Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Butler to compete in virtual national girls basketball tournament

McLean, VA – While Butler won’t square off on the court against the best girls’ high school Basketball teams in the country, they can still win bragging rights as the best team in the nation. Using the same algorithm that powers the BCS National Championship, will simulate a virtual national tournament to determine the best boys’ and girls’ high school basketball teams in the land.

Starting March 31st, Gannett’s and USA TODAY will tip off the Massey Virtual National Championship tournament. 64 teams will play a weeklong bracket-style tournament with computer simulations programmed by Ken Massey, author of the remarkable Massey Ratings.

The brackets have been seeded by USA TODAY Sports editors, initially drawing from 50 state champions and 14 other “at large” picks. Massey will run each match-up through his simulations to determine each round’s winner.
Round One tips off on March 31st, and the National Champion will be crowned on April 6, 2010 at 12 p.m. ET at http:// Trophy presentation will be made at the champion’s school.

Butler qualified for the Massey Virtual National Championship by having the highest Massey Rating of the girls’ State Basketball Champions in North Carolina.

“I’m sure the results will lead to plenty of debate across the country in locker rooms and family rooms, just as the BCS rankings do in college,” said Jason Rine, content manager at, who championed the virtual tournament. “I can’t wait to hear the response for a simulated basketball tournament since our virtual football tournament was a huge success in January.” is the exclusive publisher of “Massey Ratings,” which rank varsity football, girls and boys basketball and boys baseball teams within their league, state and the USA. Added as a first-of-its-kind feature in 2008, the “Massey Ratings” draw passionate audiences of teen athletes and their parents.

“We’re very thrilled to bring this exciting new format to fans of high school basketball,” said Monte Lorell, managing editor of Sports at USA TODAY. “This virtual championship is a unique offering and will feature the rich assets of I’m sure we’ll have some fun along the way.”

Find a list of participating schools and seeded tournament brackets at

-- Observer News Services

Monday, March 29, 2010

Myers Park's Shaw, Hopewell's Brooks shine at all-star game

Myers Park's Griffin Shaw (left beside Charlotte Pro-Am rep Darrell Baker) and Hopewell's DeMon Brooks won MVP awards at the 19th annual Charlotte Pro-Am All-Star game Saturday at Providence.

Myers Park's Griffin Shaw and Hopewell's DeMon Brooks won MVP awards at Saturday's Charlotte Pro-Am All-Star Classic at Providence Day.

Brooks, a 6-8 center unsigned for college, led all scorers with 24 points. He led his East team to an 84-82 win over Shaw and the West.


Shaw, who grew up dreaming of playing in this game, had 17 for the West team, tying teammate Paul Larsen (Lake Norman) for team-high honors. Shaw will walk on at Appalachian State next season.

In the girls game, Lauren Lewis wasted no time closing the first overtime girls' game in the Charlotte All-Star Classic.

Lewis, a North Mecklenburg High guard, drained a pair of three-point shots to open the two-minute extra period, propelling the East to an 80-72 win against the West at Providence Day. Lewis' heroics rescued the East, which blew a 22-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation and needed a Lauryn Kobiela free throw with 3.2 seconds left for a 72-all tie and overtime.

"I happened to be open and took the shot," said Lewis, the East's MVP. Lewis, who finished with 15 points, opened overtime with a three-point rainbow as she was falling backward on the East's first possession. She connected with another on the next trip, all but sealing the outcome.

Wake Forest signee Chelsea Douglas (Hickory Grove Christian) paced the West with 15 points, followed by Butler's Jaquazha Barrino's 12. First Assembly Chrisitian's Paige Whitaker, a Lees-McRae signee, led the East with 16 points.


East - Paige Whitaker 16, Lauren Lewis 15, Umeka Benson 12, Harris 9, Grant 8, Stephens 8, Adams 6, Heiliger 6, Kobiela 6, Awuruonye 5, Chandler 4, Valentine 2.

West - Chelsea Douglas 15, Jaquazha Barrino 12, Nyshia Hammonds 11, Nixon 7, Connelly 6, Tellier 6, McLaughlin 5, Phifer 4, Marcantonio 3, Watkins 3, White 3, Koerner 2.


West - Paul Larsen 17, Griffin Shaw 17, Akil Mitchell 14, Carrier 8, Jamal Mitchell 8, Grisby 6, T.J. Hallice 5, Canevari 4, Wilson 2, Hampton 1.

East - De'Mon Brooks 24, Corey Raley-Ross 18, Cheek 9, Downing 9, Tillman 6, Brown 5, Clyburn 5, McQueen 3, Shelton 3, Blakeney 2.

Read more:

North Meck's Lauren Lewis attempts a pass.
Concord's Nyshia Hammonds rises for a jumper.
Gastonia Forestview's Kelsey Harris (with father Kelvin and mother Angela Harris and Charlotte Pro-Am rep Darrell Baker) receives student-athlete award
Baker and girls MVP Chelsea Douglas of Hickory Grove

Vernon Hunter is new AD at West Charlotte

Vernon Hunter is the new West Charlotte athletics director.

Hunter, 29, is from Woodruff, S.C., and went to Woodruff High, where he played baseball and basketball. He graduated in 1998 before attending S.C. State. He graduated S.C. State is 2003.

He comes to West Charlotte after working at Garinger from 2005-08. He was assistant football coach and head baseball coach. This is his first athletics director job.
Hunter has been married to wife Andrea for three years. The couple has one child, Chandler. He is 2.

“I’m up for the challenge of trying to restart the West Charlotte roar,” Hunter said. “I want to help bring back some state championships here. Football hasn’t won one since ’95 and we’re trying to get one of those. Hopefully we can continue the success with boys basketball (which reached the state semifinals last season) and get restarted with the girls team (which won the 2009 state championship). We just want to get things up and running here. And I want to bring back the community invovlement with some other sports that have not been as succcessful as in past, like baseball, wrestling and swimming.”

John Wall's impact felt at Carolinas Challenge

John Wall wasn't at Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge on Saturday, but his impact was felt nevertheless.

The former Word of God star competed in the high school basketball showcase a year ago. This year he is showcasing his talents for Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

"For him to get out of Raleigh and do what he has done has made all of us want to work that much harder," said Dezmine Wells, a Word of God junior who has committed to Xavier. "I know how hard he worked and how competitive he is.

"He is so much better than he was a year ago. It just makes all of us want to work that hard, too."

Wells was among the 80 high school players from North Carolina who played in the fourth annual Challenge at Cary Academy. Telep, the director of scouting for the Web recruiting site, is the host.

"I told our guys this is one of the most important days for them to show what they can do," said Wells Gulledge, who coached Kinston to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A championship two weeks ago. "You can get noticed here."

Telep stressed that getting noticed and shooting every time you touch the ball are not synonymous.

Greensboro Dudley's 6-foot-6 shooting guard P.J. Hairston knows the difference.

"My goal was to get everybody involved," said Hairston, who has committed to North Carolina. "Everybody in the gym knows I can score. I wanted to show I can get everyone involved."

There was no denying Hairston's ability to score. He showed a deft shooting touch from long distance but also showed he is stronger than a year ago and more powerful going to the basket. When he wanted to score, he did so essentially every time.

Wells had the same sort of explosiveness and was clearly a standout. He appreciates the legacy of Wall, who like him and former Xavier standout David West, grew up in Garner.

"I think David's success was a factor in Xavier getting on me early," said Wells, who has been at Word of God since the seventh grade.

Poor rim: Imagine the abuse the driveway basketball rim at Marshall Plumlee's home has absorbed.

Duke reserves Mason and Miles Plumlee, plus Marshall, all over 6-foot-10, have played on the same rim for years.

"But we were not always so tall," Marshall Plummer said with a laugh.

Marshall Plumlee plays for Arden Christ School and is a much better player than he was a year ago in the Challenge and even better than he was last December in the GlaxoSmithKline Invitational.

He runs better, has more strength, moves well and is an exceptional inside passer.

"I want to work hard but also do the right kind of work," Plumlee said.

He said it would be great to play with his brothers at Duke and he has an offer from the Blue Devils, but it is no slam dunk that he'll join the Blue Devils.

"I'm going to go through the recruiting process," he said. "There are lots of great institutions out there, and I want to investigate them.."

Millbrook coach Scott McInnes, who coached Plumlee's team Saturday, said he believes Plumlee will continue to improve.

