High School Sports

Charlotte Observer Winter Sports Athletes of the week, Jan. 9, 2019

Wendell Moore, Jr., Cox Mill Basketball: Wendell Moore Jr. has helped the Chargers to 91 wins (and counting) including the last two N.C. 3A state championships.

Moore played big on another big stage last week with 31 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and three assists to lead Cox Mill to a 78-68 win over Olympic Jan. 5.

The 6-foot-6, 215 pound senior was 7-for-12 from the field and 16-of-17 from the free-throw line in the victory over the Trojans.

Moore also averaged 29 points and 11 rebounds in three games at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, Dec. 26-29.

The Duke University signee is scoring 27.6 points, grabbing 7.8 rebounds, dishing out 3.2 assists, nabbing 1.7 steals and blocking 2.1 shots per game this season.

Moore posted his fifth 30-plus point outing this year against Olympic, and has 20-plus points in 12 of Cox Mill’s 13 games this year to help the Chargers to a 12-1 start.

Queens Grant’s Jah’Quez Sanders hits the game-winning free throws Special to the Observer

Jah’Quez Sanders, Queens Grant Basketball: The Queens Grant senior made two game-winning free throws with 0.7 seconds left to overtime to lift the Stallions over Union Academy, 63-61 Jan. 4.

Sanders had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in the victory to help Queens Grant improve to 10-4 overall, including 2-0 in the Piedmont Athletic Conference (PAC) 8 this season.

Sanders is currently being recruited by Barton College and Dallas Baptist University, according to Queens Grant basketball coach Jay Forsythe.

John Bean, East Lincoln Basketball: The East Lincoln senior guard broke a school-record, making nine three-pointers to lead the Mustangs to an 89-57 win over arch rival, Lincolnton, Jan. 2.

Bean went 9-for-16 from beyond the arc in the victory, scoring 27 points andbreaking the previous mark of seven three-pointers made in a game held by former East Lincoln standouts Sage Surratt and Adrian Forney.

Bean followed his record-breaking performance up with 20 points, six rebounds and two steals in an 85-64 win over North Lincoln, Jan. 4.

Bean is averaging 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game for the Mustangs, who are off to an 11-1 start this season.

Chris Ford, North Mecklenburg basketball: The North Mecklenburg sophomore forward had 19 points and eight rebounds to help the Vikings to a 75-47 win at rival, Hopewell Jan. 4.

Ford also had a strong week at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, Dec. 26-29, averaging 17 points and eight boards in three games to earn all-tournament teams honors.

Ford is averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game for the Vikings, who are 10-1 overall, including 3-0 in the I-Meck 4A conference this season.

Olympic High’s Josh Banks attacks the basket in Saturday’s game at Concord Cox Mill Jonathan Aguallo Special to the Observer

Josh Banks, Olympic basketball: The Olympic junior guard averaged 27.5 points per game last week in two games.

Banks started his week with 32 points, including five three-pointers, to help the Trojans to a 72-45 win over West Mecklenburg, Jan. 4.

The next night, Banks had 23 points in a tough loss at Cox Mill.

Banks also averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per contest in three games at the Governor’s Challenge Tournament in Salisbury, MD, Dec. 27-29.

Banks is averaging 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal per game for Olympic (8-4 overall), which is tied atop the SoMeck7 conference standings with Harding at 3-0 in league play.

RoyalBurrisHardingTrack2018 (1).jpeg
LaSonja Collins Special to the Observer

Royal Burris, Harding Track: The Harding senior continues to burn up the indoor track, winning the 55-meter dash at the Champions’ Fast Track High School Invitational, running the state’s best time this season at 6.39 seconds, Jan. 5.

Burris’ time also tied him for the second fastest 55-meter dash in the country this season, according to milesplit.com.

Burris also finished as runner-up at the same meet in the 300-meter dash (35.67) just .04 behind the winner.

Brian Risse, North Lincoln Track: The North Lincoln senior ran a personal-best indoor 1,600-meter run of 4:25.67 to win the race at the Champions Fast Track High School Invitational Jan. 5.

Risse, who is a Lipscomb University (TN) signee, also finished 14th in the 500-meter run at the same meet.

Richard Treanor, Hough Wrestling: The Hough sophomore won the 106-pound weight class title at both the Tiger Holiday Classic (Dec. 21-22) and the Holy Angels Tournament (Dec. 27-28) to run his record to a perfect 25-0 this season.

Treanor is currently ranked No. 16 in the country in his weight class, according to intermatwrestle.com.

Courtesy Concord Cannon School

Caleb Campos, Cannon School Wrestling: The Cannon School freshman finished fourth in the 120-pound weight class at the Prep Slam Classic last weekend (Jan. 4-5), in “one of the toughest prep tournaments of the year nationwide,” according to Cougars’ wrestling coach, Michael Helfant.

Campos pinned a Louisiana state champion, a Texas state runner-up and a Georgia Greco-Roman style state champion in his run at the Prep Slam Classic.

Campos is 16-3 this season.

