Tristan Maxwell knew he was going to have to step up his game coming into his junior season on a North Mecklenburg basketball team that lost eight players from a year ago and did not return any seniors.
Maxwell has done just that. The son of former Houston Rockets star Vernon “Mad Max” Maxwell, Tristan is averaging a career-best 22 points, six rebounds and two assists per game to lead a Vikings’ team that is 13-2 overall, including 6-0 in the I-Meck 4A conference. North Mecklenburg’s only two losses came to two out of state teams (Westchester (CA) and St. Edward (OH) in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, Dec. 26-29.
North Meck plays at Lake Norman Tuesday night (Jan. 22).
“He (Tristan Maxwell) came to us a skinny ninth grader that could shoot,” said North Mecklenburg coach, Duane Lewis, in his 20th year as the Vikings’ head basketball coach. “Each year he has added to his game, and gotten bigger and stronger. This year (now 6-foot-3, 200 pounds), he does so much more for this team from scoring to rebounding to passing. He’s a gifted offensive player.”
Maxwell has already had several big games this year, the latest coming in a 33-point effort to help North Meck to a 73-60 win at Mallard Creek, Jan. 11.
Three days earlier, Maxwell had 19 points in a 64-51 victory over Hough.
“He’s one of those guys if makes a couple shots, watch out, because he can explode,” Lewis said. “We are working to help get him more consistent over four quarters. He’s gotten more consistent each year.”
Maxwell has been a standout from the start at North Mecklenburg, not only cracking the starting lineup as a freshman but averaging 14 points per game. Last year, he averaged 20 points per game.
Now, only 16 years old, Maxwell is busy taking his game to another level.
Maxwell never has to look to far for motivation as his father, Vernon Maxwell, was a former NBA great who played 13 years in the league, winning two world championships as the Houston Rockets’ starting shooting guard.
While some players would struggle with the expectations (of being a NBA player’s son), Maxwell thrives on it.
“I think he handles being the son of a NBA player really well, because he hears about it a lot at every game,” Lewis said. “I think that motivates Tristan and just makes him go a little harder. Being (Vernon Maxwell’s son) just gives him an extra edge, makes him play a little harder every time he steps on the court.”
While Maxwell is focused on the North Mecklenburg season at hand, he also has an even brighter future with schools from ACC, SEC, Big East and more already recruiting him, according to Lewis, who says “he is definitely a high-major (Division I player).”
Keim Moore, Mount Pleasant Basketball: The Mount Pleasant junior had 54 points, 13 assists and a game-winning basketball in two games played in less than a 24-hour span last week.
Moore had 31 points and eight assists in an 80-62 at Anson County, Jan. 11.
The next day, Moore came back with 23 points, five assists, including the game-winning score in a 74-72 victory at Concord.
Moore had three buzzer-beating shots at the end of quarters against Concord, including the game-winner with 3.7 seconds remaining. Mount Pleasant beat Concord for the fourth time in school history.
Moore is averaging 17 points and five assists for Mount Pleasant (13-2, 2-0 in the Rocky River conference) this season.
Kris Robinson, Lincolnton Basketball: The Lincolnton junior averaged 34 points per game in three contests to help the Wolves to 2-1 record last week.
Robinson started his week with 29 points, including seven three-pointers and his 1,000th career point, in a 69-53 over West Lincoln, Jan. 8.
Robinson had 35 points, including seven more treys, in the Wolves’ 83-38 win over West Caldwell, Jan. 9.
Two days later, Robinson had 36 points, with seven more three-pointers, in an 80-74 loss to Lake Norman Charter.
Demilade Adelekun, Gaston Day Basketball: The 6-foot-8, 225-pound senior forward had a big week (week of Jan. 11) with 69 points and 30 rebounds combined in two wins.
Adelekun started his week with 30 points and 12 rebounds in an 87-41 win over Westminster Catawba, Jan. 8.
Adelekun finished his week even stronger with 39 points and 18 rebounds in Gaston Day’s 70-68 victory over rival, Gaston Christian.
Adelekun is averaging 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks per game for the Spartans (11-4, 2-0 in the Metrolina Athletic conference (MAC)).
A.J. Smith, Hickory Grove Basketball: The Hickory Grove sophomore set a single-game school-record with 44 points in the Lions’ 79-59 win over SouthLake Christian, Jan. 11.
Smith also scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 78-52 win over Gaston Christian, Jan. 8.
Smith averages 26 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals per game for Hickory Grove (10-11, 3-2 in the MAC).
Alex Tabor, Charlotte Country Day Basketball: The Charlotte Country Day senior guard averaged 25 points per game in two big CISAA conference wins two weeks ago.
Tabor had 34 points, including four three-pointers, in an 84-82 win over Cannon School Jan. 8.
