The Vikings defeated the Lions in a potential conference championship preview.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — In a highly anticipated Mecka showdown, North Meck handed West Charlotte its first loss of the 2014-15 season Tuesday, with the Vikings holding off the Lions 76-69.
North Meck’s C.J. Bryce stepped up his game in the second half, scoring 19 points down the stretch to guide North Meck (8-0, 2-0 Mecka) to the win.
West Charlotte opened the game exactly like they’d hoped to, jumping out to a fast 8-2 lead just three minutes into the game. Following a timeout, Duane Lewis’ club started chipping away at the Lions’ advantage, drawing within just one point at the end of the first quarter.
Nakia Rivers gave West Charlotte consistency at guard, leading the Lions offensively in the first half with 13 points. North Mecklenburg’s offense picked up the pace in the second quarter, outscoring West Charlotte 17-13. North Meck’s Davion Mintz put his stamp on the Vikings’ second quarter surge by closing the half with a thunderous baseline dunk, getting the home crowd on its feet and shaking the filled-to-capacity North Meck gym.
North Meck seized control of the momentum again early in the second half when Rivers went down awkwardly, holding his right knee. With Rivers missing, West Charlotte’s aggressive defense was missing its leader. North Meck’s Taj Middleton benefited greatly from Rivers’ absence, scoring all 11 of his points in the second half. When the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, things were looking bleak for West Charlotte’s hopes, as the Lions found themselves down 56-43.
West Charlotte got back in the game in the fourth with aggressive defense. The Lions forced North Meck into several mistakes, but were unable to capitalize on free throws. With less than a minute to go, Jalen Knight got West Charlotte within three at 69-66. With time running short, North Meck drained 7 of 10 free throws in the final minute to ice the game.
North Meck returns to Mecka action Thursday at rival Hopewell.