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Jay Edwards’ Spotlight Players: Dollar on money for East Lincoln basketball

Charlotte Observer Boys’ Athletes of the Week

Sidney Dollar, East Lincoln Basketball: Sidney Dollar has made a lot of big shots in his East Lincoln basketball career as a three-year starter for the Mustangs.

But the reigning South Fork 2A player of the year admits his biggest basket so far came when he stole an errant Kings Mountain pass, drove the length of the court and threw down a highlight reel, one-handed dunk in the second quarter of the Jan. 19 game.

The dunk was a historic moment as it gave Dollar his 1,000th career point at East Lincoln in the Mustangs 79-57 win over Kings Mountain.

But while Dollar’s milestone was big with officials stopped the game to give him the game ball, what he did with that ball immediately afterward was even more special.

“I didn’t know it was my (1,000th-point), I thought I needed one more basket to get there,” Dollar said. “It was a pretty amazing moment. But to be able to also stop the game and go give the game ball to my mom (Paulanne Dollar) made it even better, because she has always been there for me. Of course, Cameron (Dollar, his older brother) also got to give her a game ball (when he scored his 1,000th point for East Lincoln), so I had to do it too.”

Sidney Dollar is one of eight East Lincoln players to score 1,000 career points, joining former Mustang greats Sage Surratt (2,105), Chazz Surratt (1,751), Keith Rendleman, Jr. (1,601) Alex Newsome (1,150), Coleson Leach (1,066), Hayden Duggins (1,024) and his older brother, Cameron Dollar, who sits fourth on the list with 1,243 career points.

With eight regular season games plus the playoffs, the younger Dollar (who averages 21 points per game, now has 1,017 career points through Jan. 19 game) should easily surpass his older brother, who now plays wide receiver for the Charlotte 49ers.

“My brother (Cameron Dollar) always picked on me before saying ‘Are you ever going to get to 1,000 (points)?,’” Dollar said. “…I called him after the (Kings Mountain) game and he told me now that I’m on the list (1,000 points) to go ahead and pass him.”

But while Dollar enjoyed his historic moment last Saturday (Jan. 19), he is squarely focused on the present moment for an East Lincoln team that hopes to make even more history this season.

Dollar is one of four senior starters, including John Bean (15 ppg), Alden Horne (7 ppg) and Ben Zurkin (3 ppg, 8 apg), who have led the Mustangs to a 15-1 start, including a perfect 6-0 in South Fork 2A conference play. The Mustangs have won seven straight games (through Jan. 19 game).

But the East Lincoln senior quartet wants much more.

“We’re pushing to get that state championship, that’s everyone’s goal,” Dollar said. “Right now, we just want to keep winning games so we can have home court advantage in the playoffs. But our goal is get to the championship and win it. We all know East Lincoln has been the (state) championship game twice and came up short (2015, 2016). We want to make history and win it all for this school.”

While Dollar is enjoying every moment on his final season in an East Lincoln uniform, he will continue his basketball career in college at Lees McRae University starting this summer.

Dollar, who averages 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals per game this season at East Lincoln, knows he will have to prove himself all over again at the college level.

“Playing college basketball is a dream come true, because most players don’t get that opportunity,” Dollar said. “…I can’t wait to get started.”

East Lincoln basketball coach, Jonathan Hancock believes Dollar’s future is even brighter

“Sidney (Dollar) has matured each year and keeps getting taller (now 6-foot-5, 200 pounds),” Hancock said. “I believe he still has a tremendous upside and he’s just going to keep getting better in college and a tremendous (college) career.”

Raja Milton, Independence basketball: The Independence senior guard made one of the biggest shots of his career when he scored the game-winning runner to give the Patriots a 58-57 win at then nationally-ranked Carmel Christian Jan. 19.

Milton had a game-high 19 points, plus four rebounds and three assists in the win..

Milton is averaging a team-high 11 points and five assists for Independence (14-3, 8-0 in the Southwestern 4A conference).

Milton has an offer from Fort Valley State and interest from Anderson, Lenoir-Rhyne, Lane and Mars Hill, according to Independence basketball coach, Preston Davis.

Milton is also a starting pitcher on the Patriots’ baseball team.

Drake Maye, Myers Park Basketball: The 6-foot-5 sophomore forward scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mustangs come back from 14 points down on the road to beat Porter Ridge, 69-63 Jan. 18.

Maye, the younger brother of North Carolina forward Luke Maye, also chipped in seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the Porter Ridge victory.

Maye, the Myers Park football team’s starting quarterback, is averaging 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and two assists per contest in 11 games since coming over from gridiron.

Maye, who is a major Division I football recruit, also received interest the basketball programs at Charlotte, Clemson, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford, Utah and Winthrop just last week, according to Myers Park basketball coach Scott Taylor.