Carter Williamson, East Lincoln Wrestling: The East Lincoln senior went 3-0 last week with pins against Lincolnton, Jan. 2, and North Lincoln, Jan. 3.

Williamson improved his record to 24-3 this season.

East Lincoln is 21-2 this season as a team.

Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week

John Davis II Special to the Observer

Janiya Downs, South Rowan Basketball: The South Rowan senior poured in a career-high 40 points, while grabbing 17 rebounds, four steals and four assists in a 74-44 win over Lexington Jan. 4.

Downs was also presented the game ball during the Lexington game for becoming South Rowan’s all-time leading scorer in the previous contest against West Rowan Dec. 29.

Downs has 1,849 career points (through the Lexington game, Jan. 4) and will likely break the 2,000-point barrier later this month.

Downs averages 28.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and three steals per game for the Raiders, who are 6-5 overall, including 5-1 in the Central Carolinas’ conference this season.

Julie Sandel Special to the Observer

Chyna Cornwell, Newton Conover Basketball: The 6-foot-3 Newton Conover junior continues to have a monster season as she averaged 27.2 points and 23.6 rebounds over the last five games.

Cornwell had her best game of this past week with 31 points and 23 rebounds in a 75-35 win over West Lincoln, Jan. 4.

She was even better the previous week, when Cornwell averaged 27 points, 26 rebounds and seven blocks per game in three wins in three days to claim the Dicks’ Sporting Goods Classic title at Catawba Valley Community College, Dec. 27-29.

Cornwell has helped the Red Devils (9-4, 3-0 in the South Fork 2A conference) to eight straight victories after a 1-4 start.

Nia Daniel, Hickory Ridge Basketball: The University of North Carolina signee had another big game with a season-high 28 points, seven rebounds and five steals to lead the Ragin’ Bulls to a 78-57 win at Rocky River, Jan. 4.

Daniel, who is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and five steals per game this season, has helped Hickory Ridge to a 10-1 overall record, including 3-0 in the Southwestern (SW4A) conference.

Lauren Sullivan, Lake Norman Basketball: The 6-foot junior had a big week in wins over Hough and South Iredell.

Sullivan poured in 29 points, including six three-pointers, in a 60-36 victory over Hough, Jan. 2.

Two days later, Sullivan had 17 points in a 48-34 win over South Iredell.

Sullivan is averaging 19 points per game for Lake Norman (6-6 overall, 2-1 in the I-Meck 4A conference) this season.

Saniya Wilson, Kings Mountain Basketball: The Kings Mountain freshman guard had another big week averaging 19.5 points to lead the Mountaineers to wins over North Gaston and Hunter Huss.

Wilson had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a 49-48 win at North Gaston Jan. 2. Her three-pointer with 2:45 left gave Kings Mountain their first lead of the game at 45-44.

Meanwhile, Wilson had 20 points, 10 steals, five rebounds and four assists in a 75-40 win over Hunter Huss, Jan. 4.

Wilson is averaging 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals per game for King Mountain (8-2 overall, 3-0 in the Big South conference) this season.

Andi Levitz, Providence Day Basketball: The Providence Day junior guard had 21 points to lead the Chargers to a 47-31 win at defending NCISAA 3A state champion Wesleyan Christian Jan. 4.

Levitz is averaging eight points per game for Providence Day (8-9) this season.

Kayla Davis, Run U Express: The Providence Day freshman, who trains at West Mecklenburg High, and runs for Run U Express club team had a huge day at the Champions’ Fast Track High School Invitational, Jan. 5.

Davis ran the fastest time in the state and the nation this indoor season to win both the 300-meter (37.92) and 500-meter (1:11.90) races at the same event.

Davis’ 500-meter time (1:11.90) is a state record, while her 300-meter time (37.92) is No. 2 all-time in state history, according to ncrunners.com.

Jeff Patterson Special to the Observer

Emme Nelson, Community School of Davidson Swimming: The Community School of Davidson junior won the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly in record-breaking fashion at the Pine Lake Prep Invitational at Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics Center Jan. 5.

Nelson set new school records in both the 100 backstroke (57.83) and 100 butterfly (59.24) at the same meet.

Nelson is defending 1A/2A state champion in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

Laura Davis, Providence Swimming: The Providence sophomore won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle races in a meet with Ardrey Kell, Jan. 4.

Davis’ performance helped her Providence team remain undefeated in conference dual meets this season.

Kelsi Hill, Union Academy Swimming: The Union Academy senior won the 100 breaststroke at the Pine Lake Prep Invitational at the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics’ Center, Jan. 5.

Hill, who also finished fourth in the 200 individual medley at the same meet, already has regional-qualifying cuts in five events (50 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 500 freestyle) and two relays (200 and 400 freestyle relays) this season.

** Information published today includes statistics through January 6.

Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school players with outstanding performances. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at edwardswork23@gmail.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.


Langston Wertz Jr. is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked at the Observer since 1988. He’s covered everything from Final Fours and NFL to video games and Britney Spears. Wertz -- a West Charlotte High and UNC grad -- is the rare person who can answer “Charlotte,” when you ask, “What city are you from.”
Support my work with a digital subscription