North Mecklenburg vs Columbus

North Meck is the defending champions of the I-Meck and the Arby's Classic in Bristol, Tenn.

Christ the King Crusaders

Conference: NCHSAA 1A Independent

Head coach: Stephen Clapp (third season, 16-35)

Last year’s record: 5-21 NCISAA 2A Independent

Returning starters: 4

Key departures: Brian Buchsbaum, center (9.6 points per game, 6.2 rebounds)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Andrew Hendershott, 6-foot, sophomore guard (10.1 points per game); Jack Zuhosky, 5-foot-10, junior guard (8.9 points per game); Nick Todd, 6-foot, junior small forward (5.4 points per game)

Top newcomers: Jaylen Steele 5-foot-11 junior guard; Andrew Stanley, 6-foot-2, sophomore guard/forward

Outlook: Coach Stephen Clapp is excited for Christ the King in its first year in the NCHSAA. The Crusaders are looking to bounce back with four returning starters in the addition of Jaylen Steele and Andrew Stanley. The Crusaders will rely heavily on the playmaking of Steele and Hendershott and the toughness of Jack Zuhosky and Nick Todd. 


Community School of Davidson Spartans

Conference: PAC 7 1A

Head coach: Jackie Drakeford (fifth season, 72-43)

Last year’s record: 23-7, 8-4 PAC 7 (tied for second)

Returning starters: 5

Key departures: Konrad Christian, small forward, (11.3 points per game, 7.6 rebounds; 1.8 blocks; now plays at Kenyon College

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Brandon Ellington, 6-foot-3, senior shooting guard,  (15.3 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists); Sage Alexander, 5-foot-10, senior point guard (13.7 points per game, 2.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.9 steals per game); Ryan Renshaw, 6-foot-2, senior small forward (7.8 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists); Cannon Boone, 6-foot-4, senior center (2.6 points per game, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals); Harrison Hosse, 6-foot-3, senior shooting guard (7.0 points per game, 1.5 rebounds)

Top newcomers: Claude Bragg, 6-foot-5, junior small forward

Outlook: The Spartans have the most experienced team in school history with seven returning seniors that all saw significant playing time from a 23-7 team that has made it to the third round of the 1A state playoffs the last three seasons. Guard Brandon Ellington is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, which would surpass Joey Knox. 


Davidson Day Patriots

Conference: NCISAA Independent

Head coach: Ron Johnson (fourth season, first since 2011-12, 75-21)

Last year’s record: 12-7

Returning starters: 3

Key departures: None

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Jackson Threadgill, 6-foot-4, junior guard (17 points per game, 5 rebounds, 3 assists); CJ Huntley, 6-foot-8, junior forward (14 points per game, 9 points, 1 assist); Will Coble, 6-foot-3, junior guard (11 points per game, 3 rebounds, 3 assists)

Top newcomers: Adam Brazil, 5-foot-10, junior guard; Luke Robinson, 6-foot-3, junior forward

Outlook: Coach Ron Johnson returned to Davidson Day to be the athletic director and boys coach after spending the last five years as AD, dean of students and basketball coach at The Burlington School. Johnson said the key to his first Patriot team back will be how quickly it can adapt to the offensive and defensive changes. One of the additions is guard Adam Brazil, who last year averaged 8 points and 2 assists at Lake Norman High.


Brice Williams

Hopewell's Brice Williams

Hopewell Titans

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: Michael McNeil (third year, 31-22)

Last year’s record: 19-9 (9-5 I-Meck)

Returning starters: 3

Key departures: Zack Dixon (two-time all-conference); Micale Harris (87 blocks, Jimmy V Classic MVP)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Jalen Jones, 6-foot senior guard (5.4 points per game, 3.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 3.0 rebounds); Brice Williams, 6-foot-7, senior guard (18.1 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, 2 assists); Alvin Cannady, 6-foot (7.3 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks)

Top newcomers: Thomas Jackson, 6-foot, sophomore point guard; Devin McLaughlin, 6-foot-6, junior forward; Zahir Moody, 6-foot-3, senior wing

Outlook: Brice Williams, Alvin Cannady and Jalen Jones are among the seven returning players from last year’s team that finished second in the I-Meck. Coach Michael McNeil believes this year’s squad is poised to make another playoff run after making it to the second round a year ago. The Titans will have to replace two-time all-conference points guard Zack Dixon and center Micale Harris.


