Former UNC point guard Jeff McInnis was hired in the summer at Lincolnton’s Combine Academy with the hope of building a national power.
From the looks of things, it won’t take him long.
In his first game with a brand new team, McInnis directed Combine to a 76-74 overtime win over nationally ranked Oak Hill (Va.).
“This team just wouldn’t quit,” McInnis said. “(Oak Hill’s) Cam Thomas is so tough and he hurt us but we kept fighting. The things we’ve worked on in practice came out tonight and I’m so proud of the kids.”
McInnis started his high school career at West Mecklenburg and led West Charlotte to a state championship as a sophomore. He played his final two season at Oak Hill under Steve Smith, the same coach he worked against Friday at Carmel Christian in front of a packed house.
Combine came out with an aggressive full-court press and never let up, matching the nation’s No 9 ranked team shot for shot.
Kris Robinson, a former Lincolnton High star, had 24 points, making 8-of-12 3-point attempts. He also had four rebounds. Robert Dillingham, a freshman, had 15 points and he made 3-of-5 3-point attempts.
Oak Hill got 32 points from 5-star recruit Cam Thomas, who also had seven rebounds and three assists.
Combine jumped out to an early lead thanks to Robinson, a junior guard who hit four three-pointers in the first quarter to help the Goats to a 24-20 advantage.
But Oak Hill responded in the second quarter, holding Combine scoreless for the final 2:35 and taking a 43-36 lead to the locker room.
The lead jumped to as much as 11 in the third quarter, and a minute into the fourth Oak Hill led 59-49. But Combine chipped away, closing to within two on two separate occasions and they trailed 68-65 with 30 seconds left.
After forcing a turnover, Robinson hit a three (his eighth of the game) with 13 seconds left to tie the score at 68 and send it to overtime.
In overtime, freshman Robert Dillingham drilled a three-pointer with 1:43 left for a 73-72 lead that the Goats would never relinquish.
Carmel Christian 72, Fayetteville Northwood Temple 33: In the nightcap, host Carmel Christian, the two-time NCISAA 2A defending champions, held Northwood Temple-Academy scoreless for the first five minutes of the game and cruised to a 72-33 victory.
Carmel Christian’s defense stifled Northwood from the start, allowing the Eagles just one field goal in the opening quarter as they jumped to 21-5 lead. Northwood kept it somewhat close in the second and trailed 33-19 at the half, but Carmel Christian ended any hopes of a comeback in the third quarter, holding Northwood to two field goals and outscoring them 28-5 in the quarter and they cruised to the win.
Kenny Gwynn led Carmel Christian with 13 points while Justin Taylor added 11 and all 13 players who saw action scored. Northwood was led by Reggie Raynor and Emmanuel Sepulveda who each scored seven.
Hickory Moravian Prep 71, Concord First Assembly 58: Top 25 national recruit Josh Hall had 20 points, five rebounds and led Moravian Prep to an easy win at the Carmel Christian Tip-Off.
Moravian, which forced 23 First Assembly turnovers, led 59-42 at the end of the third quarter and led 24-9 after the first. Shakeel Moore had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Moravian, and Darrius Davis added 14 points, five rebounds. First Assembly got 21 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks from 6-8 senior Cheick Traore and 15 points from Trae Benham.
Hickory Grove 61, Arden Christ School 56: Hickory Grove pulled off a big upset, taking down a private school state title favorite behind 31 points from game MVP AJ Smith. Smith is a 6-foot-4 junior guard.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE AT CARMEL CHRISTIAN: Liberty Heights vs Piedmont Classical, 12:15 p.m.; Concord First Assembly vs Northwood Temple, 2; Greensboro Day School vs Christ School, 3:45 p.m.; Moravian Prep vs Henderson Collegiate, 5:30 p.m.; Lincolnton Combine Academy vs Burlington School, 7:15 p.m.; Carmel Christian vs Cannon School, 9
UNITED FAITH 72, CAROLINA CHRISTIAN 9
United Faith 30 13 14 15 -- 72
Carolina Christian 1 3 0 5 -- 9
UNITED FAITH 72 -- Cedric Patterson 12, Mike Dudley Jr. 11, Jaylen Jones 10, Josh Massey 10, Quinton Scheuermann 7, Anjay Cortez 6, Adriel De La Rosa 6, Micah Gilbert 5, Jaden Quick 3, Tony Redd 2, Charlie Hester 2
CAROLINA CHRISTIAN 9 -- C. Hall 3, G. Eddy 3, A. Long 2
Notable: Charlie Hester 11rebs, Jaylen Jones 7ast
QUEENS GRANT 60, SUGAR CREEK 49
Queens Grant 20 12 18 10 - 60
Sugar Creek 7 14 11 17 - 49
Queens Grant 60 - Jeremiah Murphy 27, LB Boyette 16
Sugar Creek Charter 49, Queens Grant 23: Jada Cruz had 11 points and Miracle Jackson 10 in an easy win. Sugar Creek allowed seven points in the first half.
Sugar Creek Charter 11 17 13 8 F 49
Queens Grant 2 5 10 6 F 23
SCCS : Jada Cruz 11, Barrett 6, Rain Redfern 9, Gardner 6, Williams 5, Miracle Jackson 10, Mcgill 2
QG: Jazly 9, Remi 2, Sydney 10, Naysa 2
Records: QG(0-1); SCCS( 1-1)