by Chris Hunt
On Feb. 23, the comeback story of the 2010-11 North Mecklenburg boys basketball team ended with a loss in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs. The Vikings faded in the final minutes of a tightly contested game, succumbing 55-45 to MEGA 7 3A/4A conference champion Olympic High, the No. 1 team in the Weekly Super 10 Boys Basketball rankings.
There were plenty of red eyes leaving the Vikings’ visiting locker room after the season-ending loss. The defeat marked the end for starters Carlin Bremner, Kenny Tucker, Karl Barkley and Jermaine Forte, all of whom are seniors. Bremner, an I-MECK 4A all-conference guard and a four-year varsity player, took the loss particularly hard.
“Of course it was sad because North Meck basketball has been one of the biggest parts of my life the past four years,” said Bremner. “It doesn’t hit you until you get in the locker room and realize this is the last time you are going to take this jersey off. But, we fought hard this year and out-did any expectations that we had for ourselves. I love every one of these guys and coaches on this team.”
The Vikings’ 92-42 rout of Indian Trail Porter Ridge in the first round on Feb. 21 was the program’s first playoff victory since 2008. After struggling to a 2-10 mark in the I-MECK 4A and failing to make the Class 4A state playoffs last winter, North Meck returned to form with a resurgent 22-6 record and a second-place finish in the league.
“Those kids can walk out of the locker room knowing that they got the program back to where it is supposed to be,” said North Mecklenburg coach Duane Lewis after the loss to Olympic. “The seniors had great careers and hopefully they left some traits for the underclassmen to come back stronger next year.
“It was a successful, refreshing, great group of guys,” continued Lewis. “All I heard (before the season) was the I-MECK was down and we weren’t going to be worth much. But you know what? Nobody thought we were winning 22 games but (our players).”