Before North Mecklenburg, No. 3 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, beat No. 4 Mallard Creek 80-66 Friday, Vikings coach Duane Lewis told his team that he doesn’t like sharing.
The Vikings needed to end Mallard Creek’s 14-game win streak to not share the MECKA conference championship with the Mavericks, one of the hottest teams -- if not the hottest team -- among N.C. public schools.
Lewis’ didn’t need to worry.
After the Mavericks (17-6, 8-4) raced out to a nine-point lead, North Meck came storming back behind 24 points and seven rebounds from sophomore Jae’Lyn Withers and 15 points and nine rebounds from 6-6, 300-pound senior center Terrell Sherman. North Meck (20-3, 10-2) was up 16 by the end of the third quarter.
This year, at least, North Meck wouldn’t be sharing anything.
“We got it done in the paint,” Lewis said. “And Withers is a stud. Jae’Lyn Withers can play, man, and he got in his groove and hit a couple 3s. He got going and (junior point guard) Vaud (Worthy, who had nine assists) does such a good job of controlling tempo. It was just a big win for us. It’s the last night of the season and there were three unbelievable games in Charlotte -- Providence Day (playing Country Day) for their title; us; and Butler at Independence. These are all big rivalries.”
North Meck won its second straight conference championship and the five Vikings seniors will end their careers having never lost a league title, Lewis said. Most of them were part of two junior varsity league championships and overall, those five seniors were part of North Meck JV and varsity teams that went 75-6.
“We tell the guys all the time that ‘Everybody doesn’t win a state championship every year,’” Lewis said. “But you want to leave a legacy and leave a banner, and you want to share that banner with anybody. To win outright at home is a huge deal. We wanted this.”