Basketball Notebook for January 20

Charlotte Latin boys continue hoops hot streak

The Charlotte Latin boys basketball team opened Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association play with a 72-52 win over Providence Day on Jan. 17.

The Hawks were 0-8 in conference last year and had lost 10 consecutive games to conference foes. Their last conference win was against the Chargers on Feb. 19, 2010.

“It was a big win over a team that we respect immensely,” said Hawks coach Chris Berger. “(Providence Day) was really talented last year, and they laid it on us last year, so it was a nice win. But it is also really early in our season.”

Charlotte Latin, ranked sixth in South Charlotte Weekly’s Southern Mecklenburg Boys Super 7, improved to 10-6 overall and 1-0 in the CISAA.

Rusty Reigel led a balanced attack for the Hawks with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Matt Tome, Joe Baynard, Adam Hermann and Jacob Nabotoff all scored in double figures.

“I hope we are improving every day, and I think a win like this is big for us,” Berger said. “In the past, we would have kept losing our minds on the court, but we are trying to become a smarter and more efficient team.

“If we can get balance like that, we will be tough. We aren’t talented enough to have one guy beat other teams. We need everyone contributing.”

Providence Day coach Brian Field said the Chargers (9-9, 0-1) had trouble getting out on 3-point shooters to start the game and were out-rebounded, especially on second-chance points as the Hawks corralled 18 offensive rebounds.

“Latin played well, and every time we made a mistake, they capitalized on it” Field said. “Our effort was good, but we didn’t always play smart.”

Providence Day girls make up for third loss

On Jan. 16, the Providence Day girls suffered their third loss on the season, as they fell to Thomasville Prep for the second time this year.

The next night, however, they got 22 points and eight rebounds from Jatarie White, and 10 points and 10 rebounds from Olivia Parker, as they defeated Charlotte Latin, 79-46, in the conference opener. The Chargers have a 15-3 record and are ranked second in the Southern Mecklenburg Girls
Super 7.

Providence Day coach Josh Springer said he was pleased to get a win but thought there were some lapses in concentration and execution.

“If you broke the game into four-minute sections, we won some and we lost some,” Springer said. “It is hard when we get a sizeable lead to stay sharp, but for us to achieve our ultimate goal of winning a state championship, that is what we need to do.

“We have really high expectations, and I expect a lot from this team. We have to be disciplined enough to play defense for the entire 32 minutes and do the little things like passing and catching the ball.”

Catholic girls make it three in a row

Since suffering a pair of losses to highly regarded MEGA 7 3A/4A conference opponents Harding and Berry Academy, things are looking up for the Charlotte Catholic girls basketball team.

The Cougars have rattled off three consecutive victories and pushed their record above the .500 mark at 8-7, including a 3-3 mark in league play. The wins have come against East Gaston (56-38), Olympic and Charlotte Country Day (55-43).

While several Cougars have had strong outstanding performances during the three-game winning streak, coach Bobby Conrad said tough defense has played the greatest role.

“We’re a young team, but what has made us competitive is our defense,” Conrad said. “We’ve really done a nice job. We’re probably getting 15 or 20 steals a game. We have a 40-and-under club. That’s a big thing for us: We try to hold teams under 40 points.”

The Cougars have done that in two of the three games, and they had a strong well-rounded performance against Olympic on a night when the girls team played before a packed house because so many people were on hand early for the boys contest.

“There was obviously a lot of energy in here, and I thought our girls responded well,” Conrad said. “I thought defensively we played really well. We put a ton of pressure on them. We got up early. They came back a little bit, and I thought we did a good job weathering it. We played balanced, with good inside-outside scoring.”

Post player Onya Edwards finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Taylor Brock had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sophie Rossitch totaled 18 points and seven steals.

“We’re coming together,” Conrad said. “We’re being more aggressive, which was needed, and everybody’s starting to understand their roles a little more.

“It’s helped that we’ve won a few and played some competitive games against good teams in Harding and Berry. We’re getting a lot better.”

Charlotte Christian gets hard-fought win

The Charlotte Christian girls basketball team avoided its second two-game losing streak in a month by downing Cary Academy, 55-49, on Jan. 13.

Entering the game, the Knights had lost two of their past three contests. They dropped a pair of games at Tennessee’s Landair Ladies Classic holiday tournament, and fell to Greensboro Day, 60-56, on Jan. 10. Cary Academy posed another strong challenge and stayed with the Knights, trailing 40-38 at the end of three quarters. But Charlotte Christian eventually pulled away, sparked by forward Gigi Bailey’s 25 points and 16 rebounds, and the defensive play of senior Maryah Mazyck. In the end, the Knights won, 60-56.

Charlotte Christian coach Bob Angley said it was good to get back in the win column, especially considering the hard-fought nature of the victory.

“Sometimes, as a coach or a fan, you want things to look pretty and you want it to look like your team is absolutely in control,” Angley said. “But basically, sometimes you’ve got to settle for your team playing with courage and some guts.”

Bailey added that the performance was encouraging and indicative of the team’s burgeoning chemistry.

“It’s great to have a win like that, especially because we have a young team,” Bailey said. “It shows our maturity level is growing, so it’s nice to see we can push through adversity.”

The Knights followed up with a 64-38 win over Raleigh Ravenscroft the next day to improve their record to 12-3.

Charlotte Christian boys return, win

For the first time since Dec. 6, the Charlotte Christian boys basketball team returned to the friendly confines of Lamb/Johnson Gymnasium on Jan. 13, when they downed Cary Academy, 91-62.

While it was good to play in their home gym, coach Shonn Brown said the Knights’ performance still left something to be desired.

“It’s good to be home, but we still gave up 62 (points),” said Brown, who said his team is still learning to “buckle down” on every defensive opportunity.

“We’re saying we want to be really good, so that’s something we have to continue to learn,” Brown said.

The Knights were led by Matthew Fisher-Davis’ 23 points, followed by Trey Phills and Ben Richter, who each had 13 points. Patrick Rooks was next with 12. The Knights also got a boost from backup point guard Des Lawrence, who collected five assists, two rebounds and a steal.

“He moves the ball and communicates with his teammates and tries to be the deciding force behind what we do in terms of setting the tone on defense and pushing the ball with a purpose,” Brown said of Lawrence.

During its 10-game road trip, in which the Knights played in a pair of national tournaments, Charlotte Christian went 7-3, resulting in an 11-5 overall record. Last year, the Knights didn’t lose their fifth game until late February.

“We’ve taken the losses well,” said veteran senior forward Ryan Potocnik. “We’ve learned from them and we’ve seen what we needed to change. We’ve done a pretty good job of fixing that so far.”

With a host of new faces on this year’s team, Brown and his staff have tinkered with the lineup nearly all season, which has built depth and confidence, said Richter.

“We’ve had a bunch of different starting lineups, so we all know how to play with each other,” he said. “So when (Brown) switches it up, it’s not really a big deal (to the players).”

And perhaps most important, the road swing, which included stops in Tennessee and Ohio, has brought the team closer as a unit, said Rooks.

“Chemistry has a lot to do with basketball and how you do as a team, just knowing where everybody is on the court, so it was good overall,” Rooks said.

The Knights fell to 11-6 the following day in an 83-59 loss to Raleigh Ravenscroft. Charlotte Christian was slated to travel to Concord Cannon on Jan. 19 before departing for Georgia to play in the Norcross Invitational on Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21.

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