"He is incredible in the huddle. So coachable," McInnes said. "You tell him something in the huddle, and he goes out and tries to do it."

Among his offers are Duke, Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Ohio State, Florida and Michigan.

Miller is big time: The highest-rated player in the Challenge was Quincy Miller, a Chicago-area native who plays at Winston-Salem Quality Education, a charter school.

He has grown to 6-foot-10 but has the ball-handling skills of a point guard, the shooting range of a "2" guard, plus the inside fluidness of a wing forward. He said he is working on his jump shot: work as in about 1,000 jump shots per day.

Miller has scholarship offers galore and rolled off a list that included Georgetown, Memphis, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Duke, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Louisville, Kansas and West Virginia.

His biggest factor in picking from among the group will be style of play. He wants to play when he can use his multiple abilities.

He plays for Wall's former club team, D-One Sports, which is managed by Brian Clifton.

Lewis passes: Tyler Lewis, who attracted national attention with scholarship offers when he was in the eighth grade, is a passing machine. Balls directed by him almost magically appear in teammates' hands.

He is used to playing in the spotlight, he said. He likes the pressure but also knows that there is more pressure because people look for flaws.

"People use my height against me," said the 5-foot-11 Forsyth Country Day junior. "But I work very hard on defense to stay between my man and the basket."

He is bigger and stronger than a year ago.

He holds offers from Virginia Tech, Auburn, Charlotte, Virginia Commonwealth, Appalachian State, High Point and Richmond, and Stanford also has shown interest in the almost straight-A Lewis.

More Challenge: Rodney Purvis, a freshman at Raleigh Upper Room, attended but did not play because of an injury.

Oak Ridge had four players in the Challenge, including Jacob Lawson, who has offers from Syracuse, Seton Hall, Miami, N.C. State and Wake Forest. Lawson helped Northern Guilford to the NCHSAA 3-A state title in 2009, but the school later forfeited the crown.

Cougars get noticed: Wake Forest-Rolesville junior football linemen Ryan Doyle (6-6, 265) and Dylan Intemann (6-6, 300) are landing some college scholarship offers.

Doyle already has an offer from Maryland while N.C. State and Wake Forest have offered Intemann, who also had an offer from East Carolina when Skip Holtz was the Pirates' coach.

Terrell Hartsfield (6-4, 225), a two-time defensive conference player of the year at Wake Forest, has committed to Texas Tech. Hartsfield was too old to play for the high school team last fall. He is expected to attend Hargrave Military Academy this fall before going to Texas Tech.

Duke recruit: Duke women's basketball recruit Chelsea Gray of Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's has been named the national co-player of the year by Parade magazine. The 5-foot-11 guard is a three-time Parade All-America and helped St. Mary's to the No. 1 ranking by USA Today and ESPN Rise. She averaged 17 points, 6.3 assists, 5.4 steals and 4.2 rebounds.

She shared Parade's player of the year award with Stanford recruit Chiney Ogwumike of Cypress, Texas.

- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Carolina Challenge highlights

More than 80 of the state's best 9th, 10th and 11th grade basketball players participated in the Dave Telep Carolinas Challenge in Raleigh Saturday. Here are some recaps of the day's action:


RANDOLPH 121, JAMISON 107 Team Randolph ran through Bishop Daniels (15 first half points on 6-7 shooting) and Tony Kimbro (nine first half points) to pull out to a 55-50 halftime lead. Three straight threes by Kimbro widened the gap considerably, and then the game belonged to Bernard Sullivan for Team Randolph and Jervon Pressley for Team Jamison. Bishop Daniels tied the day’s high scoring game, finishing with 27. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Bishop Daniels (Randolph), JR Tony Kimbro (Randolph), FR Greg McClinton (Jamison), JR Jervon Pressley (Jamison)

STACKHOUSE 84, HAYWOOD 67 Team Stackhouse moved to 1-2 as Team Haywood fell to 0-3 in a ragged game. Jacoby Davis led Team Stackhouse in scoring with 16, followed by Dezmine Wells and Paris Roberts-Campbell with 11 each. Team Haywood’s leading scorers were Donta Harper with 14, Anton Gill with 12, and Chris Wilson with 11. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Chris Wilson (Haywood), FR Anton Gill (Haywood), JR Jacoby Davis (Stackhouse), JR Paris Roberts-Campbell (Stackhouse)

