Teams To Watch
Davidson Day: The Patriots have quietly averaged 22 wins per season over the past three years. Coach Jeff LaFave returns all five starters this season, led by the backcourt of sophomores Jael Hall (10 points per game (ppg)) and Mallorie Haines (17 ppg), which gives them a legitimate shot to be NCISAA 2A state contenders, again.
Providence Day: When you go 24-7 overall, and lose in the NCISAA 3A state semifinals and that’s a disappointing season, you know just how good your team has become. Coach Josh Springer and his team have set an impossible standard, but the goal every year is to win a CISAA conference and state championship. This year will be no different as junior guards, Andi Levitz (9 ppg) and MiLeia Owens (6 ppg), will play lead roles in the pursuit of adding to the Chargers’ championship lore.
Charlotte Latin: The Hawks had a breakout season, winning 20 games, tying Providence Day for the CISAA title, and advancing all the way to the NCISAA 3A state semifinals. This year, Charlotte Latin has plenty of talent to make a similar run with senior forwards, Kathryn Vandiver (15 ppg) and Ruthie Jones (13 ppg) leading a veteran team.
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Victory Christian: The Kings were one of the most improved teams in the state going from 2-15 in 2016-17 to 20-12 last year. Coach Iesha Gray returns four starters, led by junior guard Assiyah Mitchell (13 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 spg) on a team that believes it can contend for South Piedmont Athletic Association (conference) title and be a factor deep into the playoffs (1A state quarterfinalist last year).
Hickory Grove: The Lions return four senior starters from a team that went 20-10 overall, advancing to the NCISAA 3A state quarterfinals. Two-time all-Metrolina Athletic conference (MAC) guards Imani Cherry and Savannah Brown will look to Hickory Grove contend for league title and make another deep playoff run.
Charlotte Country Day: After six straight losing seasons, coach Andre Haston and company have a good chance to get above .500 with 6-foot junior center Katie Batten (12 ppg, 15 rpg) leading the way. If the Bucs can finish in the top half of a brutal CISAA and make it back to the playoffs that would be a big accomplishment.
Christ the King: The Crusaders return all five starters, led by sophomore point guard Kylie Panizza (12.3 ppg) and senior forward Sarah Kocher (9.2 ppg). Coach Phil Harrington and his veteran club look to post a winning record for the 4th time in the last five years.
Players to Watch
Mallorie Haines, Davidson Day sophomore: The Patriots’ standout sophomore guard (17 ppg) and Davidson College commit set the Mecklenburg County freshman scoring record (for boys or girls) with 51 points in a win over Langtree Charter. This Davidson Day shooting machine leads a veteran Patriots’ team with all five starters back, giving them a good chance to be a 2A state contender.
Kathryn Vandiver, Charlotte Latin senior: The 6-foot-1 all-state forward can score inside and out (15 ppg, 7 rpg) and will look to lead Latin to a championship season (CISAA co-champions, NCISAA state semifinalist) in her final season in a Hawks’ uniform.
Ruthie Jones, Charlotte Latin senior: The 6-foot, all-conference forward is a multi-talented athlete (13 ppg, 4 rpg) as she doubles as an all-state goalkeeper (Duke soccer commit), who played for the U17 U.S. National team.
Andi Levitz, Providence Day junior: The Chargers’ junior guard (9 ppg) will need to step up her game to play a lead role on a Providence Day team that always has championship goals (CISAA conference/NCISAA 4A state).
Imani Cherry, Hickory Grove senior: The two-time all-conference guard will play a lead role again for a Hickory Grove team expecting another 20-plus win season (20-8 last year)
Assiyah Mitchell, Victory Christian junior: The Kings’ junior guard can get it done on both sides of the court (13 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 spg) and looks to help Victory Christian contend for the SPAA crown and deep into the postseason.
Katie Batten, Charlotte Country Day junior: The 6-foot junior center (12 ppg, 15 rpg) looks to help the Bucs get back into the upper half of the CISAA standings, giving themselves a shot to get back into the playoff picture.
Kylie Panizza, Christ the King sophomore: The Crusaders’ sophomore point guard (12.3 ppg) looks to set the tone for a veteran team that returns all five starters.
Kaitlin Walker, Charlotte Christian senior: The Knights’ 6-foot, senior will be the go-to girl on a Charlotte Christian team that is looking to improve under first-year coach, Tony Busby.
Akiya Phillips, Northside Christian junior: The Knights’ junior guard (10 ppg, 5 rpg) looks to help a Northside Christian team be much improved with all five starters back from a squad that won only two games a year ago.
Can’t Miss Games
Providence Day vs. Ardrey Kell in Charlotte Hoops Challenge at Berry Academy, Friday, Nov. 23: The Chargers won’t waste any time figuring out how good they can be as they get two great early season tests in a 24-hour span in the Charlotte Hoops’ Challenge.
Providence Day plays Ardrey Kell, Friday afternoon (12/30), and then takes on South Mecklenburg the next morning (11 a.m.).
Davidson Day vs. Vance in the Charlotte Hoops Challenge at Berry Academy, Saturday Nov. 24: The Patriots face off against what should be on the best 4A public school girls’ teams in the state in Vance, which will provide a great test in big-time environment.
Victory Christian vs. Jay M. Robinson in Holden Classic at North Mecklenburg, Friday, Nov. 23, Saturday, Nov. 24: The Kings get a chance to make an early statement against Jay M. Robinson in Holden Classic opener. Victory Christian will get either North Mecklenburg/Cox Mill in the consolation or championship game the next day.
Davidson Day at Charlotte Latin, Tuesday, December 11: The Patriots and Hawks winner will gain a big win and a lot of momentum from this mid-December matchup.
Charlotte Latin at Providence Day, Friday, Feb. 8: The final game of the regular season could decide the CISAA conference championship and have major playoff seeding implications. The two teams also meet at Charlotte Latin, Jan. 22.
Charlotte Latin senior Ruthie Jones is not the only standout athlete in her family as the Hawks’ basketball and soccer standout (Duke soccer commit) has two older brothers already starring in the college ranks with Daniel Jones, the starting junior quarterback at Duke and Bates Jones, a rising sophomore on the Davidson College basketball team.
The Providence Day girls’ basketball team has won 16 state championships overall, including nine of the last 11 titles.
Carmel Christian (Da’Charles Battle), Charlotte Christian (Tony Busby), Grace Academy (Amanda Miller) and SouthLake Christian (Craig McCoy) all have first-year coaches that will have to rebuild their respective teams.
Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association
Comenius; 2. Arborbrook Christian; 3. First Assembly of Monroe; 4. Carolina Christian; 5. Grace Academy.
Providence Day; 2. Charlotte Latin; 3. Charlotte Country Day; 4. Cannon School; 5. Covenant Day; 6. Charlotte Christian.
Metrolina Christian (MAC) Girls
Concord First Assembly; 2. Gaston Day; 3. Metrolina Christian; 4. Hickory Grove; 5. Northside Christian; 6. SouthLake Christian; 7. Westminster Catawba; 8. Gaston Christian.
Southern Piedmont Athletic Association Girls
Victory Christian; 2. Statesville Christian; 3. Hickory Christian; 4. North Hills Christian; 5. United Faith; 6. University Christian; 7. Woodlawn School.