Panthers improve to 9-0, advance to tourney championship
SANFORD — Piedmont High’s boys basketball team advanced to the championship of the Lee County Christmas Tournament with a 71-56 semifinal victory over Northwood on Friday.
The Panthers, who are 9-0 on the season, take on either Jordan or host Lee County in the title game today at 8 p.m.
Brady Meggs, a senior forward, led Piedmont with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
The Panthers also got 17 points from junior forward Eli Hyatt and 15 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore forward Cameron Tripp.
Qualen Blakeney, a senior guard, added 12 points, eight assists and eight rebounds for Piedmont, which outscored Northwood 45-28 in the second half.
Northwood, which fell to 4-5 on the year, got 13 points, five assists and five steals from Aumad Walker.
Cavs avenge loss to Kinston
RALEIGH — After suffering its first loss of the season on Thursday, Cuthbertson bounced back with a thrilling 50-47 win over Kinston in a consolation game at the HSOT Invitational on Friday.
The Cavaliers (10-1) were coming off a heartbreaking 61-59 overtime loss to Hampton (Va.) in the opening round. Hampton is the defending 3A state champion in Virginia and features highly-recruited point guard Anthony Barber, who has committed to N.C. State.
Cuthbertson faced a familiar opponent in Kinston on Friday.
The Vikings defeated the Cavs in last season’s 2A state championship and looked well on their way to another win over CHS after building a 14-point halftime lead (38-24).
But the Cavs stormed back in the second half and went on to outscore Kinston 14-0 in the fourth quarter to rally for the victory.
Junior point guard Shelton Mitchell scored a game-high 19 points for Cuthbertson, which also got 10 points — all in the second half — from senior forward Isaiah Cureton.
Lucius McMillon, a senior forward, chipped in with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting for CHS. He also grabbed five rebounds.
Denzel Keyes scored 16 points to pace Kinston.
Cuthbertson plays Holly Springs for fifth place today starting at 11 a.m.
Patriots down Spartans
CONCORD — Independence rallied for a 54-49 victory over Sun Valley in the semifinals of the CMC-NorthEast Christmas Tournament on Friday.
The Spartans led 28-25 at the half, but the Patriots outscored in each of the final two quarters.
Independence improved to 6-4 on the season while Sun Valley fell to 6-6.
Senior forward Kendall Ratliff led the Spartans with 12 points.
Dequan Moody, a junior guard, added 10 points and made SV’s only two 3-pointers in the game.
Senior forward Isaiah Blanchett chipped in with nine points for the Spartans, who also got eight rebounds and six points from sophomore forward Hakeem Polk.
Sun Valley plays the loser of the Weddington/Cox Mill game for third place today starting at 5:30 p.m.
The second semifinal game between the Warriors and Chargers was still in progress when The E-J went to press. Independence plays the winner of that game in the championship today at 8:30 p.m.