↑Lavar Batts, Robinson; Justin Hamilton, Independence; Quay Kimble, Shelby: Three Observer-area players named to the Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic N.C. roster. The all-star weekend is March 17-18 in Myrtle Beach. Shelby’s Dale Hollifield is coaching the N.C. team along with Raleigh Millbrook’s Scott McInnes.
↑Weddington: beat Marvin Ridge 65-42 Thursday to win the Southern Carolina regular-season title for second straight season and third time in four years. Weddington will try to win its fourth conference tournament title next week.
↑Hough: Huskies (11-13) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 46-44 upset win Friday over Vance (19-5, 8-4). Vance is No. 7 in the Sweet 16.
↑Jacob Whitley, Adafe Price, West Stanly: Only four players in school history have topped 1,000 career points. These two did it on the same night.
↑Devon Dotson, Providence Day: believed to be the fourth Charger in school history (along with two-time Observer player of the year Grant Williams, two-time player of the year Jeremy Goode and Taylor Mokris) to score 1,500 points. Dotson passed the mark Tuesday at Cannon School. He was honored before Friday’s win over Charlotte Country Day, a game he finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
Friday’s #BIG5 Performers
MJ Armstrong, Nate Hinton, Quan McCluney, Gaston Day: Junior trio led the Spartans to an 89-72 win over Concord First Assembly in the MAC championship game. Armstrong had 21 points, two assists; Hinton had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists; and McCluney had 24 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Kamil Chapman, Fort Mill Comenius: career-high 53 points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals in a 110-73 win over Durham Mount Zion. Brandon Buford had 27 points for Comenius and junior point guard Nilous Hodge had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Chapman, a Longwood (VA) signee, had 50 points in a game at Mount Zion last year.
Wendell Moore, Francis Sio, Cox Mill: Moore had 38 points and 12 rebounds to lead Cox Mill (18-6, 16-2) to the South Piedmont conference championship. Sio, who made a game-winning 3-point shot Tuesday to make the outright title possible, had 20 points and eight rebounds.
Isaiah Salter, Central Cabarrus: career-high and Cabarrus County record 49 points in a 97-71 win over Northwest Cabarrus.
Jae’Lyn Withers, North Mecklenburg: Sophomore had 24 points and seven rebounds in the Vikings’ MECKA championship clinching win over No. 4 Mallard Creek.
Butler stays perfect, bounces No. 2 Independence in SW 4A championship game
Butler High boys’ basketball has never been this good this long.
The Bulldogs completed the first undefeated regular season in school history by holding off rival Independence 52-48 in the regular season finale at a packed Independence gym. Butler (24-0, 12-0 Southwestern 4A) got a huge third quarter from Gerrale Gates and opportunistic defensive stops to wrap up the milestone.
“I’m going to enjoy it because I’ve been on the other end and it’s no fun,” Butler coach Myron Lowery said. “I’ve had so many different types of teams you’ve got enjoy it and I told them any negative things I have I’m going to save them for Monday. Nothing negative. Everything’s a positive.”
Gates, a forward paced the Bulldogs with 20 points, including 12 in the third quarter as Butler outscored Independence 19-10 to lead 43-33 going into the final eight minutes.
“We ran (different) ways to get him the ball,” Lowery said. “That was our initial plan. I think we got out of it a little after the first timeout of the quarter and we were getting away from what we do. We’re an inside first, outside second and we kept feeding him, then he got that look in his eye and we kept feeding him. That third quarter was probably the deciding factor.”
Zane Rankin added 12 for Butler, which couldn’t put Independence in the fourth quarter as the Patriots (19-5, 10-2) rallied to within 48-46 on Chea Johnson’s drive late. The Bulldogs’ defense came up with a couple of stops, however, to seal the victory.
Victor Tshiona led the Patriots with 14 points and eight rebounds while Matthew Smith chipped in 10.
-- Herb White
No. 3 North Meck ends No. 4 Mallard Creek’s win streak, wins MECKA title
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.”
No. 8 Providence Day 74, Charlotte Country Day 53: After a slow start, the Chargers (22-11, 9-1) pulled away from Country Day (11-16, 3-7) to win easily. Providence Day won its 40th league game in 41 tries and won its fifth straight outright league championship. Isaac Suffren had 14 points, four rebounds and two assists for Providence Day. Junior Trey Wertz, playing his first game back from injury, had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Sophomores DeAngelo Epps and Alex Tabor had 14 each for Country Day and sophomore Rylan McLaurin added 13.
Lake Norman Charter 74, North Gaston 63: Troy Cracknell had 28 points and Grayson Hickert 24 to lead Lake Norman Charter (16-7, 12-2) to a tie for the Big South 2A/3A championship with Hunter Huss. It’s the third straight season Lake Norman Charter has won the title. It won outright last season and shared with Ashbrook two years ago. Hickert is two points away from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.
South Meck 41, Ardrey Kell 40: Derrick Walker made three 3-pointers in the second half and finished a team-high 12 points to lead the Sabres to a win over rival Ardrey Kell on Senior Night. Senior center Bryant Thomas had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Sabres. Wes Morgan (13 points) and David Kasanganay (11) points led Ardrey Kell.