High School Sports

Observer Sweet 16: No. 1 Mallard Creek girls begin title chase

Mallard Creek Mavericks #22 Autumn Drayton goes up for a layup over Vance Cougar #00 Ahlana Smith in a MECKA conference game this season. Mallard Creek is No. 1 in the Observer’s girls Sweet 16 poll.
Mallard Creek Mavericks #22 Autumn Drayton goes up for a layup over Vance Cougar #00 Ahlana Smith in a MECKA conference game this season. Mallard Creek is No. 1 in the Observer’s girls Sweet 16 poll. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Mallard Creek’s girls, No. 1 in the Sweet 16, have won 13 straight games and begin the N.C. 4A playoffs Tuesday. And coach Clarence Johnson thinks his team has a real shot at winning the school’s first state championship.

Mallard Creek has made the N.C. 4A Western Regionals twice, the last time in 2011, but has never made it to the state finals. Johnson thinks this could be the team and the season to change all that.

“It’s a great possibility,” Johnson said. “It’s all about seedings and brackets, but I’d say we’ve got a great shot to get there. Right now, everybody’s healthy.”

Mallard Creek is led by 5-9 senior Chantel Williams (14 points per game, six rebounds, five assists), who missed last season with a knee injury. Junior Kayla Brown, a 5-6 sharpshooter, averages 17 points and has verbally committed to Winthrop; and sophomore Janay Sanders (10 ppg, three steals) has become one of the team’s top defenders.

“The fact that Chantel is back makes a huge difference,” Johnson said. “She just makes everyone better. But what makes us really good is our sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th player is pretty good and the unique thing about this group is everyone really likes each other. That’s major. But we’ve lost one basketball game. That’s crazy, man. It’s been an unbelievable year.”

Boys Sweet 16

Team (Class)

Rec.

Pvs.

1. Providence Day (IND)

30-3

1

2. North Mecklenburg (4A)

23-2

2

3. Concord Robinson (3A)

23-3

4

4. Charlotte Catholic (4A)

26-1

5

5. Concord (3A)

23-4

3

6. East Lincoln (2A)

23-0

6

7. Forest Hills (2A)

24-2

7

8. Butler (4A)

21-5

8

9. Weddington (3A)

20-5

9

10. Fort Mill (4A)

22-3

13

11. Hough (4A)

19-7

10

12. Berry (4A)

20-7

12

13. Cox Mill (3A)

19-7

11

14. Independence (4A)

19-7

14

15. Lincoln Charter (1A)

25-3

15

16. Lincolnton (2A)

20-5

16

Dropped Out: None. Also receiving votes: Cuthbertson (3A, 17-7); Rock Hill South Pointe (3A, 18-5); Hickory Ridge (3A, 18-7); Lake Norman Charter (2A, 20-7); Mooresville (4A, 18-9); Queens Grant (1A, 20-5)

Girls Sweet 16

Team (Class)

Rec.

Pvs.

1. Mallard Creek (4A)

25-1

1

2. Providence Day (IND)

27-2

2

3. Rock Hill (4A)

25-2

5

4. Weddington (3A)

23-2

6

5. Davidson Day (IND)

27-3

3

6. Ashbrook (3A)

26-1

4

7. Myers Park (4A)

20-5

7

8. Parkwood (3A)

21-4

11

9. Berry (4A)

20-4

8

10. Ardrey Kell (4A)

21-6

10

11. Hickory Ridge (3A)

22-4

9

12. North Gaston (3A)

19-4

13

13. Hopewell (4A)

18-7

12

14. Piedmont (3A)

21-5

14

15. North Iredell (3A)

20-5

NR

16. Charlotte Christian (IND)

19-10

16

Dropped Out: Rock Hill South Pointe (3A, 16-7). Also receiving votes: Charlotte Latin (IND, 18-9); South Mecklenburg (4A, 16-8); North Mecklenburg (4A, 18-8); Butler (4A, 19-8); Community School of Davidson (1A, 21-6)

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