A slow start didn’t keep North Mecklenburg from extending its perfect start.
The Vikings improved to 9-0 with a 69-56 win against rival West Charlotte in a MECKA 4A boys’ basketball game at Johnson C. Smith’s sold-out Brayboy Gym, thanks in large measure to reserve guard Kendall Coles, who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points during the first quarter. From there, North Mecklenburg found its rhythm and led by as 23 during the fourth quarter.
“I think playing in a bigger gym, a college gym with a sold-out crowd, both teams were a little jittery at the start,” Vikings coach Duane Lewis said. “It was like 2-1 for three or four minutes, then once we settled in, Kendall did a great job coming in. He sparked us.”
North Mecklenburg took over from there, outscoring West Charlotte 19-8 in the first quarter and seizing a 32-14 lead at the break. Coles’ outbreak put the Vikings into rhythm, with point guard Davion Mintz adding seven of his 13 points in the first half and Jaylen McManus taking over in the paint with 17 points, including 14 in the second half as North Mecklenburg pulled away.
“It allowed Davion to get free a little bit and we had two ball-handlers out there,” Lewis said. “Getting off to that 19-8 lead, that’s nice against a good team like West Charlotte.”
The Lions (3-3) struggled to develop consistency on the offensive end. They fell behind early and turned the ball over nine times before halftime, which North Mecklenburg converted into 10 points. Jalen Knight was the only West Charlotte player to break into double digits with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough.
“They’re just a good team,” West Charlotte coach Baronton Terry said. “We just put them out there and let them play. They’re just better than us right now.”
North Mecklenburg reeled off a 10-4 lead to start the game.
North Mecklenburg – Kendall Coles 18, Jaylen McManus 17, Davion Mintz 13, Walker 5, Joyner 4, Maxwell 4, Hairston 3, Turner 2.
West Charlotte – Jalen Knight 17, Patrick Williams 7, Jackson 6, Cole 5, Hatchett 5, Kobie Williams 4, Huntlley 3, Sullivan 3, Epps 2, Stukes 2.