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Belmont Middle School Wildcats Vs. Bessemer City Middle School Tigers

The claws were out and the fur flew when the Belmont Middle School Wildcats and the Bessemer City Middle School Tigers football teams met up last week. In the end, the Wildcats scratched the daylights out of the Tigers 41-0. Meeeoww!

Photos by Calvin Craig
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Left to right: Chris Mingo, Mason Braswell, Claire Frank, Lexi Birtwistle, Maddie Frank, Davis Adcock, and Ruffin Johnson. Photo by Charlotte Sautner

South Point men’s and women’s cross country teams having great season

By Charlotte Sautner
At the Gaston County meet held on Tuesday, Sept. 13th at Forestview High School both teams finished first.  The men’s team was led by Mason Braswell who finished first with a time of 18:59.8.  Other South Point runners finishing in the top 10 were Davis Adcock, 3rd - 19:26.8; Ruffin Johnson, 4th - 19:45.4 and Chris Mingo, 9th - 21:03.3.  Leading the women’s team was Lexi Birtwistle who finished first with a time of 22:10.5.  Other runners from South Point Point who finished in the top 10 were Maddie Frank, 3rd - 23:34.5; Claire Frank, 5th - 24:83.6 and Rachel Tolbert, 9th - 24:59.7.
Both of South Point’s teams finished first at the Shelby Invitational held at Shelby High School on Tuesday, Sept. 20th.  In the Championship Boys 5000-meter run Mason Braswell finished 3rd with a time of 19:17.5 Finishing in the top 10 for South Point were Davis Adcock, 5th - 19:50.0; Ruffin Johnson, 9th - 20:19.0 and Chris Mingo, 10th - 20:21.0.
In the Open Boys 5000-meter run Elijah Murray finished second with a time of 24:08.8.  Others finishing in the top 10 for South Point were Alex Millspaw,3rd- 24:29.2; Dhruv Patel, 4th - 24:27.9 and Jack Fangman, 9th - 26:55.5.
In the women’s 5000 meter run those South Point runners finishing in the top 10 were Lexi Birtwistle, 3rd - 22:21.5; Maddie Frank, 4th - 23:56.80 and Claire Frank, 9th - 25:03.2.
Coach Ziemer says, “These kids have been training hard all season and are super motivated after winning the Gaston County championship last week.  We knew the Shelby course would be tougher this season due to some construction, but we came mentally prepared.  We came to win and that is what we did.  The friendships they have formed with each other and other school’s runners is refreshing to see.”
Congratulations to all the runners and to Coach Kay Ziemer for their outstanding showings.
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East Gaston High Warriors Vs. Cherryville High Ironmen

The East Gaston High Warriors football team hosted the Cherryville High Ironmen last Friday. It was East Gaston’s Homecoming game and Jaida Mistry, daughter of Christia and Nimesh Mistry, was named Queen. Oh, the Ironmen squad must have been rusty because the Warriors continued their winning streak by whupping them 38-0. See more on page 13.

Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Red Raiders and Warriors
win big in Week Six

By John Wilson
In Week Six high school football action the South Point Red Raiders and East Gaston Warriors both notched impressive wins while Stuart Cramer lost to Crest.

South Point 35
Hunter Huss 7
South Point has started the 2022 season strong. The Red Raiders move to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Big South conference play after trouncing the Huskies 35-7.
To notch the win South Point delivered a well-rounded offensive performance coupled with a solid defense effort.
Cam Medlock and Patrick Blee powered the Red Raiders offense.
Medlock continues to have what is turning into a good year. Against Huss the senior back ran for 143 yards off 25 carries with three touchdowns.
So far this season Medlock has rumbled for 644 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s averaging just a bit over 128 yd per game. Those are the kind of numbers South Point wants from their fullback.
Freshman quarterback Patrick Blee’s fairytale season continues. So far Blee is still holding his own. In the Huss game, Blee ran for 43 yards and a score. He went three for seven in the air with a TD and a pick. Blee’s lone TD pass of the game was a 19-yard third quarter toss to Harrison McKinney.
On defense continue to ramp it up. Five Red Raiders finished the game with double digit tackles.
Winter Kincaid, Chaynce Ford, Will Ross, Jack Milford and Jaquis Rumph all turned in top-tier efforts.
In addition to finishing the game with 11 stops, Jack Milford registered two sacks.
In his post-game comments head coach Adam Hodge kept it all simple and to the point.
  “Thought we played good,” Hodge said. “Need to get better every week.”

