In Monday’s win, Walnut Grove -- which got 18 points from Derrion Parks and 10 from Chris White -- led 15-14 after the first quarter. But Walnut Grove only scored 25 points in the next three quarters. Hamilton had 20 points, six assists and four rebounds. Murphy had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Cory Deveaux had 13 points and eight rebounds.
↑Devon Dotson, Providence Day: Junior point guard, who has more than 20 Division I scholarship offers, scored his 1,000th career point last week. Dotson and the Chargers are ranked No. 49 nationally in this week’s Ball Is Life national poll. Providence Day hosts CISAA conference rival Charlotte Latin Friday.
↑Kody Shubert, Lincoln Charter: Led team to a 5-0 start, No. 14 ranking in the Observer’s Sweet 16. Shubert is averaging 23 points and making 67 percent of his 2-point attempts and 50 percent of his 3s.
Monday’s Big 5 Performances
Maya Caldwell, Davidson Day girls: 21 points, five assists, five steals in a 67-31 win over Northside Christian.
Destiny Johnson, East Lincoln girls: 29 points, 19 rebounds, nine steals, five blocks and three assists in a 62-20 win over Hibriten.
Jordan McPhatter, Charlotte United Christian: freshman point guard had 15 points and 10 assists in a 89-47 win over Legacy Charter. Teammates Perez Bowser had 22 points and Jaylen Simms had 16 and five assists.
Bella Sheprow, Metrolina Christian: 21 points, seven steals, four assists, four rebounds in a 39-34 win over Union Academy. She scored 10 of her points in the fourth quarter.
Malcolm Wade, Metrolina Christian: junior point guard had game-high 27 points in 85-78 win over Union Academy.
No. 7 Davidson Day girls 66, Northside Christian 31: Davidson Day (4-2) won easily, but Northside got strong games from Eleah Parker (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Akiya Phillips (nine points, seven rebounds). Davidson Day got 22 points form Parker Tompkins, 21 from Caldwell and 16 from Ryann Sinclair. Davidson outscored Northside 22-4 in the first quarter to spark the rout.
Fort Mill 58, Rock Hill South Pointe 53: Austin Grainger had 19 poitns and Ryan DeLuca 14 in a close win. Fort Mill had to rally, outscoring South Pointe 20-10 in the fourth quarter to run its record to 4-1.
Northside Christian 76, Davidson Day 55: Jason Tate has 21 points, Jon Hickllin 20 and Jaden Seymour 14 for Northside in the win. Cyncier Harrison had 14 and Will Coble 10 for Davidson Day.
South Caldwell 71, North Gaston 47: South Caldwell (1-2) beat North (3-1) on North’s home opener, making 20-32 free throw attempts. North Gaston was 8-of-19 from the line. All five South Caldwell starters scored in double digits, led by Alex Haigler with 17.