WEST 113, CURRY 92 Team West dominated from start to finish in their final game. Anthony Gill ran the floor and finished well, ending up with 23 points for Team West. He was aided by an easy 20 from T.J. Warren. Team Curry was led by quick guard Madison Jones, who finished with 18, sharpshooter Xavier Griffin, who finished with 16, and P.J. Hairston, who nearly tore the rim off multiple times with powerful slams. IMPACT PLAYERS: P.J. Hairston (Curry), Madison Jones (Curry), Anthony Gill (West), T.J. Warren (West)

PAUL 84, HOWARD 81 In a surprisingly active late game, Team Paul won in a tight finish over Team Howard. Ever productive point guard Tyler Lewis tossed in 15 points, while Quincy Miller added 13 including a huge late three pointer to keep Team Howard alive. Team Paul was led in scoring by freshman JaQuel Richmond with 16 and active forward Jackson Simmons with 14. IMPACT PLAYERS: Tyler Lewis (Howard), Quincy Miller (Howard), JaQuel Richmond (Paul), Jackson Simmons (Paul)


PAUL 103, STACKHOUSE 70 Dezmine Wells opened the game for Team Stackhouse with a fast break dunk, and the rest of the game saw countless other fast breaks. Team Paul saw Jackson Simmons score effectively on the interior and Tyquan Roberts from outside the arc. Team Paul’s Marquis Rankin brought it again in the second session, and this time he found his three-point shot, too. Joseph Uchebo was strong on the boards and Keith Bellfield played a solid all around game in a Team Paul rout.
IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Marquis Rankin (Paul), JR Tyquan Roberts (Paul), JR Dezmine Wells (Stackhouse), JR Jacoby Davis (Stackhouse)

JAMISON 90, HAYWOOD 70 Team Jamison moved to 2-0 and Team Haywood dropped to 0-2 after this blowout. Defender extraordinaire Reggie Dillard again led his team in scoring, this time with 20, closely followed by Michael Neal with 17 and Jordan Robertson with 13. Big man Anthony Williams led Team Haywood with 12 points and provided strong rebounding, while Donta Harper added 11 and point guard Chris Wilson put up 10. Jacquise Moore impressed with his passing for Team Haywood.
IMPACT PLAYERS: SO Reggie Dillard (Jamison), JR Michael Neal (Jamison), JR Anthony Williams (Haywood), JR Chris Wilson (Haywood)

HOWARD 97, CURRY 96 The first half ended with Team Howard leading, 54-49. P.J. Hairston and Tyrek Coger led the way for Team Curry and were matched by Josh Newkirk, Quincy Miller, and Kevin Thomas from Team Howard. Montrezl Harrell missed just one shot on his way to a Team Curry-high 19 points. The game had the block of the day (Worth Smith rejecting a potentially enormous dunk) and the pass of the day (Tyler Lewis faking behind the back one way and then sending it behind the back the other way). And after the highlight reel, the game was tight, ending on a Tyler Lewis feed to Kevin Thomas for the final basket with 10 seconds left.
IMPACT PLAYERS: SO Tyler Lewis (Howard), JR Quincy Miller (Howard), JR P.J. Hairston (Curry), SO Montrezl Harrell (Curry)

WEST 123, RANDOLPH 107 Team West advanced to 1-1 after cruising over Team Randolph, who fell to 0-2. Team West big man Julius Hamilton set a new camp high in single game points with 27, highlighted by an array of jump hooks. Teammate Terry Whisnant became the first player in camp to hit as many as five made three pointers on his way to 21 points. Team Randolph was led in scoring by Tabarris Hamilton with 19, Travion Leonard with 17, Tony Kimbro with 16, and James Milliken with 15.
IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Tabarris Hamilton (Randolph), JR Travion Leonard (Randolph), SO Julius Hamilton (West), JR Terry Whisnant (West)