East Gaston 38
Cherryville 0
It was homecoming weekend at East Gaston and the Warriors gave the crowd something to cheer about. EG opened their big Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference schedule with a big 38-0 victory over Cherryville.
You could tell that this one was going to be all EG early on when the Warriors went up 10-0 in the first quarter after Shelden Clark scored off a blocked punt.
East Gaston took a 24-0 lead into the locker room at the half and kept the pressure on the Ironmen all night.
The Warrior offense played well against Cherryville. EG churned out 563 yards of total offense. Most of the yardage came from the ground game with the Warriors grinding out 378 rushing yards.
EG’s offensive work horse was Nehemiah Stovall. Stovall played well, finishing the night with 227 rushing yards and two TDs.
Junior QB Trenton Sherrill went 12 for 19 and 185 yards in the passing department. He also ran in a score from one yard out in the third quarter.
Another Warrior player to have a good game was Chase Johnson. Johnson had 13 carries for 101 yards and one catch for 55 yards.
Defensively, East Gaston shut Cherryville down. The Warrior  defense harassed the Cherryville quarterback all night and kept the Ironmen off the score board.
Noteworthy performances were turned in by Kirin Moebes and Payton Parker. Moebes finished the game with six tackles and a pair of sacks while Parker tallied four stops and two sacks.
“Thought we played well from the start in all three areas,” head coach JT Postell said.  “Offensively, probably the best we’ve executed, defensively, it was great to get a shutout, and I’m really proud of our special teams creating a score for us on the blocked punt.”
East Gaston is now 2-3 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

Crest 54
Stuart Cramer 28
A tough first quarter made all the difference in this one. Crest bolted out to a 30-7 first quarter lead and the Storm never recovered.
All season Justin Roquemore has been the prime mover for the Cramer offense. That didn’t change in this game. Roquemore ran for 80 yards and threw for another 191 yards and three touchdowns
Also having good games were running back Mark O’Dell and wide receiver Isaiah Johnson.
Johnson had 71 yards off seven catches and a touchdown while O’Dell ended the night with 59 yards and a score.
With the loss, Cramer dropped to 2-3, they are 0-2 in league action.
This week East Gaston, Cramer and South Point are set for more conference action.
Cramer will be at Ashbrook, while East Gaston will travel to Thomas Jefferson.
In the game of the week, South Point will host Crest in a game that is sure to shake up the Big South 3A standings.
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Belmont Middle School Wildcats Vs. Stanley Middle School Blue Devils

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats and Stanley Middle School Blue Devils football teams clashed last week. When the running and ruckus was over, the Wildcats had scratched out a big 29-0 win. Here are shots from the stupendous situation.

Photos by Calvin Craig
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East Gaston and Cherokee get ready for the coin toss. The symbols on the left side of the Braves players’ helmets mean “Cherokee” written in the Cherokee syllabary.