Lake Norman Charter Knights

Conference: South Fork 2A

Head coach: Aaron Reeves (seventh season, 121-64)

Last year’s record: 10-13, 8-6 South Fork

Returning starters: 2

Key departures: Connor Reed, 6-foot-3, guard (19 points per game), all-conference; Noah Allen 5-foot-11, guard (13.6 points per game, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Cal Reed, 6-foot, sophomore guard (5.8 points per game, 2.3 rebounds); Ian Martino, 6-foot, sophomore guard (10.0 points per game, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists)

Top newcomers: Alec Edens, sophomore guard; Donovan Atwell, freshman wing; Jackson Porter, sophomore post player

Outlook: The Knights will look to replace the scoring of Conner Reed and Noah Allen, and Reed’s brother Cal will shoulder some of that load. Also look for Ian Martino to have a big season for Aaron Reeves’ squad, who looks to eclipse the .500 mark after going 10-13 a season ago. 


North Meck Vikings

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: Duane Lewis (20th season, 360-139)

Last year’s record: 27-2, 14-0 I-Meck, first

Returning starters: 3

Key departures: Jae’Lyn Withers, small forward Ka’Vaudrick Worthy, point guard, Yancey Hairston, power forward; Jabril Griffin, small forward; Malek Luckey, guard; Corban Strother, center; Tyren Clark, small forward

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Tristan Maxwell, 6-foot-3, junior shooting guard (20 points per game, 4 rebounds); Chris Ford, 6-foot-5, sophomore, small forward (14 points per game, 7 rebounds); Demar Anderson, 6-foot-2, junior point guard (7 points per game, 4 rebounds, 4 assists)

Top newcomers: Shamann Artis, junior guard; Dee Givens, junior power forward; Daqon Stewart, small forward; Tony Waters, point guard; Trayden Williams, shooting guard

Outlook: Following an undefeated run the I-Meck a year ago, the Vikings were upset by Rocky River in the third round of the 4A state playoffs. But Duane Lewis’ team is looking to again win the conference and tournament titles. They will be without Louisville commit Jae’lyn Withers via transfer but return shooting guard Tristan Maxwell, one of the top-rated juniors in the state. Last year’s junior varsity MVP Daqon Stewart is expected to make an impact, and Shamann Artis and Dee Givens each come in with some varsity experience.


SouthLake Christian Eagles

Conference: NCISAA Metrolina Athletic Conference

Head coach: Rodney Monroe (eighth season, 99-92)

Last year’s record: 18-12, 7-3 MAC

Returning starters: none

Key departures: Madison Monroe, guard (21 points per game); Deon Haughton, guard (12 points per game); Jalen Celestine, guard (12 points per game); Zion Hendrix, guard (10 points per game); Hunter Smith, forward

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Beck Wazan, 6-foot-5, senior forward; Wallace Foutch, 6-foot-2, sophomore guard; Austin Reed, 5-foot-10, senior guard

Top newcomers: Zachary Duguid, 6-foot-1, sophomore guard; Kasparas Gecas, 6-foot-3, senior guard; Jonathan Kurtas, 6-foot-7, sophomore forward

Outlook: SouthLake enters the 2018-19 season looking to replace the bulk of its scoring from last year’s team that was third in the MAC. Gone are several double-digit scorers, led by Madison Monroe and his 21 points per game. This year, Coach Rodney Monroe believes he’s got a good shooting team but is lacking in experience. Austin Reed, a three-sport athlete for the Eagles, is one of the top tacklers and rushers for the football team. 


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