Jacobi Wright, Fort Mill Basketball: The Fort Mill sophomore point guard averaged 30 points, six assists and four rebounds per game last week in key Region III, AAAAA wins at Clover and Northwestern.

Wright started the week with 37 points, seven assists and four rebounds in a 76-56 win at Clover, Jan. 14.

Four days later, Wright netted 23 points, and had five assists, three rebounds and three steals in a 69-67 victory at Northwestern.

Wright is averaging 26 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals per game for a Fort Mill team (17-2, 3-0 in Region III, AAAAA) that has won four straight games.

Jarvis Moss, Cannon School Basketball: The Cannon School sophomore guard hit 12 three-pointers in two games last week to lead the Cougars to critical CISAA conference wins over Providence Day and Covenant Day.

Moss had 18 points, including five three-pointers in a 75-53 win over Providence Day Jan. 18.

Three nights later, Moss poured 22 points, including seven three-pointers, to lead his team to a 73-61 victory over Covenant Day.

Moss is averaging 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per contest, while shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Avery Keller, Hibriten Basketball: The Hibriten junior guard/forward scored 25 points apiece in consecutive roads wins at West Caldwell and Mitchell County, Jan. 15 and 16.

Keller also had seven rebounds and four assists in the 54-49 win at West Caldwell, while adding nine rebounds and three assists in a 62-48 victory at Mitchell.

Keller is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block per game for Hibriten (11-2, 4-2 in the Northwest Foothills’ 2A conference) this season.

Kenneth Lowe, Hough Swimming: The Hough junior captain led the Huskies boys’ to their ninth straight conference title winning the 100 and 200 freestyle events, Jan. 18.

Lowe also led the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams to I-Meck, 4A conference championships.

Lowe led off the 200 medley relay squad with Eduardo DaMata, Ethan Schneider and Tommy Frye following him. Meanwhile, Lowe anchored the 400 freestyle relay team proceeded by Alex Atherton, Schneider and Frye.

Jamison Rzepecki, Olympic Swimming: The Olympic senior won the 200 and 500 freestyle, SoMeck7 conference championships for the second straight year, Jan. 18, to earn the league’s male swimmer of the year honors.

Rzepecki, a Yale University commit, has not lost a race in dual team competition this season.

Conall Monahan, Providence Swimming: The Providence junior won the SoMeck7 conference championships in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley Jan. 18 to remain undefeated in both events this season.

Monahan, who is a college swimming recruit according to Providence coach Bill Davis, led the Providence boys’ team a 3rd-place finish at the same meet.

Connor Neely, Charlotte Latin Swimming: The Charlotte Latin senior is having “a banner year” according to longtime Hawks’ coach Patty Waldron.

Neely won the 100 backstroke, finished runner-up in the 100 butterfly and helped the 200 medley relay to victory with the best freestyle split of his life in 22.9 seconds to help the Charlotte Latin boys beat both Charlotte Country Day and Covenant Day in the Jan. 17 meet.

Neely and the rest of the Charlotte Latin senior class are looking to finish their high school career as four-time, CISAA conference and four-time, NCISAA (3A and now 4A) state champions.

Coach Waldron and the Charlotte Latin boys’ swim team are vying for their 7th straight state championship next month.

Luke Foster, South Mecklenburg Diving: The South Mecklenburg senior diver won the SoMeck7 conference diving championship to help lead Sabres’ boys swim team to their sixth straight league title, Jan. 19.

Foster, a Harvard University commit, scored 317.80 points, to claim the diving title, while his twin brother, Ethan Foster, was SW4A runner-up with 280.2 points, while South Mecklenburg freshman, John Walakovits, took 4th-place in the same event.

The South Mecklenburg diving trio’s points were critical in helping the Sabres win another SoMeck7 conference championship.

Adam Sneden, Myers Park Diving: The Myers Park senior diver won the Southwestern 4A conference diving championship for the third year in a row Jan. 18.

Sneden, a University of Louisville commit, helped lead the Mustangs to a SW4A team title in the process.

Marcus Jackson, Central Cabarrus Wrestling: The 106-pound, Central Cabarrus freshman went a perfect 6-0 last week with four pins.

Jackson is 43-3 overall in his first year of high school wrestling.

Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week

Christie Zawacki, Arborbrook Christian Basketball: Christie Zawacki had a scary moment last month when she was in a car accident after another driver ran a stop sign, forcing (Zawacki) to crash into an oncoming car, according to Arborbrook Christian basketball coach Brian Morris.

But Zawacki hasn’t let anything slow her down on the basketball court as she averaged 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks per game in four games last week.

Zawacki started her week with 14 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in a 63-48 win at York Prep, Jan. 14.

Four days later, she had another huge game with 19 points and 19 rebounds in a 69-18 win at Covenant Classical.

Zawacki is averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game for an Arborbrook Christian.

Zawacki is a triplet as her twin sister, Anna (averages 9 ppg), is also on the Falcons varsity team, while their brother, Josh (averages 9 ppg), is on the Arborbrook Christian boys’ basketball team.

Senali Moss, South Mecklenburg Basketball: The South Mecklenburg freshman had a career-high 25 points to go with eight steals, four rebounds and three assists to lead the Sabres to a 76-32 at West Mecklenburg, Jan. 18.

Moss, the daughter of former NFL great Randy Moss, is averaging 13 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists per game in first high school season.

Chyna Cornwell, Newton Conover Basketball: The Newton Conover junior had another monster game with 35 points and 21 rebounds in an 81-36 victory over Maiden, Jan. 18.

Cornwell is averaging 28 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks per game, while shooting 69 percent from the field for the Red Devils, who are 12-4 overall, including 6-0 in South Fork 2A conference play.

Janiya Downs, South Rowan Basketball: The South Rowan senior continues to light up the scoreboard with her fourth game of 33 points or more in the last five contests.

Downs had 33 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal to lead South Rowan to a 57-55 win at East Davidson (Jan. 18), who had not lost a game at home all year.

Downs is averaging 30 points, 12 rebounds and four steals per game for the Raiders (8-7, 7-2 in the Central Carolinas conference) this season.

Micahla Funderburk, Butler Basketball: The Butler junior guard led the Bulldogs to their 13th straight victory with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists in an 83-14 win at Garinger Jan. 18.

Funderburk, a Gardner-Webb University commit, also had 16 points in 58-53 upset of Hickory Ridge Jan. 11.

Funderburk is averaging 15 points per game for the Butler (14-1, 7-0 in the Southwestern 4A conference) this season.

Dazia Lawrence, Mallard Creek Basketball: The Mallard Creek senior had 27 points, five assists and five steals to lead the Mavericks past Hough, 67-26, Jan. 18.

Lawrence, a Charlotte 49ers’ commit, has nine 20-plus point efforts this year and is averaging 21 points per game for the Mavericks (12-3, 5-1 in the I-Meck 4A conference) this season.

Makayla Smith, Union Academy Basketball: The Union Academy senior recorded her 1,000th-career point in style with 27 points, 12 rebounds and nine steals (one steal short of a triple double) in a 52-36 win over Mountain Island Charter, Jan. 15.

Smith followed that up with 20 points and five rebounds in a 52-26 win over Community School of Davidson, Jan. 18.

Smith is averaging 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals per game.

Kayla Davis, Run U Express: The Providence Day star, who trains at West Mecklenburg with coach Sam Willoughby and runs for Run U Express club team, had another historic weekend.

Davis broke the all-time, indoor state record in the 400-meter running a personal-best 53.30 to finish as runner-up in the event at the Virginia Showcase at Liberty University, Jan. 18. Davis already owns the state record for the 400-meter run outdoors.

The next day, Davis won the 200-meter run in a personal-best 23.62, which is the No. 2 time in state history and No. 2 time run in nation this indoor season, according to milesplit.com.

Cora Cooke, Myers Park Track: The Myers Park sophomore had a weekend to remember, running two personal-record times at the Virginia Showcase at Liberty University, Jan. 19.

Cooke finished second in the 1,000-meter run in a personal-best 2:59.45, the No. 3 time run in the state this indoor season and No. 4 all-time in Mecklenburg County history, according to milesplit.com.

Cooke ran another personal-best, 5:07.62, finishing fourth overall, with her time the No. 2 time run in the state this indoor season.

Madeline Hill, Cuthbertson Track: The Cuthbertson sophomore ran personal-best times in both the 3,200-meter and mile runs at the Virginia Showcase at Liberty University, Jan. 18-19.

Hill ran a personal-record 11:18.33 to win the 3200-meter run (at the Virginia Showcase), the No. 2 time run in the state this indoor season, according to milesplit.com.

Meanwhile, Hill also ran a personal-best 5:10.56 in the Elite Girls’ mile race, finishing 7th overall.

Hill won the 3A state cross country championship, November 3.

Reagan Johnson, South Mecklenburg Swimming: The South Mecklenburg senior captain was won the 100 breaststroke and helped both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams to victory at the SoMeck7 conference championships, Jan. 18.

Johnson teamed with Katie Rauch, Ellie Marquardt, and Brynn Martinson to win the SoMeck7 conference 200 medley relay title, while Johnson, Ella Vendal, Haley Robinson and Grace Brashear won the 200 freestyle relay at the same meet.

The South Mecklenburg girls’ team finished at SoMeck7 conference runner-up.

Kelsi Hill, Union Academy Swimming: The Union Academy senior captain had six individual first-place finishes in three meets last week.

Hill’s biggest moment of the week came when she won the PAC 7, 1A conference title in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley to earn the (PAC 7 1A’s) most outstanding swimmer of the meet.

Hill will swim in college at Eastern Michigan University.

** Information published today includes statistics through January 20.

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 edwardswork23@gmail.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.

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