East Gaston outlasts Cherokee in 13-7 win

By John Wilson

There are a few things that can bring a high school sports team together like a road trip. Road trips are a sports rite of passage. A chance for a team to bond.
Last Friday the East Gaston Warriors football team took the bonding experience to the next level.
The team boarded a chartered bus and headed to The Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, for a non-conference game against the Cherokee Braves.
It was a long three-hour drive by direct route, but the Warriors stopped off at the Golden Corral in Hendersonville for their customary pre-game meal.
After lunch, the team loaded back up, hit I-40 West and continued on to Cherokee. The players and staff loved the charter bus. It sure beat the standard school buses the team normally takes to games.
“Can we do this all the time?” sports trainer Lauren Koontz joked. “This is awesome.”
As the EG bus rolled into the Cherokee area just after 5PM the realization of where they were sunk in. The team suffered a momentary delay when the bus had to stop to let a pair of elk cross the road about a mile from Cherokee Central School
When the team arrived at the stadium they unloaded and started to get ready. The atmosphere on campus was truly special. The school grounds are massive. The school system hosts grades K-12 all in one area. The community nature of the school makes the Friday night football games a big deal for everyone in Cherokee.
As the Warriors took the field for warmups the team was greeted with an assortment of Native American themed music blaring over the stadium PA. The music included local pow wow songs and a beat pounding techno number called Electric Pow Wow from the Canadian First Nations group The Halluci Nation.
The music set the tone. East Gaston was in the heart of Cherokee territory.
During warmups Cherokee head coach David Napert expressed how proud he was of his school and how happy he was that East Gaston had made the long trip.
“Anytime we get someone to come from far away it’s great,” coach Napert said. “This is one of the most beautiful schools I’ve ever worked in.”
While this game is special it wasn’t the first time these two teams met. Last year Cherokee travelled to Mt Holly to play in an exciting 35-26 East Gaston win.
Before heading back to prep his team coach Napert shared his respect for Warriors head coach JT Postell. Postell had coached in the mountains for years before coming to East Gaston and is still well thought of by all.
“My younger son Joe played for him,” Napert said of coach Postell. “He’s a great coach, but an even better person.”
After pregame wrapped up the players took the field and the game got rolling.
The Warriors received the opening kickoff and on their first possession moved all the way down to the Cherokee one-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
When the Braves got the ball, they pushed hard with a power running game
The first quarter ended scoreless with both teams were trying to figure each other out.
The first points of the game were scored early in the second when the Braves powered it in on a 3rd and goal from the EG one yard line
The Warriors quickly responded when Nehemiah Stovall took it to the house on a 50-yard shovel pass from Trenton Sherrill.
After a successful Tripp Abernathy PAT the score was tied up 7-7 with 6:27 on the clock in the second quarter.
For the rest of the second quarter the two teams battled to set the tone. EG with a diverse offensive set, and Cherokee with a strong running game.
Both teams hit the locker room with the score tied up 7-7.
At halftime the coaching staff went over game footage and made some adjustments.
Defensively the Warriors needed to figure out the Braves running game. On offense, EG needed to change things up a bit because the deep passing game wasn’t connecting.
Just before heading out to the field for the second half coach Postell summed, it all up.
“Offensively we need to execute when we have the opportunities,” Postell said. “Defensively we need to get off the field.”
When the second half opened up the Braves took the opening kickoff and went right back to the running game.
The Cherokee opening drive was killed when the Braves tried to catch the Warriors napping on a 4th down
See EAST GASTON, Page 11
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South Point Red Raiders
vs. Stuart Cramer

The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team crossed the CSX railroad tracks and made a trip to Stuart Cramer High last Friday evening where the Storm squad awaited. At the end of four quarters of grueling gridiron grunting, the Red Raiders ground out a gritty 47-14 win. Both teams gave it their maximum effort as these great pics by Calvin Craig attest.

See photos on page 9 of the Sept. 22, 2022 issue of Banner-News

Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders

South Point student-athletes
greet Belmont Central students

There was plenty of excitement on Friday, Sept. 2 at Belmont Central when students were greeted with high fives, fist bumps, and tons of positivity by student-athletes from South Point High School. Thank you, SPHS students for helping to brighten the morning. Everyone appreciates you and your coaches!   Gaston Schools photos
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Belmont Abbey photo/story

Slippery Rock slips by Abbey girl’s field hockey

The Belmont Abbey field hockey team wrapped up a season-opening stretch of three games in five days as the Crusaders faced Slippery Rock last Monday at Limestone.
It took overtime to decide the winner but it was Slippery Rock who came away with the 3-2 victory over the Crusaders.
Belmont Abbey is now 1-2 on the season while Slippery Rock is 1-1.
How It Happened- The Crusaders withstood some early pressure from Slippery Rock after facing four shots in the first quarter. Freshman Kaylee Wenzel (pictured) scored her first career goal in the second quarter to put the Crusaders up 1-0 before halftime. Slippery Rock scored two goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to take a 2-1 lead. Belmont Abbey pulled even at 2-2 in the third thanks to the first goal of the season from Jessica Rybicki off an assist from Wenzel. Belmont Abbey finished with eight shots for the game and five on goal.

