Catholic girls in conference title hunt

The streaking Charlotte Catholic girls won nine of their past 11 games and sat tied with Ardrey Kell entering their Jan. 17 showdown (after press deadline) atop the So. Meck 8 conference.

While there have been many factors which have contributed to their solid play of late, coach Bobby Conrad said it’s mostly about his team simply getting more comfortable.

“It’s starting to come together a little bit,” Conrad said. “I think we’re playing a little more confidently. At the beginning I think we were thinking too much and trying to play basketball at the same time. Now, we’re doing a little of both.”

Senior guard Sophie Rossitch has led the Cougars with an average of 17.7 points this season. In addition to Rossitch, junior wings Sarah Dudzinski and Stephanie Ferraro have teamed with sophomore posts Carrie Eberle and Melissa Roulier to all average five or more points per game, giving Conrad balanced scoring and making it hard to key on just one player.

“Somebody different is stepping up all the time,” Conrad said. “Sophie’s going to attract more and more attention, but we’ve been able to count on someone stepping up all the time.

“We’re getting better and better in our system and I think that will even get better. The start to any year is always tough, but the longer it goes, the more natural it becomes.”

 

Sabres wrestlers hitting their stride

After handily defeating Myers Park with a 62-18 win on Jan. 10, the South Meck wrestling team has now won five of the past six dual team matches. The win also earned the Sabres their second consecutive victory.

In the match against the Mustangs, individual winners included 120-pound Collin Stewart, who won by fall. He was joined by Klevar Mason (126 pounds), Blake Barber (132), Jacob Norby (160), Mason Armstrong (170), Tyler Gura (182), Louis Esposito (195) and Seth Mann (285).

The Sabres also had a number of forfeit winners as Joseph Coss (145), David Torres (113) and Nathan Brown (106) added to the winning total.

Coss, who owns a 27-3 record, and Collin Stewart, who is 26-3, lead the Sabres on the season.

Other Sabre standout wrestlers include Barber (24-6), Esposito (23-7), Norby (14-5), Brown (14-10) and Armstrong (13-9).

South Meck has dual-team matches scheduled this month with Olympic (Jan. 22), Providence (Jan. 24) and Ardrey Kell (Jan. 30) before the So. Meck 8 tournament begins on Feb. 1.

 

Sabres boys basketball improving

The South Mecklenburg boys basketball team has gone 4-3 since the middle of December, but that record is a little deceiving.

The Sabres have dropped a pair of one-point games – falling to conference frontrunner Berry, 51-50, on Dec. 17 and dropping a 52-51 heartbreaker to Rock Hill on Dec. 23 – and have been defeated by defending Class 4A state champion Olympic.

While the results haven’t shown in the win column as often as coach John Fitch would like, the Sabres (5-9, 2-3 in So. Meck 8 conference trough Jan. 16) have certainly improved since their 1-7 start to the year.

The strength of the Sabres lies in 6-foot-6 junior post presences Grant Hedberg, Myles Wilkins and Quadrian
Jamison.

Hedberg leads South Meck in scoring and rebounding as he’s averaging 13.3 points and 11 rebounds per game. Wilkins is third on the team with 7.9 points per game and averages nine rebounds and Jamison contributes 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per
game.

While the post presence has been undeniable, the contributions of sophomore guards Khayleb Connelly (12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists) and Jalen Blakeney (7.3 points, 3.9 rebounds) have helped the Sabres recover from their slow start.

South Meck is currently fourth in the So. Meck 8 standings, but have seven conference games remaining which will ultimately decide where they end up.

 

Cougar wrestlers grapple with stiff competition

The Charlotte Catholic wrestling team opened its season with eight consecutive dual-team wins, but have dropped six of their past nine matches.

From the outside it may appear that the Cougars have been struggling, but it’s more to do with their schedule as Charlotte Catholic has recently battled some of the most successful programs
around.

The Cougars last six losses have come against teams with a combined 116-25 record, including defending Class 4A champion Parkland, who is 31-0 this season, A.L. Brown (18-3), defending private-school champion Charlotte Latin (18-9), Cox Mill (15-6), Rock Hill (13-1) and Sun Valley (11-7).