Three days later, Tabor had 16 points and five rebounds to lead the Bucs past rival Providence Day 54-47.
Tabor is averaging 18 points, four rebounds and three assists for Charlotte Country Day (15-5, 2-0 in the CISAA conference) this season.
Drew Shaw, North Gaston Basketball: The North Gaston senior forward averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds per game as the Wildcats went 2-1 two weeks ago.
Shaw’s best individual game came in 65-54 loss at Crest, Jan. 11, where he had career highs of 26 points and 25 rebounds.
Shaw also had 10 points, 12 rebounds and six steals in a 65-48 win over Stuart Cramer, Jan. 8.
Shaw averages 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists per game for North Gaston (6-9, 2-3 in the Big South conference) this season.
Shaw, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, is a Division III recruit, with interest from Guilford College, Covenant (GA), Huntingdon (AL), William Peace and Maine Maritime Academy, according to North Gaston coach, Wes Hepler.
Marc Raye, Jr., Albemarle Basketball: The Albemarle freshman point guard averaged 21 points, six assists, four rebounds, and four steals per game in wins over South Davidson and Uwharrie Charter the week of Jan. 11.
Raye, Jr., had his best game in the 84-65 win over South Davidson Jan. 8, pouring in 29 points, seven assists, and four steals in the victory.
Raye, Jr. averages 15 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals per game for an Albemarle team (8-7, 6-1 in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference) that has won five straight games after a 3-7 start.
Jack Walker, Myers Park Swimming: The Myers Park senior earned Southwestern 4A conference swimmer of the year honors while leading his Mustangs’ boys’ team to a dominant win in the league championship meet, Jan. 11.
Walker, a University of Virginia commit, won the 200 and 500 freestyle, while leading the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relays to victory at the SW4A championship at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Uptown Charlotte. The Myers Park boys won the league title by 349 points over their closest competition, East Mecklenburg.
Myers Park’s Benjamin Hager made big contributions in the SW4A championship meet, winning the 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley while swimming on the 200 medley relay team.
Roarke Burton, Salisbury Swimming: The Salisbury senior led the Hornets to 2-0 record last week, beating Lexington and Central Davidson Jan. 7 before knocking off Ledford and West Davidson Jan. 9.
Burton, who hasn’t lost an individual event this season, won the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly Jan. 7. He also helped the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay (with David Holden, Max Crawford, and Gabriel McClendon on both relays) to victory in the same meet.
Meanwhile, Burton won the 50 and 100 freestyle events Jan. 9. He also led the 200 medley relay (with Crawford, McClendon, Roshen Amin) and 400 freestyle relay (Holden, McClendon, Amin) to victories in the same meet.
Garrett Boone, South Mecklenburg Swimming: The South Mecklenburg sophomore won the 50 and 100 freestyle events in a showdown with rival Ardrey Kell Jan. 11.
Boone, who has lost only one individual race all season, also helped the Sabres’ 400 freestyle relay with Wesley Barnett, Jack Marquardt and Michael Brashear, tie for first-place at the same meet.
Boone, Barnett, Coleman McCreery, and Ty Vendal also helped the South Meck 200 medley relay team to a runner-up finish.
Colby Teague, Bandys Wrestling: The Bandys senior is 39-1 this in his 145-pound weight class through Jan. 15.
Teague was 4-0 the week of Jan. 11 with victories over his opponents from Bessemer City, East Lincoln, Hunter Huss and West Lincoln.
Jared Watson, West Stanly Wrestling: The West Stanly senior has reeled off 12 straight victories since claiming his 100th career win on the mat, Dec. 29.
Watson was 7-0 last week with victories over his opponents from Forest Hills and Rocky River, Jan. 10.
Two days later, Watson went 5-0 to win the 152-pound title at the Bob Mauldin Classic at Piedmont with victories over his opponents from Enka, Hickory Ridge, Metrolina Christian and Porter Ridge in the same day (Jan. 12).
Emerson Douds, Weddington Track: The Weddington senior ran the fastest 300-meter dash (34.59) in the state this indoor season and a personal-record time to win the event at a home meet Jan. 9.
Douds’ 300-meter personal-best is also No. 8 in the nation this indoor season, according to milesplit.com.
Douds also won the 55-meter dash at the same, Weddington home meet in 6.58 seconds.
Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week
Mallorie Haines, Davidson Day Basketball: The Davidson Day sophomore had her second 30-plus point outburst of the season with 31 points in a hard fought 58-49 win over O’Neal School (13-2) Jan. 11
Davidson Day handed O’Neal their first loss of the season in 51-47 victory in the Craze Sports Tournament final Dec. 29.
