CONCORD, N.C. — In the biggest moment of the season, West Charlotte’s seasoned team stepped up for Baronton Terry, giving the Lions a 62-50 victory over Jay M. Robinson for the Mecka regular season championship.
West Charlotte came out of the gates strong, frustrating Robinson’s young core early in the game with a stiff defense. The Bulldogs channelled the huge home crowd’s energy, finishing the first quarter on a high, rallying within two points at 13-11.
As the second quarter began, Daniel Spencer tied the game with a thunderous one-handed slam. As the quarter carried on, it became apparent that staying out of foul trouble would be pivotal in order to win the game, with both teams sitting starters early. With the game tied at 21, West Charlotte’s Malik Massey got some help from the rim on a 10-footer, giving the Lions the lead heading to the locker room. It was a lead West Charlotte would never relinquish.
West Charlotte controlled the pace in the third, putting the young Bulldogs back into foul trouble early, getting into the bonus just past the halfway mark in the quarter. West Charlotte’s press defense forced Robinson into several turnovers in their own end, allowing the Lions to take a 39-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jay M. Robinson’s super sophomore Lavar Batts, Jr. finally found his groove in the fourth, scoring 11 points in the final frame. Jordan McKenzie cut West Charlotte’s lead to 43-37 halfway through the final quarter, but the Lions didn’t allow Robinson to get any closer. Simeon Carter delivered the lethal blow to the Bulldogs with a ferocious slam to put West Charlotte up 58-50 with just 27 seconds to play.
Isiah Blackmon flashed his game down the stretch, scoring 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half. Massey also had a big second half, shooting a perfect six-for-six from the free throw line. West Charlotte’s ability to cash in from the stripe proved to be the difference, with the Lions draining 11 of 12 shots.
West Charlotte will enter next week’s conference tournament as the No. 1 seed, while Robinson falls in line third. North Meck finished No. 2 in the conference after defeating Mallard Creek on Thursday.