83 Julius Hamilton 14 27 20.5 1. Julius Hamilton G2, 27
24 Bishop Daniels 25 13 19.0 2. Bishop Daniels G1, 25
54 Terry Whisnant 16 21 18.5 3. P.J. Hairston G1, 23
75 P.J. Hairston 23 13 18.0 T4. Dezmine Wells G1, 21
33 Reggie Dillard 15 20 17.5 T4. Terry Whisnant G2, 21
50 Quincy Miller 19 15 17.0
55 Tony Kimbro 18 16 17.0
88 Tyrek Coger 16 18 17.0
34 Jackson Simmons 18 15 16.5
7 Michael Neal 14 17 15.5
53 Tyquan Roberts 13 17 15.0
56 Kevin Thomas 12 18 15.0
30 T.J. Warren 19 10 14.5
51 Tabarris Hamilton 10 19 14.5
82Quayshad Williams 18 11 14.5
14 Josh Newkirk 16 12 14.0
25 Terrence Williams 19 9 14.0
10 Dezmine Wells 21 6 13.5
5 Tyler Lewis 14 12 13.0
99 Travion Leonard 9 17 13.0
15 Braxton Ogbueze 13 12 12.5
61 Jacob Lawson 13 12 12.5
72 Deion Robinson 13 12 12.5
11 Marquis Rankin 12 12 12.0
42 Tyler Poole 11 13 12.0
43 Keith Bellfield 16 8 12.0
52 Ike Nwamu 16 8 12.0
32 Shawn Lester 16 7 11.5
44 Montrezl Harrell 4 19 11.5
48 Jacoby Davis 14 9 11.5
19 Allerik Freeman 11 11 11.0
29 Carlton Ford 14 8 11.0
21 Anton Gill 15 6 10.5
40 Anthony Gill 12 9 10.5
66 Chris Wilson 10 10 10.0
31 Tony Menton 7 12 9.5
38Demarcus Harrison 6 13 9.5
95 Kennedy Meeks 10 9 9.5
2 James Milliken 3 15 9.0
6 Jacquise Moore 15 3 9.0
12 Rob Gray 9 9 9.0
28 Quinton Ray 12 6 9.0
36 Donta Harper 7 11 9.0
45 Bernard Sullivan 8 10 9.0
57 Jordan Robertson 10 8 9.0
64 Marcus Bryan 11 7 9.0
90 Joseph Uchebo 10 8 9.0
13 Terry Henderson 15 2 8.5

PAUL 103, HAYWOOD 101 Team Paul started out in control of the game, jumping out to a double digit lead early. In the first few minutes of the second quarter, though, Team Haywood cut it back to three before seeing Team Paul gradually pull back ahead to a 45-35 halftime lead. Terrence Williams sparked a comeback from Team Haywood, cutting the deficit to one by the six minute mark of the third quarter. Marquis Rankin and Shawn Lester got into an explosive scoring battle for the first half of the last quarter, with Williams joining in at the end. When John Cannon hit an and-1 to take the lead for Team Haywood for the first time, Jackson Simmons countered quickly with a basket. Keith Bellfield broke a 101-101 tie with a jumper with 18 seconds left to get Team Paul the victory. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Terrence Williams (Haywood), SO Shawn Lester (Haywood), JR Marquis Rankin (Paul), JR Jackson Simmons (Paul)
JAMISON 98, STACKHOUSE 89 Team Jamison moved to 1-0 with a first session victory over Team Stackhouse. Team Stackhouse wing Dezmine Wells led all scorers with 21 points, followed by teammate Ike Nwamu with 16. Reggie Dillard, hailed by Dave Telep in the introductory speech as the “best wing defender in the state of North Carolina,” found some offense as well, leading the winning Team Jamison in scoring with 15. Team Jamison’s Jacob Lawson flashed his athleticism with the dunk of the morning. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Dezmine Wells (Stackhouse), JR Jacoby Davis (Stackhouse), JR Jacob Lawson (Jamison), SO Reggie Dillard (Jamison)
HOWARD 131, WEST 113 Tyler Lewis and Quincy Miller led Team Howard to a 35-point first quarter and a seven point lead. Miller exited the game to open the second quarter, but Lewis stayed in and utterly dominated with his electric passing. Then Miller tossed in two more threes and scored 11 first half points on the way to a 68-55 Team Howard lead. Lewis and Miller kept up the attack, but the lead stayed around ten due to lights out shooting from Terry Whisnant and effortless scoring from T.J. Warren and Braxton Ogbueze. Miller finished with a team-high 19 including an absolutely thunderous dunk down the stretch. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR Quincy Miller (Howard), SO Tyler Lewis (Howard), SO Braxton Ogbueze (West), SO T.J. Warren (West)
CURRY 111, RANDOLPH 98 North Carolina commit P.J. Hairston put on a show with 23 points, including two deep three pointers, in leading Team Curry to a 13-point win. Quayshad Williams added 18 and Tyrek Coger contributed 16 for Team Curry. Bishop Daniels led all first session scorers with 25 for Team Randolph in a loss, impressing onlookers with his powerful dunks. Team Randolph’s Tony Kimbro was the standout shooter of the contest, hitting four of six from beyond the arc on his way to 18 points. IMPACT PLAYERS: JR P.J. Hairston (Curry), FR Tyrek Coger (Curry), JR Bishop Daniels (Randolph), JR Tony Kimbro (Randolph)

