Cougar boys remain dominant, unbeaten
The Carmel Christian boys basketball team entered this season with a host of star-studded recruits and lofty expectations, but through seven games the Cougars have lived up to every bit of the hype.
They didn’t play particularly well in the first half of their Nov. 20 tilt with Calvary Christian and entered the halftime locker room tied at 38.
But the second half was a different story as the Cougars raced out to a 27-13 advantage in the third quarter and outscored Calvary Christian 52-27 the rest of the way to win, 90-65.
Senior Donovan Gregory hit 10-of-16 shots and scored 23 points to lead four Cougars in double figures. DeAngelo Epps (18 points), Jake Boggs (17 points, eight rebounds and three assists) and Myles Pierre (11 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals) also had notable performances.
The Cougars played in the Happy Hoopsgiving tournament in Atlanta and opened with Georgia-power Lakeside.
The Cougars used a 17-11 third-quarter spurt to open a six-point cushion to an 86-72 win on Nov. 23.
The next day, the Cougars jumped out to an 18-9 lead and never looked back as they pounded Missouri’s Hazelwood Central 83-50.
Epps scored 22 points to lead the way, but Marten Maide (19 points), Gregory (17), Pierre (10) and Boggs (nine) all played well.
Patriot boys fall to Village Christian
After a 2-0 start to the season, the defending 4A champion Independence boys basketball team suffered its first setback with a 50-48 loss to private-school power Village Christian.
The Patriots opened the season with an impressive 70-39 win over Hopewell behind 17 points from Raja Milton and 12 from Andra’ McGee.
Over Thanksgiving, the Patriots played in Fayetteville’s Hoops & Dreams showcase, and they opened with a 69-59 win over a good Northwood Temple team on Nov. 23.
Matt Smith scored 16 points and added six rebounds to lead five Patriots in double figures including McGee (12, six assists, four rebounds and four steals), Anthony Allen (12), Tyler Harris (11) and Milton (10, five rebounds and four assists).
The next day, the Patriots trailed 25-22 at the half, but after outscoring Village Christian 19-13 in third quarter, they seemed to be in control. The Patriots couldn’t capitalize, however, and scored just seven points in the fourth quarter to lose.
Milton scored a game-high 15 and Allen added 11 in the loss, where the Patriots shot just 38 percent from the floor.
Lion boys turning things around
The Covenant Day boys basketball team has won three games each of the previous two seasons, but after knocking off Combine Academy 72-69 on Nov. 20, the Lions are 2-1 under second-year coach Marty Parrish.
The Lions were blown out 72-40 by state power Greensboro Day, but have since rebounded to nearly match last season’s win total.
On Nov. 12 the Lions got their first win of the season with a 62-60 thriller over Arborbrook Christian.
Hamidou Sidibe scored 23 points and added seven rebounds and four steals. Jacob Dahlberg added 12 points, five steals and four rebounds.
The Lions trailed by eight points at the half of their win over Combine Academy, a prep school in Matthews, but came back to win.
Dahlberg led all scorers with 19 points and added six rebounds, and Sidibe scored 16. The Lions also got 10 points apiece from Brit Anderson and Davis Peter and nine points and six rebounds from Wayne Kelada.
Butler girls out-duel Berry in opener
The Butler girls have won at least 17 games in each of the past five seasons and seem to always be in contention in the Southwestern 4A conference.
This year, they seem headed in that same trajectory after coming from behind to knock off Berry 44-41 in their season opener at the Charlotte Hoops Challenge on Nov. 23.
Berry came out of the gates hot and led 17-6 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs would claw their way back to within five points with an 18-12 second-quarter surge.
Both teams tightened the defense and struggled from the field in the second half, but Butler outscored Berry 12-8 in the fourth quarter and 19-13 in the second half for the margin of victory.
Butler shot just 14-of-56 (27 percent) from the floor and 10-of-26 (38 percent) from the free throw line, but held Berry to 27 percent shooting on the other end of the floor.
Junior Michala Funderburk scored 14 points and added seven rebounds while seniors Michela Lane (12 points, 10 rebounds and five steals) and Michaela Dixon (four points and 10 rebounds) both played well.
Dixon, Raven girls open season with wins
The Rocky River girls basketball team is 2-0 after a pair of very different wins to open the season.
The Ravens kicked off the season on Nov. 20 in a close game with Berry, eventually pulling away for a 44-37 win after outscoring Berry 16-8 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Delayzha Dixon had quite an opening-night impression as the junior scored 20 points and pulled down 19 rebounds to go with six steals and an assist.
Three days later, the Ravens opened up a 28-13 halftime lead and cruised to an easy 53-30 win over Forsyth Country Day.
Dixon had another double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Andresia Alexander added 10 points, eight assists and five steals; Zichia Harris added nine points; Sophia Dean added eight; and Erial Chambers scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds.