When Myers Park girls’ basketball coach Barbara Nelson got to school Monday, two days after her team won the N.C. 4A championship, she still was tired. She said her team was, too. But she said everyone on campus was excited.
The Mustangs beat Southeast Raleigh 52-47 to win their second straight state title Saturday night in Chapel Hill and become the first Mecklenburg County 4A girls’ team to win repeat. On Monday, Myers Park won its second straight Observer Sweet 16 basketball championship and will receive a large banner, in school colors, for its effort.
“The kids at school felt like the girls did something special by winning back-to-back,” said Nelson, who has won nine state titles, two at Myers Park and seven at private school Providence Day. “And there’s a big part of me that feels relieved.
“I have won back-to-back state titles before, but I’ll be honest with you, doing it in the largest classification in your state, with as many good players as there are, it was difficult. There was a lot of pressure. A lot of it was self-imposed, but I know my kids felt pressure, too. I know (seniors) D.D. (Rogers), Aliyah (Mazyck) and Morgan (Uptegraff) wanted to create a legacy for kids coming behind them at Myers Park.”
Myers Park was one of three area teams to win state titles. Providence Day’s girls won a sixth straight N.C. Independent Schools championship. Lancaster won the S.C. 3A girls’ championship, its first since 1959. Lancaster trailed Lakewood 40-30 with 6 minutes, 32 seconds left in the state final and rallied to win 44-42.
One new team made the final poll, NCISAA 2A semifinalist Davidson Day.
Nelson’s team, ranked No. 4 nationally by USA Today, was No. 1 in the Sweet 16 all season. It’s only loss was at nationally ranked Blackman (Tenn.) in early December.
Over the past four years, Myers Park is 119-4. The team made three N.C. 4A Western Regional championships, won two and grabbed two state championships.
“These kids really wanted to change the culture,” said Nelson, who finished her third season as coach at Myers Park. “They wanted to create something to where kids wanted to work, not just in the gym, but on the track, in the weight room. We had to get them to understand how to be your best. We learned to put the ‘We’ before the ‘Me.’ I guess it’s kind of like putting the ‘Us’ in Mustangs.”
Sweet 16 Girls’ Basketball Poll
1. Myers Park (4A)
2. Providence Day (IND)
3. Ardrey Kell (4A)
4. Weddington (3A)
5. Lancaster, S.C. (3A)
6. Hopewell (4A)
7. Monroe (2A)
8. Rocky River (4A)
9. Mallard Creek (4A)
10. Charlotte Catholic (4A)
11. Forestview (3A)
12. South Iredell (3A)
13. Davidson Day (IND)
14.. Community School
of Davidson (1A)
15. Rock Hill S. Pointe (3A)
16. Hough (4A)