1 23 AVG
24 Bishop Daniels 25 25.0
75 P.J. Hairston 23 23.0
10 Dezmine Wells 21 21.0
25 Terrence Williams 19 19.0
30 T.J. Warren 19 19.0
50 Quincy Miller 19 19.0
34 Jackson Simmons 18 18.0
55 Tony Kimbro 18 18.0
82Quayshad Williams 18 18.0
14 Josh Newkirk 16 16.0
32 Shawn Lester 16 16.0
43 Keith Bellfield 16 16.0
52 Ike Nwamu 16 16.0
54 Terry Whisnant 16 16.0
88 Tyrek Coger 16 16.0
6 Jacquise Moore 15 15.0
13 Terry Henderson 15 15.0
21 Anton Gill 15 15.0
33 Reggie Dillard 15 15.0
5 Tyler Lewis 14 14.0
7 Michael Neal 14 14.0
29 Carlton Ford 14 14.0
48 Jacoby Davis 14 14.0
83 Julius Hamilton 14 14.0
15 Braxton Ogbueze 13 13.0
53 Tyquan Roberts 13 13.0
61 Jacob Lawson 13 13.0
72 Deion Robinson 13 13.0
11 Marquis Rankin 12 12.0
20 Anthony Stitt 12 12.0
28 Quinton Ray 12 12.0
40 Anthony Gill 12 12.0
56 Kevin Thomas 12 12.0
19 Allerik Freeman 11 11.0
22 Madison Jones 11 11.0
42 Tyler Poole 11 11.0
64 Marcus Bryan 11 11.0
65 Evan Hymes 11 11.0
16 Xavier Griffin 10 10.0
27 Patrick Rooks 10 10.0
51 Tabarris Hamilton 10 10.0
57 Jordan Robertson 10 10.0
66 Chris Wilson 10 10.0
77 Marshall Plumlee 10 10.0
90 Joseph Uchebo 10 10.0
95 Kennedy Meeks 10 10.0
12 Rob Gray 9 9.0
23 Freddie Jackson 9 9.0

Friday, March 26, 2010

Butler's Burdick, Forestview's Smith and Kinston's Bullock win NC AP state players of the year awards

Cierra Burdick and Shannon Smith each ended their seasons the same way. Two weeks after hoisting a state championship trophy, they're the 2009-10 Associated Press women's prep basketball co-players of the year for North Carolina.

Matthews Butler's Burdick and Gastonia Forestview's Smith each earned nine of a possible 22 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Friday. Kernersville McGuinness' Megan Buckland was third with four votes after helping her team win its fifth straight state championship.

Burdick, a junior guard, who averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds to help Butler win the Class 4-A championship. She has committed to Tennessee.

"I wasn't looking at it as pressure," Burdick said. "It was more motivation that you want to prove to everybody else that you're Tennessee-bound and you're worthy of it. ... It can be tough because everybody expects you to have a perfect game every day, but you've just got to live up to your own expectations."

Burdick was the most valuable player of the 4-A final, scoring 28 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the 26-point romp against previously unbeaten Morrisville Green Hope.

"All these awards and accolades are great," Burdick said. "But nothing's better than being able to say you won a state championship."

