Lake Norman Wildcats

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Zane Haglan

Lake Norman guard Zane Haglan scored 14 points a game last year.

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: Brandon Jolly (11th season, 170-91) 

Last year’s record: 14-11 overall, 6-8 I-Meck, sixth

Returning starters: 2

Key departures: Demarcus Johnson, shooting guard (12.9 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Zane Haglan, 6-foot-1, senior point guard, all-county, all-conference, all-district (14 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals); Zach Schulz, 6-foot-1, senior guard (7 points per game, 2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1 steal, shot 54 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3)

Top newcomers: Jack Edmonson, 6-foot-1, junior wing, JV MVP; Clay Hodges, 5-foot-8, sophomore guard; Jonas Courtney, 6-foot-7, sophomore center

Outlook: With seniors Reese Rossi, Dan Davidson and Grey Welsh in addition to team leaders Zane Haglan and Zach Schulz, coach Brandon Jolly said there is great leadership on this season’s team. He’s also looking to junior Dominic Adams, who has “made some huge strides over the summer/fall in the post.” He also is excited about the players who have moved up from the JV team, despite having a young and inexperienced team. “We’re unselfish, and the boys work extremely hard,” Jolly said. “We have a chance to be pretty good.”

 

Mooresville Blue Devils

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: Mike Micklow (14th season)

Last year’s record: 3-21, 1-13 I-Meck, eighth

Returning starters: 2

Key departures: n/a

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Griffin White, 6-foot-1, senior guard (11 points per game); A.J. Stewart, 5-foot-11, senior guard (8 points per game); Shy Smith, 5-foot-10, senior point guard (4 points per game)

Top newcomers: Glenwood Robinson, 6-foot-1, sophomore; Lamont Thornton, 6-foot-3, sophomore; Sean Hill, 6-feet-3, sophomore; Jordan Grandison, 5-foot-10, sophomore; Avanth Ezhilan, 6-foot-1, sophomore

Outlook: Veteran coach Mike Micklow said this year’s team has strong guard play along with depth to improve on last year’s 3-21 mark. But he is cognizant that “with only three players getting valuable minutes last year, inexperience could be a factor.” Despite last year’s record, the Blue Devils still took second-place Hopewell to overtime and lost to third-place Hough by 8.

 

Pine Lake Prep Pride

Conference: PAC 7 1A

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Demarcus Johnson

Demarcus Johnson joins the Pine Lake team after scoring in double-figures a year ago for Lake Norman High.

Head coach: Tony Dunbar (second season, 19-8) 

Last year’s record: 19-8, 12-0 PAC 7, conference champions, Sweet 16

Returning starters: none

Key departures: D’Marco Small, conference player of the year (16 points per game, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 42 percent shooting 3s ); Alex Cuff, two-time all-conference (17 points per game, 6 rebounds, 40 percent shooting 3s, 52 percent field goal); Eito Yuminami, school’s all-time assist leader, two-time all-conference (11.6 points per game, 5 assists, 42 percent shooting 3s); Josh Barnette, all-conference (17 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 40 percent shooting 3s)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Justin Workman, 6-foot-1, senior guard; Meelad Doroodchi, 6-foot-2, junior guard; Derek Finizio, 6-foot-4, senior guard; Luke Johnson, 6-foot-4, senior forward, Justin Bushrod, 5-foot-10 junior guard

Top newcomers: DeMarcus Johnson, 6-foot-4, senior guard (13 points per game, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals at Lake Norman); Grant Wagner, 6-foot-4, senior guard; Trace Forest, 5-foot-9, sophomore guard; Jacob Morgan, 6-foot-5, sophomore guard; Carson Shirley, 6-foot, sophomore guard

Outlook: Like several other teams in the area, Pine Lake lost several key contributors from last year’s conference champion team, including all-time Pride assist leader Eito Yuminami. “We replaced them with key returners, a mix of transfers and a group of talented sophomores,” coach Tony Dunbar said. “We have a lot of interchangeable parts that fit into the Pine Lake system.” Dunbar said the team’s biggest strength this year is defensive pressure. “We have the ability to cause a lot of havoc.”

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