Mallard Creek’s girls’ high school basketball team is two games from making a little history.
Only one girls’ team from Mecklenburg County has gone undefeated and won a N.C. High School Athletic Association championship. All-American Andrea Stinson led North Mecklenburg to a 26-0 season in 1986.
Thirty-one years later, the Mavericks are two wins from matching North Meck as an undefeated state champion.
Mallard Creek (29-0) will play Northwest Guilford (28-2) Saturday at UNC Greensboro in an N.C. 4A semifinal. This is as far as any Mallard Creek team has ever advanced.
“It’s a great situation,” said Mavericks coach “CJ” Johnson. “Our goal was to win the (MECKA) conference, to win the conference tournament and get four home (playoff) games. And we’ve done that. This is a whole new experience for this crew.
“(Northwest Guilford) was in the state championship game last year, and we’re playing them in Greensboro, literally in their back yard. We just have to bear down and do the best we can.”
Mallard Creek is led by its starting guards, junior Ahlana Smith and sophomore Dazia Lawrence, who combine to average more than 30 points per game. They are heavily recruited college prospects, drawing attention from Davidson, East Carolina, Georgetown, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Western Carolina, among others.
Johnson said four-year starter Kay’lla Richardson, junior Emya Price and senior Janae Davis have also played key roles in the team’s success. Like Smith and Lawrence, Johnson says those three will also play in college. And junior Janay Sanders is also receiving Division I attention.
“Ahlana and Dazia are very, very skilled,” Johnson said. “They have basketball brains. The things they do, there’s no drill for that. But we’ve got some really good role players. Kay’lla has started since she was a freshman. She’s been on some good teams and she and Emya and Janae have made some major sacrifices.
“And they are some tough, tough girls. They’re going to have the opportunity to go to college for free. Anytime you have four or five girls on a team that (can do that), that’s special.”
What Mallard Creek doesn’t have, however, is size. None of the players are taller than 5-foot-11. Northwest Guilford, which has won 24 straight games, has two girls who are 6-4.
“What these girls have done is an amazing thing,” Johnson said of his Mavericks. “We’re in a fairly decent conference and we’ve beaten some pretty good teams in the (Observer’s Sweet 16 poll). They have faced every test in every situation.
“But size is an advantage that the Guilford folks have. They have big girls. We’re quick, fast and defend well, but we don’t have a major post presence.”
Northwest Guilford will also have something of a home-court advantage at nearby UNC Greensboro. But Johnson said he’s OK with that, too.
“They don’t have to travel,” Johnson said of the Vikings. “They don’t have to worry about a pregame meal. It’s the little conveniences that are positives. But we’ve been trying to explain to our girls that there’s nothing like this experience.
“It’s hard to get this far. Now, we’ve just got to go play.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
Mecklenburg County NCHSAA Championship Girls’ Basketball Teams
North Mecklenburg (4A)
South Mecklenburg (4A)
West Charlotte (4A)
Myers Park (4A)
Myers Park (4A)