Smith is a senior guard who averaged 23 points and seven assists to help Forestview win the 3-A title. A two-time Gaston Gazette area player of the year, Smith has signed with North Carolina _ another high-profile destination that can create outside pressure to live up to expectations.

"I just try to play my game regardless of what people are saying," Smith said. "I'm too focused to think about that kind of stuff."

Like Burdick, Smith was the MVP of her team's championship victory. She had 26 points in the 62-55 win against South Central Pitt, which allowed Forestview to win the title that slipped away the previous season.

That capped a playoff run in which she averaged 30 points per game, including a 41-point performance in the second round.

"I think we were more focused than before," Smith said. "We had good chemistry, we all got along, we all hung out and were like sisters _ like family."

Kinston's Bullock wins mens award

Reggie Bullock eventually got used to all the attention.

He routinely encountered autograph seekers and heard squeals of delight from fans of opposing schools when he walked into the gym for games. Nevermind the fact that the Kinston star knew everyone was watching his every move.

It just comes with having the skill to play at storied North Carolina, earn a spot in the McDonald's All-American game - and become the 2009-10 Associated Press men's prep basketball player of the year for the state.

"I just stayed humble with it," Bullock said. "I didn't want to try to let it get too overwhelming and be like, 'Yeah, I'm that dude.' I tried to stay low-profile when I walked in the gym."

After leading Kinston to a second state title in three seasons, Bullock was the runaway choice by earning 17 of a possible 22 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Friday. The 6-foot-7 senior guard averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds to make the AP All-State team for a third straight season.

Kernersville McGuinness' Aaron Toomey was second with three votes after averaging 29 points per game.

Kinston coach Wells Gulledge said Bullock was a special player who was easy to coach and a great teammate. As for his ability, well, he's got plenty of that, too - particularly when it comes to his shooting stroke.

"When it's on, it's heavenly," Gulledge said. "It's a God-given ability he has and he shoots it with such ease."

Gulledge also said Bullock easily handled all the attention that came with his status as one of the nation's top recruits, joking that Bullock was the mayor of Kinston.

"People would come up yelling in your face, 'Oh my God, it's Reggie Bullock!'" Bullock said. "My teammates would be laughing. (Fans) would come up and say, 'Can you dunk for me? Can you shoot a 3 for me?' I'm just like, 'I'm going to play my game.'"

Bullock finished second for AP player of the year in North Carolina last season to John Wall, who is now playing for Kentucky.

Bullock verbally committed to play for Roy Williams' Tar Heels as a sophomore. He'll be part of a heralded recruiting class that includes Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall, a group that will face pressure to help the program regroup after this season's struggles. The class should offer some of the perimeter depth and outside shooting this year's team sorely lacked.

"I know the recruiting class coming in, we're going to bring what they needed to the plate," Bullock said. "We're going to go into practice and work hard and try to turn things around. ... I believe we're all pieces to the puzzle and hopefully we can get it done next year."

Antawn Jamison presents Right Moves March Madness finals

Former Providence High All-American basketball star Antawn Jamison annually sponsorsThe Right Moves for Youth March Madness Competition. This year's event is Saturday at Berry High.

Right Moves students will compete in cheerleading, stepping and basketball. The event runs from 9 a.m. until 3:15 p.m.

Right Moves for Youth is a nonprofit organization that works with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students in a group setting. Students participate in clubs in more than 70 school-based sites with a volunteer base of more than 500 individuals. Volunteers promote positive youth development by enhancing participants' academic accomplishments, leadership ability, life skills awareness, self-esteem, civic responsibility and cultural awareness.

Right Moves For Youth’s “Pay-To-Play” philosophy rewards students for their achievements by providing opportunities to participate in a variety of athletic and cultural activities. Students who “pay” by improving their attendance, behavior and/or academic performance are rewarded with various opportunities to “play”.

One of these is the annual RMFY March Madness competition, which gives our students the chance to compete in basketball, cheerleading and stepping. Participation in March Madness is a reward for club members who show continuous improvement in attendance, behavior and academic performance.

