by Chris Hunt
Lake Norman Charter took control of second place in the independent Piedmont Athletic Conference with an exciting 51-48 overtime victory over conference rival Matthews Grace Academy on Jan. 7. Senior A.J. Davis led the way with 15 points and was the only Knight in double figures, which has been a trend this season.
Lake Norman Charter (6-7) doesn’t have a player averaging more than eight points per game. Davis is the team’s leading scorer at 7.8 points per outing, while freshman Michael Dorsainvil (6.7), sophomore Alex Scearce (6.6) and senior Amr Saleh (6.2) are the only other players averaging more than five points per game.
With points a precious commodity, Lake Norman Charter coach Troy Simko has emphasized defense this season. Including the overtime victory over Grace Academy – which knocked the Lions back to third place – the Knights have held four of their last five opponents to fewer than 50 points a game.
Even in losses, the Lake Norman Charter defense still does its part. In a 36-23 loss to Highland Tech, an early look at a future league opponent when the Knights join the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference next fall, Lake Norman’s defense held leading scorers A.J. Mckenzie (18.3 points per game) and Jevon Patton (16.6) to fewer than five points each.
“We don’t have a go-to-guy, but we get after it on defense,” said Simko. “Our offense needs to feed off our defense. We have to get steals and score in transition.”
The Knights’ defense-first philosophy has proved effective in the PAC. In addition to Grace Academy, Lake Norman Charter has victories over Lincoln Charter, Pine Lake Prep and Covenant Classical. The Knights’ only loss is to PAC powerhouse Mint Hill Queen’s Grant, but they are averaging 41.7 points allowed in their four conference victories.
“We are doing well in the PAC,” said Simko. “We’re second only to Queen’s Grant and we still have the conference tournament to look forward to.”
Vikings win without Bremner
There was plenty of concern when North Mecklenburg shooting guard Carlin Bremner injured his ankle during the team’s holiday tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, Dec. 28-30. The Vikings figured it would be tough sledding returning to I-MECK 4A conference play without their leading scorer.
North Meck, however, won two key matchups since Bremner’s injury to remain tied with Mooresville for second place in the league. The Vikings downed Mallard Creek, 58-52, on Jan. 4 and Vance, 62-57, on Jan. 7. Forward Tahjai Watt collected 15 points and 14 rebounds against Vance. Point guard Shivaughn Wiggins added 14 points, four steals and four assists against the Cougars, while center Jermaine Forte chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds to help North Meck improve to 13-2, 4-1 in the I-MECK 4A.
The Vikings’ showdown for second place against Mooresville (11-3, 4-1) on Jan. 10 was postponed due to inclement weather. On Friday, Jan. 14, North Meck will travel to crosstown to rival Hopewell.