Teams to Watch
North Iredell: The Raiders have averaged 25 wins per season over the last three years. This year, North Iredell returns three senior starters in tri-captains Mackie Allen (9 ppg), Rachel Lalonde (16 ppg, 9 rpg) and Addie Pennell (6 ppg, 5 apg) that should give them a chance to repeat as NPC champions and be a serious 3A state contender (3A state quarterfinalist last year).
Statesville: The Greyhounds are loaded in the backcourt as they return senior Danasia Gray (14 ppg, 8 rpg) and Tyaysia Sharpe (10 ppg), and add Statesville Christian transfer Aasia McNeil and jayvee most valuable player Shania Bailey. If Statesville can find some consistent frontcourt help they have plenty of firepower in the backcourt to contend in the NPC and be a team no one wants to face in the postseason with their guard play.
Lake Norman: The have struggled in the past two years going 17-33 in the span. But the Wildcats return four starters, led by 6-foot junior point guard Lauren Sullivan (15 ppg) as they look to fight their way into the middle of the I-Meck 4A standings and back into the playoff picture.
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Mooresville: Mooresville has been much improved over the past two years, going 32-23 overall. This season, the Blue Devils will look to seniors Alecsai Allen (12 ppg) and Macey Martin to try stay above .500 and in the contention for a postseason berth.
Pine Lake Prep: The Pride enjoyed their best two seasons in program history over the past two years, winning 43 games. Pine Lake Prep returns three starters, led by junior Carly Scholl (8 ppg) and senior Lauren Messer (5 ppg, 6 rpg) as they try to keep their winning ways going and stay in playoff position in what has become a tough, Piedmont Athletic conference 8 (PAC 8).
Players to Watch
Danasia Gray, Statesville senior: The Greyhounds’ all-conference guard/forward (14 ppg, 8 rpg) will play a lead role in a Statesville backcourt eager to prove they can be amongst the NPC’s best.
Lauren Sullivan, Lake Norman junior: The Wildcats’ junior all-conference point guard (15 ppg) will need to make a lot of big plays if Lake Norman is going to get back in the thick of the I-Meck 4A conference race.
Rachel Lalonde, North Iredell senior: 6-foot-2, senior forward (16 ppg, 9 rpg) leads a balanced, Raiders’ attack on a team that has great expectations again this year (averaged 25 wins per season over the last three years).
Alecsai Allen, Mooresville senior: The Mooresville all-conference guard (12 ppg) will be shooting to help the Blue Devils to their third straight winning season.
Aasia McNeil, Statesville senior: Statesville Christian transfer will have an immediate impact in a Greyhounds’ backcourt that will put constant pressure on their opponents will their ability to handle the ball and score.
Carly Scholl, Pine Lake Prep junior: Pride guard (8 ppg) will be a lead role in trying to keep Pine Lake Prep near the top of the PAC 8 standings.
Sarah Nelson, South Iredell junior: Vikings’ standout (12 ppg) will try to help a young team start to move back up the NPC ladder.
Can’t Miss Games
Mooresville at Statesville, Monday, Nov. 19: The season-opener is a big game for both teams as they look to establish some confidence and momentum in the non-conference portion of their season before moving into their respective, tough league schedules.
West Charlotte at Lake Norman, Friday, December 14: The Wildcats’ I-Meck 4A home opener gives Lake Norman a chance to get off to a good start in league play is what is a must win at home.
Iredell Sports’ Hall of Fame Tournament at North Iredell, Dec. 26-28: Most of Iredell County’s best boys’ and girls’ were look to shine in this holiday tournament at North Iredell.
Carson at North Iredell, Friday, Feb. 1: If North Iredell wants to repeat as NPC champions (tied Carson last year) they will have to hold serve against Carson at home on Feb. 1.
Lake Norman at Mooresville, Tuesday, Feb. 5: Always a lot at stake when these archrivals do battle and this game will likely have I-Meck 4A conference standings’ implications as each game gets more and more critical in the final two weeks of the season. Mooresville visits Lake Norman, Jan. 8.
Statesville at Carson, Friday, Feb. 8: If Statesville is going to make a move in the NPC, the Greyhounds will have to win some games against the top teams in the league, like Carson. This game will likely have a big impact on the NPC race with 10 days to go in the regular season.
West Iredell coach, David Parsons, admits “he doesn’t remember coaching his team in some of the games last year,” as the Warriors’ coach battled colon cancer. This year, Parsons is cancer free and says “he has energy for the time in a couple of years,” and is eager for year of redemption.”
Lake Norman added assistant coach Jerome Hornbuckle, who has helped coach 53 Division I players in 38 years of coaching, including four who went onto play in the WNBA. That list includes Hornbuckle’s daughter, Alexis Hornbuckle, who starred at University of Tennessee before playing in the WNBA.
Former South Iredell girls’ junior varsity coach Marcus Chambers now takes the over as the Vikings (varsity) head coach, but it won’t be easy with a young team in a tough league.
Langtree Charter coach, Antonio McConnuighey, will guide the Lions girls’ in their first year in a conference, the Piedmont Athletic Conference 8 (PAC 8), 1A.
Note: Conference standings predictions were compiled from the votes of each leagues’ coaches.
I-Meck 4A Girls
Vance; 2. Mallard Creek; 3. North Mecklenburg; 4. Hopewell; 5. Hough; 6. Lake Norman; 7. Mooresville; 8. West Charlotte.
Piedmont Athletic Conference 8 (PAC 8) Girls
Union Academy; 2. Community School of Davidson; 3. Pine Lake Prep; 4. Mountain Island Charter; 5. Langtree Charter; 6. Carolina International; 7. Queens Grant; 8. Bradford Prep.
North Piedmont Girls’
Carson; 2. North Iredell; 3. Statesville; 4. West Rowan; 5. South Iredell; 6. East Rowan.
Northwest Foothills’ 2A Girls’
East Burke; 2. Draughn; 3. Patton; 4. Bunker Hill; 5. West Iredell; 6. Hibriten; 7. Fred T. Foard.
Southern Piedmont Athletic Association Girls
Victory Christian; 2. Statesville Christian; 3. Hickory Christian; 4. North Hills Christian; 5. United Faith; 6. University Christian; 7. Woodlawn School.
Note: Statesville Christian did not turn in preseason information before this preview was published.