Jamison, now with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, is sponsoring the event for the seventh consecutive season as part of his “A Better Tomorrow” campaign. More information on this initiative can be found at

March Madness Schedule:

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM-RMFY High School Championship Game- West Charlotte High School vs. Harding University High School

10:15 AM – 11:30 AM-RMFY Cheerleading Competition

11:45 AM- 12:45 PM-RMFY Middle School Championship Game- A.G. Middle School vs. Randolph Middle School

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM- RMFY Step Competition

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM- RMFY Elementary Championship Game- Hornets Nest Elementary School vs. Nathaniel Alexander

*Award Ceremony immediately following games*

Lake Norman's Jolly NC AP coach of the year; Butler's Butler runner-up

Brandon Jolly didn't want his Lake Norman team to blow its chance of winning a state championship. His team responded with a dominating run to close the season and make him the 2009-10 Associated Press men's prep basketball coach of the year for North Carolina.

Jolly earned seven of a possible 22 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Thursday to win the award. Monroe's Johnny Sowell was second with five votes after leading his program to its first state title in 20 years, while Kinston's Wells Gulledge was third with four votes after winning his second title in three seasons.

Jolly led his team to a 27-3 record despite being picked to finish third in its league. The program had never been past the sectional round before this season's run, which ended with a win against Fayetteville Sanford in the Class 4-A final.

"They were hungry right from the get-go," Jolly said. "They were hurt and upset from the Concord loss last year (in the sectionals) so they were driven all year. They had been working hard since April of last year to get to this point."

Jolly had seven of his top 10 players coming back from last year, so he knew his team was positioned for a strong season behind AP All-State pick Paul Larsen and Reggie Price. But the team lost starting guard Matt Denyes for the second half of the season, forcing sixth man Brian Whalen into the starting lineup and cutting into the team's depth.

"We could've taken a turn for the worst, but we had some guys really step up and do a great job for us," Jolly said.

Before the final, Jolly had told his players they might never get another chance at winning a state championship, so they had to take advantage of the opportunity. Lake Norman trailed 41-40 heading into the fourth quarter before outscoring Sanford 23-5 to close out the title run.

"I still don't think myself or the boys have come down off that high," Jolly said. "I haven't been able to go back and watch the game yet on TV because I've been so busy. I'm looking forward to watching the game on TV when nobody's bothering me and I can just watch it and soak it all in."

Kernersville Bishop McGuinness coach Brian Robinson won the AP girls coach of the year award in a season where he just hoped his team would make the playoffs. His team won its fifth straight 1A title.

Robinson earned seven of a possible 22 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Thursday. That was one vote better than Matthews Butler's Stephanie Butler, who led her team to the Class 4-A title, while Gastonia Forestview's Ken Beaty was third with four votes after leading his program to the 3-A crown.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crest football coach Roy Kirby resigns, to join Tom Knotts at Dutch Fork

Boiling Springs Crest football coach Roy Kirby has resigned to take a job as defensive coordinator at Dutch Fork (S.C.).

Tom Knotts resigned from Independence earlier this year to become athletics director and head football coach at Dutch Fork.

Kirby, 53, has coached at Crest for 22 years. He was head coach since 1997, winning state titles in 2003 and 2004.

Kirby contacted Knotts shortly after he took the Dutch Fork job in January. Kirby said he got a contract to teach physical education and teach weight training at Dutch Fork Friday.

"I think it's a good opportunity," Kirby said. "I'm excited about it. To go down there and work with (Knotts) should be fun. The school down there and the community are really wanting to have a winning program and we're going to go down there and see if we can give that to them."

Knotts was excited about adding a coach like Kirby to his staff.

"If you ask high school football coaches around North Carolina who are the top three or four defensive coaches, he would definitely be one," Knotts said. "I'm just thrilled to get a guy of his calibre and it'll definitely ease my load. He's also been as an assistant AD and I think we'll make a good team."

Knotts said he and Kirby would not start full time at Dutch Fork until after school ends in June, but said both will help run spring practice which begins in mid-May. For now, Dutch Fork assistant Noah Dixon is handling the players, using Knotts' weight conditioning program and making sure all the players run track, another long-time Knotts staple.

"(Dutch Fork was) 2-9 last year and we feel like we can't get anything but better," Knotts said. "We'll put a quality staff together and a guy like Roy Kirby, well, you don't get somebody of that calibre every day. To get him is a real blessing for me and Dutch Fork. I think it's going to work out great."