Belmont Abbey photo/story
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Belmont Abbey photo/story

Abbey men’s soccer
battles Lees-McRae

The Belmont Abbey men’s soccer team opened Conference Carolinas play with a back-and-forth battle with Lees-McRae Wednesday evening at Alumni Field. The lead changed three times before ultimately ending in a 3-3 draw between the Crusaders and Bobcats.
Belmont Abbey moved to 1-3-1 on the season and 0-0-1 in conference play. Lees McRae is now 2-1-2 with an identical 0-0-1 mark in the league standings.
How It Happened- Lees-McRae got on the board first with a penalty kick in the 10th minute. The Crusaders responded with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute as Zion Duncan scored off an assist from Brett Ramsey to make it 1-1. Pa Njie scored his first Belmont Abbey goal with a penalty kick in the 27th minute. The Abbey took a 2-1 lead and would hold that going into halftime. The Bobcats pulled even at 2-2 with a goal in the 50th minute. Davis McBee earned his second goal of the season off a free kick in the 57th minute. Lees-McRae got a third goal in the 80th minute. Will Whitman made the start but Nikolaus Opel made his first appearance of the regular season in Wednesday’s contest. The goalkeepers accounted for two saves each. Belmont Abbey finished with nine shots total and five on goal. 

Belmont Abbey photo/story
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City of Belmont tennis classes

Belmont Parks and Rec. is offering tennis lessons. Tennis Pro, Jeremy Martin has a variety of youth tennis clinics available. To register, please go to his website,
You can also contact him at (704) 562-0273 or
Adult Tennis Clinic Schedule: Ladies Clinics (Beginner): Tuesdays from 12:00PM-1:00PM and Wednesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Adult Clinics (Beginner): Mondays from 6:00PM-7:00PM and Fridays from 5:00PM-6:00PM. Adult Clinics (Intermediate): Tuesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Adult Clinics (Advanced 4.0+): Thursdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Cardio Tennis (HIIT Style Tennis Workout): Thursdays from 7:00PM-8:00PM.
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Dover  named to NC Tennis Coaches Association All-State Men’s Tennis team 

South Point tennis player James Dover has been named to the North Carolina Tennis Coaches Association All-State Men’s Tennis team for 2022.  The Big South 3A Conference MVP wrapped up his freshman season with undefeated conference play in both singles and doubles and a final four finish at states in singles.  With this selection, Dover becomes the First Red Raider in school history, male or female, to be named All State in tennis. Go Big Red!!!!!!  James is the son of Amy and Stan Dover.                                                                 Photo provided
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East Gaston quarterback Trenton Sherrill poses with his mother, the late Jennifer Walker after a Warriors football game in April of 2021. Trenton credits his mother, who died in August of 2021 with being the biggest influence in his life. Photo provided

