The Observer continues a look at teams ranked in its preseason Sweet 16. The poll order will be revealed Sunday
NORTH MECKLENBURG VIKINGS
Head Coach: Jennifer Baker (10th year as North Mecklenburg head coach; 147-94 at North Mecklenburg).
2017-18 Record: 14-12 (7-7 in the I-Meck 4A conference).
Returning Starters (1): Jessica Timmons, So., G (5-8).
Other Key Returning Players: Jordan Jenkins, Sr., G (5-9).
Key Newcomers: Taylor Dunn, Fr., G (5-5); Alisha Harris, Fr., F (5-9).
Outlook: The Vikings have been up and down in the past four years, like their 14-12 mark from a year ago. This year, North Mecklenburg returns one of the best scorers in the state in 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Jessica Timmons (25.5 ppg). Coach Jennifer Baker and company will look to Timmons to help them finish in the upper half of a brutal, I-Meck 4A conference and be a dangerous team to play in a one-and-done, playoff-game scenario.
SOUTH MECKLENBURG SABRES
Head Coach: Cristie Mitchell (8th year as South Mecklenburg head coach; 94-88 at South Mecklenburg).
2017-18 Record: 25-5 (10-2 in the SoMeck7 conference).
Returning Starters (1): Shariah Gaddy, Sr., G/F (5-11).
Key Newcomers: Jaclyn Feit, Jr., F (6-3); Senali Moss, Fr., G (5-7); Katie Houpt, Fr., G (5-9).
Outlook: The Sabres have established themselves as a state power winning 60 games in the last three years, including a 25-5 mark last season. This year, coach Cristie Mitchell will look to all-conference senior Shariah Gaddy (12 ppg, 7 rpg) to lead a younger team that has the talent to contend for the SoMeck7 title and be a factor deep into the 4A state playoffs, again. Sabres’ freshman guard Senali Moss, daughter of NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. will provide an instant impact in the starting lineup for South Mecklenburg.