Haines has been hot of late, averaging 29.5 points per contest in her last two outings while shooting 50 percent from the three-point line in the same span.
Haines, a Davidson College commit, is averaging 21 points and four rebounds per game for the Patriots (14-2), currently No. 1 in the Observer Girls’ Sweet 16.
Haines also excels in the classroom where she has a 4.5 grade-point average.
Kathryn Vandiver, Charlotte Latin Basketball: The Charlotte Latin senior had a game to remember with 23 points, 19 rebounds, five blocks and four steals in a 47-45 overtime victory over Cannon School Jan. 11.
Vandiver hit a clutch three-pointer to tie the game with 19 seconds left in regulation.
Vandiver, a Division III recruit according to Latin coach Charisse Mapp averages 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks per game this season for the Hawks (9-5, 2-0 in the CISAA conference).
Shariah Gaddy, South Mecklenburg Basketball: The South Mecklenburg senior guard had a career-high 40 points, including seven three-pointers in a 78-29 win at Harding Jan. 11.
Gaddy also posted a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds in a 51-46 win over Berry Jan. 8.
Gaddy, a Presbyterian University signee, averages 17 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists per game for the Sabres (11-4, 4-0 in the SoMeck7 conference).
Janiya Downs, South Rowan Basketball: The South Rowan senior had another big week averaging 34 points and 12 rebounds per game in three contests.
Downs started her week with a triple-double, including 38 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 steals in a 59-34 win at Central Davidson Jan. 8.
One night later, Downs had 42 points, one-point short of the school-record, in a 73-63 loss to West Rowan. She added 14 rebounds and eight steals in the same game.
Downs averages 30 points, 12 rebounds and four steals per game this season for the Raiders (7-7, 6-2 in the Central Carolinas’ conference).
Armani Baldwin, Albemarle Basketball: The 5-foot-2, Albemarle senior had a triple-double with 30 points, 11 steals and 10 rebounds to help the Bulldogs to a 69-37 win over Uwharrie Charter Jan. 10.
Baldwin averages 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists per game for an Albemarle team off to a 14-1 start, including 7-0 in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference play.
Breya Busby, Arborbrook Christian: The Arborbrook Christian Academy sophomore has been on fire of last averaging 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals per game four contests earlier this month.
Busby’s best game came in a 60-36 win at Northwestern, where she poured in 20 points, had seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Busby scored the 1,000th-point of her career in style on Dec. 19 with a triple-double, including 23 points, 11 assists and 10 steals in the 75-22 win over Westminster Catawba.
Busby, who averages 16 points, seven assists, five steals and three assists per game, has helped the Falcons (20-2 overall, 4-1 in the CACAA) to seven straight victories.
Reigan Richardson, Cannon School Basketball: The Cannon School sophomore continued to shine averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds in two games the week of Jan. 11.
Richardson nearly had a triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 47-45 overtime loss at Charlotte Latin, Jan. 11.
Richardson, who averages 22 points, nine rebounds and four steals per game for the Cougars (9-5, 1-1 in the CISAA), is already a major Division I recruit, according to Cannon School basketball coach Kelvin Drakeford.
Weddington Girls’ Swim Team: The Weddington girls’ swim team won their first Southern Carolinas’ conference (SCC) championship ever Jan. 7.
The Warriors’ girls were led by seniors Katie Corbi and Maddy Flickinger in the pool and head coach Pam Holley and assistant Craig Fishe on the deck
Corbi, a U.S. Naval Academy appointee, won the 50 and 100 freestyle, conference titles, while helping the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams to victory with teammates, Flickinger, Kylie Yoder, Kelsey Tolchin and Ashley Martinson.
Meanwhile, Flickinger, an N.C. State signee, won the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Weddington’s Abby Bernard (diving); Caroline Kudela (500 freestyle) also won their respective events.
Amaya Hanley, Hough Swimming: The Hough sophomore led the Huskies’ girls to a victory over Hopewell and Lake Norman Charter winning the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly in the Jan. 9 meet.
Hanley also helped the 200 medley relay team to a win in their event with teammates Marissa Lassell, Kensley Merritt and Katelyn Yount.
Providence Girls’ 4 X 400-meter relay team: The Providence girls’ 4 X 400-meter relay team, including Nimeesha Coleman, Ella Mainwaring Foster, Amanda Watson and Ariana Rivera, ran the state’s fastest time (4:02.02) in their event this indoor to claim the Liberty Premier Invitational title at Liberty University, Jan. 11.
The Providence quartet’s time of 4:02.02 was more than 2.5 seconds faster than the second best time run in the state this year, and No. 21 in the nation (this indoor season), according to milesplit.com.
** Information published today includes statistics through January 13.
Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school players with outstanding performances. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.