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Boys Basketball Team Capsules: Cleveland County

Kings Mountain’s Adrian Delph, an Appalachian State recruit, is one of the top returning boys basketball players in Cleveland County
Kings Mountain’s Adrian Delph, an Appalachian State recruit, is one of the top returning boys basketball players in Cleveland County

Here are previews for boys basketball programs in Cleveland County. The profiles were put together by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

To see more county previews, visit this link

BURNS

Head Coach: Kareem Livingston (5th year as Burns’ basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 5-19 (4-12 in the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Big South 3A Conference.

Returning Starters (0): None.

Key Newcomers: Jahari Mitchell, So., PG (5-11); Rayshun McDowell, Jr., F (6-1); J.Q. Wells, So., F (6-3).

Outlook: Burns hasn’t had a winning season since the 2010-11 campaign, including 5-19 record last year. Life won’t get any easier as the Bulldogs move into the Big South 3A conference without any starters returning, which is not a recipe for success. Coach Livingston says "he has a young energetic team that hates to lose," that will likely have to take some lumps and gain experience before they can get going back in the right direction.

--JAY EDWARDS

CREST

Head Coach: Justin Zaleski (5th year as Crest basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 63-43.

2016-17 Record: 11-16 (6-10 in the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Big South Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (0): None.

Other Key Returnees: Chase Burgan, Sr., G/F (6-2); Jason Wray, Jr., F (6-2); Jordan Brooks, Jr., C/F (6-3). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Crest has made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons. But that streak may be in jeopardy as a young team with no starters back move into a tough, Big South conference. The Chargers will likely be in a rebuilding mode this year, but should be a much different team in February, when teams ultimately define their seasons.

--JAY EDWARDS

KINGS MOUNTAIN

Head Coach: Grayson Pierce (7th year as Kings Mountain basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 87-71.

2016-17 Record: 19-10 (11-5 in the South Mountain Athletic Conference 2A/3A).

2017-18 Conference: Big South 3A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Adrian Delph, Sr., PG (6-3) (Appalachian State commit); Zeke Littlejohn, Jr., G (6-2).

Other Key Returnees: Eli Paysour, Jr., G/F (6-2). Key Newcomers: Kobe Paysour, Fr., PG (6-1).

Outlook: The Mountaineers are a matchup nightmare with one of the most dynamic backcourts in the state in Delph (21 ppg/Appalachian State commit) and Littlejohn (18 ppg/Division I recruit) that can run and shoot with the best of them. With Delph and Littlejohn capable of exploding at any moment, Kings Mountain is one of the favorites to win the Big South conference and a dangerous playoff matchup in a win or go home scenario.

--JAY EDWARDS

SHELBY

Head Coach: Aubrey Hollifield (12th year as Shelby basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 241-67.

2016-17 Record: 24-6 (13-3 in the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Dax Hollifield, Sr., F (6-2); Malik Surratt, Sr., G (6-0).

Other Key Returnees: DeQuan George, Jr., G (6-2). Key Newcomers: Jaiden Hunt, Sr., G (6-3).

Outlook: Shelby has won 24 games in three of the past four seasons, including a trip to the 2A state quarterfinals last year. But with two starters back in Dax Hollifield (9 ppg, 7 rpg) and Surratt (7 ppg), it won’t be easy to keep up their winning ways. But Coach Aubrey Hollifield is a proven winner in his decade-plus tenure, and no one will be surprised if Shelby emerges as contender in the new, SW2A conference, is a dangerous, playoff after winning seven of the last 11 sectionals. Hollifield and the Golden Lions simply know how to win the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

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