The Cougars most recent win came on Jan. 9 when they defeated rival South Meck, 36-26.

Individual winners for Charlotte Catholic against the Sabres included Alex Lapiana, who won at 152 pounds by fall. Spencer Hayes (182 pounds), Joseph Lapiana (195) and Quintin Hutchins (285) each won their matches by decision or pins while Nick Elchert (220), Cole Swan (138) and Kristian Saul (120) won by
forfeits.

Hayes, who owns a 27-5 record, leads the Cougars on the season. Other standouts on the mat include 160-pound Peter Lapiana (25-10), 145-pound Ben Litton (22-7), 120-pound Danny Sardo (21-4) and 113-pound John Turner (15-12).

The Cougars have a final tune-up before the Feb. 1 So. Meck 8 conference tournament when they face Ardrey Kell on Jan. 23.

 

Sabres looking to make playoffs

The South Mecklenburg girls’ basketball team is looking to make the state playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

The Sabres have suffered losing records each season since clinching the 2-AA state title in 2006 and going 18-7 under coach Troy Gaston the following season. But Cristie Mitchell, now in her third year as the Sabres’ coach, expects the Sabres will make their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade this season.

The Sabres started their season with a
brutal non-conference schedule, taking on nationally-ranked Myers Park along with
perennial power Porter Ridge and Rocky River. The Sabres are currently 5-9 and 3-2 in So. Meck 8 conference play – at a comfortable fourth
place.

“We definitely played one of the toughest non-conference schedules,” Mitchell said. “However, playing these tough games helped prepare us for conference play. I have extremely high expectations for the remainder of the season. I expect us to finish in the top three in the So. Meck 8 and make it to the state playoffs for the first time since 2006-07.”

The Sabres are young this season, with only one senior in 5-foot-7 forward Mary Quick, but have veteran leadership in sophomore guards Ali Fitch and Courtney Sanderson carrying the weight of the backcourt. Fitch leads the Sabres in scoring, putting up 13 points per game and contributing two assists. Sanderson, the next leading scorer, is averaging 11 points with four rebounds, two steals and two assists. Quick, a starter playing big minutes, contributes 9.4 points and four
rebounds.

Mitchell said it’s contributions from across the roster that will be important in the thick of conference play.

“The part that makes our team special is that we have very even contributions from teammates,” she said. “We have had five different leading scorers this season. Teams cannot concentrate on one or two scorers, because on any given night a new leader emerges.”

Freshmen Carrington Bennett (5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds) and Aja Stevens (4.3 points, two assists) are also playing important minutes along with 6-foot-1 junior center Nnenna Oku, who leads the Sabres with 5.7 rebounds per game.

Mitchell said she’s looking forward to the future of girls basketball at South Mecklenburg, with only one senior graduating. The JV team is currently 11-2, and with four of five starters returning to the varsity roster next season, Mitchell said the coming years will place the Sabres back on the top of the competitive scene.

“It’s extremely exciting having such a great group of young talent,” she said. “With a JV team who is currently 11-2, combined with the young, talented nucleus of the varsity team, South Meck basketball is headed in the right direction.”

The Sabres traveled to Providence on Jan. 17 (after press deadline).

 

Cougars struggle against Charlotte Christian

Charlotte Catholic overcame a third quarter deficit against Charlotte Christian on Jan. 11 to outscore the Knights 16-12 in the fourth quarter and force overtime. But as the Knights put up 20 points in overtime to seal the win, 67-58.

Six-foot senior guard Robbie Anderson led the Cougars’ scoring effort with 14 points while Josh Brodowicz added nine and Drew Fishbaugh put up eight. But the Cougar leaders weren’t enough to stop three double-digit Knight scorers in Trey Phills (23 points), Jaylon McClinton (15 points) and Adam Durden
(10 points).

Anderson leads the Cougars scoring, averaging 17 points per game and three assists. The senior guard had a career-high 31 points and added three rebounds and two assists in the Cougars’ Dec. 28 loss to Indian
Land.

The Cougars fell to 3-10 on the season with the loss and are 1-3 in So. Meck 8 conference play. The Cougars traveled to Ardrey Kell on Jan. 17 and face Providence at home on Jan. 21.

 

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