The reason for the Reynolds boys basketball team’s newfound success is simple.
“We’ve got some good players,” Rockets first-year coach Clint Loftin said.
But there’s more.
“Right now, we’re doing a good job playing as one,” Loftin continued.
“Win or lose, I think we can see ourselves getting better.”
Reynolds showed it Friday with a 70-59 win at Roberson.
Kemaree Simpson led the Rockets (9-6, 2-3) with 18 points, while Jordan Andrews added 15 and Devin Watkins had 14. Reynolds has easily surpassed its wins total from all of last season (six) and pushed MAC 4-A leader McDowell (14-3, 5-0) on Tuesday before losing, 61-59, at home.
“That was a difficult emotional loss for us,” Loftin said.
“I was proud to see the way we moved forward tonight. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves after losing to McDowell. The kids just came in and practiced hard. We’re learning how to handle failure and success. That’s a big thing for us right now.”
Tyler McHone was the top scorer for Roberson (3-9, 1-3) on Friday. Chase Rucker netted 11 points. Zeke Schmelze had 10.
Huge night for Hale
Shannon Hale nearly became just the third basketball player in Christ School history to record a 40-point game on Friday.
The University of Alabama recruit poured in 37 points as the Greenies dispatched visiting Legacy Charter (S.C.), 76-59, inside Mebane Fieldhouse.
Hale’s performance is believed to be the best by a Christ School player in more than a decade. The school record for single-game scoring is 44 points and was set by Tommy Suiter in 1966.
“Shannon can score in a lot of different ways,” Greenies coach David Gaines said.
“And we’ve gotta have that. I told the kids at halftime, ‘Guys, this is our leading scorer. He needs to get the basketball.'”
For the season, Hale is averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game for Christ School (18-6) and he now has 988 career points.
Heritage girls band together
Win or lose, Friday’s home game was going to answer two big questions for the Mountain Heritage girls.
Would the Cougars (16-1, 6-1) respond positively to their first loss? And could they beat a quality opponent (Madison) without arguably their best player (Brianna Woody)?
Yes and yes.
Nyssa Freeman scored a game-high 22 points, Samm Chandler added 16 and Kaylon Johnson had 10 in a 65-52 triumph over Madison.
The Cougars outscored Tess Harris (12 points) and the Patriots (13-4, 5-2) by a 26-11 margin in the fourth quarter.
“The kids really stepped up to get a really good win,” Mountain Heritage coach Susie Shelton said.
“They wanted to bounce back from that loss (Wednesday at home to Avery County). And they wanted to come together and win that one for Brianna. It was a great team effort.”
The Cougars still do not know the full extent of a knee injury that Woody suffered in the Avery County game. She did not play Friday night. Woody was last season’s Western Highlands Conference Player of the Year and has signed with North Greenville (S.C.).
Cherokee girls, Toineeta blow past Robbinsville
Cherokee’s girls are in complete control of the Big Smoky Mountain Conference.
Kendall Toineeta lit up Robbinsville for a season-high 35 points Friday night and Avery Mintz added 25 in a huge 85-79 win over visiting Robbinsville.
The Braves (14-1, 6-0) and Black Knights (8-5, 5-2) split last year’s BSMC regular-season championship. Cherokee has swept the series this go-around.
Cherokee jumped out to a 49-39 halftime lead on Friday and was able to withstand a combined 44 points from Robbinsville’s Amber Long (24) and Lynsey Crisp (20).
The Braves were No. 2 in the latest NCPreps.com 1-A poll and received six first-place votes this past week from statewide media.