Columns & Blogs

Wertz Jr: Mecklenburg basketball teams will make strong postseason runs

Mecklenburg County teams have beaten up on each other throughout the conference season. There are two weeks left before the playoffs. I have a feeling local teams will make strong postseason runs.


• In the MECKA 8, North Mecklenburg (17-3) is 8-3 in conference, but unbeaten against the rest of its schedule. West Charlotte (16-5) is 10-2 in league play. Outside of conference, the Lions have lost to just two teams in North Carolina. One of them is Charlotte’s Berry High. And conference leader Hough (17-4) has one loss to an N.C. team outside of conference, and private Providence Day won’t play in the NCHSAA playoffs.

• The story is similar for many other top teams in Charlotte. Even Southwestern 4A conference leader Independence (13-9) has one. The Patriots have lost to one N.C. public school outside of Charlotte. And Independence has won four in a row and seven of its last eight.

• Ardrey Kell’s big win over Berry Friday night ended the Cardinals’ nine-game win streak and set up a mega race to the finish in the league. Berry can clinch at least a share of the championship Tuesday at West Meck, but Olympic visits Berry Friday and could get a share of the league title. Of course, Ardrey Kell could, too, if it wins out and Olympic beats Berry.

• Marvin Ridge coach Gosnell White announced his retirement last week after more than 500 wins, five regional appearances and one state championship. White spent much of his high school career at West Charlotte and Harding. He rebuilt each program and they won big. I consider his 1999 West Charlotte team, which finished the season in the top 10 of USA Today’s national poll, as the best public school team in N.C. history.

White won his 100th game at Marvin Ridge last week, further cemeting his legacy as one of the five best boys’ basketball coaches in Mecklenburg County history. He won everywhere he went.

• Weddington’s girls locked up at least a share of the Southern Carolina championship with Friday’s 46-27 win over Sun Valley. Weddington did it without junior All-American Stephanie Watts, a North Carolina recruit. Watts, who has an ankle injury, is expected back this week, coach Ryun Cook said.

• Charlotte United’s Salem Cuthbertson had a senior night to remember Tuesday in a 49-20 win over Monroe’s First Assembly Christian: 27 points, 14 rebounds, four steals. Teammate Desiree Newman, a sophomore, had 18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Newman, an Observer All-Mecklenburg pick as a freshman, was featured on USA Today’s national website last week.

• I would love to see a shot clock in N.C. high school basketball. Several states have already adopted it. I’ve championed this cause on Twitter and heard more folks agreeing. For those who don’t, consider this: Colleges play with a shot clock. No, not every kid will play in college, but it’s good preparation to play with it and it’s good for the high school game as a whole. I remember when softball switched to fast-pitch from slow-pitch, largely because colleges were playing fast-pitch. Similar deal here.