High School Sports

Charlotte Catholic coach Mike King calls state finals week ‘hectic,’ but also ‘fun’

Charlotte Catholic boys’ basketball coach Mike King, left, hugs Sam Smith after the Cougars’ 46-41 win against North Mecklenburg last Saturday in the N.C. 4A Western Regional championship game in Winston-Salem. Catholic will play Cary in Chapel Hill on Saturday for the state championship.
Charlotte Catholic boys’ basketball coach Mike King, left, hugs Sam Smith after the Cougars’ 46-41 win against North Mecklenburg last Saturday in the N.C. 4A Western Regional championship game in Winston-Salem. Catholic will play Cary in Chapel Hill on Saturday for the state championship. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Catholic boys’ basketball coach Mike King, whose Cougars will play Cary on Saturday night for the N.C. 4A state championship game, describes this week as “hectic.”

“But I’ll take this every year if it is possible,” said King, whose school will play for a boys’ state championship for the first time. “I’ve gotten texts and emails from people I haven’t heard from in 20 years.

“It’s kind of neat to hear from people in my hometown of Blowing Rock. That’s good. It’s fun.”

King said reaching the state final is everything he and his players imagined.

“We’re one of two teams left in 4A boys and one of 16 teams left in the whole thing,” King said. “That is a big deal for these kids. They deserve to be recognized for getting to this spot and it’s been a joy and we’re just trying to keep them focused.

“But one thing I learned early on in coaching is that kids really live in the moment. It’s about what’s going on right now for them. The tough part may be Saturday, when it’s close to (7:30 p.m. game time), but right now they are worried about what’s going on in class and different stuff like that.”

Catholic (31-1) has won nine straight games after starting the season 22-0. Saturday, they’ll face a Cary (31-1) team that is in the finals for a ninth time. Cary is 3-5 in the championship round.

“I had an interesting conversation with a college coach up in Raleigh back in January,” King said. “He said, ‘You guys (at Catholic) remind me a lot of Cary. You guys play hard and share the ball’ and just going over where we were at the time.

“Lo and behold, we end up playing each other in the state championship.”

N.C. Top 80 camp

The annual N.C. Top 80 basketball camp for the state’s top underclassmen is Saturday in Greensboro. Rosters were announced Thursday.

Players invited from Mecklenburg County: Chris Martin, Northside Christian; JC Tharrington, Charlotte Christian; Devon Dotson, Providence Day; Myles Pierre, Carmel Christian; Isaac Suffren, Myers Park; Jamarius Burton, Berry; Donovan Gregory, Northside Christian; Qon Murphy, Hough; Rob Peterson, Charlotte Christian; Trey Wertz, Providence Day; Jaelyn Withers, North Mecklenburg; Jon Bryan, Carmel Christian; BJ Mack, Charlotte Catholic; Justyn Hamilton, Independence; Nate Springs, Myers Park

Complete rosters are at charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school/

All-district teams

Three Observer-area players were named district players of the year by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association: North Mecklenburg’s Davion Mintz and Berry girls’ star Ra’Shika White won in District 9. East Lincoln’s Sage Surratt won in District 10.

Charlotte Catholic’s Mike King (boys) and Mallard Creek’s Clarence Johnson (girls) are District 9’s coaches of the year. East Lincoln boys’ coach Neil Hodges won in District 10.

Complete all-district teams are at charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school/

Briefly: Ex-Myers Park AD Clewis honored

Former Myers Park athletics director Greg Clewis will be inducted into the N.C. Athletics Directors Hall of Fame on March 21 in Asheville.

Clewis is one of four honored, along with Charlie Chapman, formerly of Southwestern Randolph and Asheboro High; Bob Henry, formerly at Cherokee; and Frank Maennle, formerly at Swain County.

Clewis resigned in 2011 after more than 35 years as an educator, including 27 at Myers Park, where he helped create one of the state’s best overall athletics programs. Clewis became full-time athletics director at Myers Park in 1996. From 1996-2011, Myers Park won 10 Southwestern 4A Wachovia Cups and three N.C. Wachovia state cups, recognition for having the best overall athletic program in its conference or the entire state.

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