Do it for Jen

By John Wilson

The bond between a parent and their child is something special. It’s one of those things that define human existence.
Even when a parent passes away, all the talks, the life lessons, and wisdom that they imparted on their child will remain.
Such is the case with 16-year-old East Gaston quarterback Trenton Sherrill and his mother Jennifer Walker.
Trenton had a special relationship with his mother. The two were close, very close.
Sadly, Trenton’s mother passed away suddenly after a brief illness on August 20, 2021.
Jennifer’s passing came fourteen hours before Trenton was set to take the field as the Warriors were set to play the North Gaston Wildcats in the season opener.
How Trenton dealt with that loss in the hours after his mother’s death is a testament to the values Jennifer Walker taught to her son.
To Trenton Sherrill, his mother was a steadfast fixture in his life. She was his rock. Someone he could always count on. Someone he could talk to about just about anything.
“She was my right-hand person no matter what,” Trenton recalled. “We knew everything about each other. We talked and texted back and forth every day.”
Trenton credits his mother, a Pre-K teacher at Springfield Elementary School, with always teaching him and his brothers Jordan and Brandon the importance of doing the right thing.
Jennifer wanted her sons to grow up and be decent people. In the case of Trenton, she did her best to keep her son grounded as he excelled in high school sports earning varsity letters in football and basketball.
Jennifer taught Trenton humility and the value of hard work. She instilled in him how important it is to never forget where you came from.
“She would always tell me to remember where I started,” Trenton added. “Then to look at where I am now.”
If you go around any high school campus you will find that most everyone knows who the school’s student athletes are. They tend to garner a lot of attention. Some more than others.
That attention brings with it a unique set of rewards and pitfalls.
For the most part most people are kind and decent. However, at times others can be downright hateful.
The popularity of social media has only magnified the good and the bad.
Jennifer Walker taught her son to be gracious when complimented and polite when exposed to pettiness.
“She wanted me to be the bigger person,” Trenton said. “She always said kill them with kindness.”
So, it with that backdrop that Trenton found his world had changed on that August morning of last year.
How people choose to deal with the loss of a loved one differs from person to person.
In the case of Trenton Sherrill, he decided that he would share his grieve on the field with his teammates.
“I owed it to her,” Trenton said explaining his decision to play. “She would not have wanted me to miss it.”
There is no telling what ran through Trenton’s mind as he worked out his emotions in front of hundreds of screaming spectators.
However, the magnitude of the moment really hit him when the Warriors were driving deep into Wildcat territory hoping to score.
“We were inside the red zone when coach called a running play for Justin Hill,” Trenton recalled. “I remembered that Justin and my mom used to kid around a lot. So, when we walked up to the line I told Justin, ‘Do it for Jen,’ That’s what he called her.”
Trenton took the snap and handed the ball off to Hill and watched as Justin took it around the right side and punched it in for an East Gaston touchdown.
It was at that moment that Trenton knew that he had made the right call in deciding to play.
In an unscripted instant in time not only was Trenton honoring his mother, but his teammates were also honoring her as well.
Trenton handled it all with class and dignity. He also turned in a fantastic performance leading the Warriors to a big 51-0 opening day win.
These days Trenton never stops thinking about his mother. She is still, and always will be a big part of his life.
When asked what he would say to his mom if they had a minute to talk Trenton takes the question in and thinks for a moment. Then with a gleam in his eye he responds.
“I talk to her all the time,” He explained. “I would tell her I’m okay. I’m going to keep being okay, and I’m going to make sure that everyone that was here when she passed will be okay.”
Trenton’s response shows the impact his mom had on his life. He will go on, just like Jennifer would have wanted him to.
Since he’s only a junior, Trenton still has a lot of high school yet. But when he looks at all the possibilities that lay before him, he has a positive outlook.
“I want to be successful in whatever I choose to do,” Trenton went on to say. “If it’s sports or going to college and getting some kind of a degree.”
Anyone who happens to get a chance to talk to Trenton will likely come away from the conversation with the belief that he is a remarkable young man.
You also can’t help but notice something else. Something subtle, yet very special.
As Trenton talks about his mother, it becomes clear that before she died Jennifer Walker prepared her son for the road ahead.
Despite enduring such a horrible loss, it looks like Trenton Sherrill really will be okay. Trenton will be alright because in the end he will never be alone.
As Trenton makes his way in the world, he will be taking the best parts of his mother with him every step of the way.
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Mt. Holly Middle School Hawks

The Mt. Holly Middle School Hawks girls’ softball team is having a great start to their season. One of their victories was a 14-1 win over Grier Middle.
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The South Point Dance Team does its part to get the student section of Lineberger stadium motivated. The student section features some of the most colorful fans as each week the students have a different theme. Photos by John Wilson

Red Raiders move to 3-0 in game
honoring vets and first responders

(See more photos on page 11 in this week's Banner-News, Sept. 8, 2022)

By John Wilson

South Point athletics has a long history of honoring those that choose to serve.
That tradition continued when the football team designated Friday night’s game against R-S Central Military and First Responder Appreciation Night.
Veterans, active-duty military, police, fire, and EMS personnel were all admitted to the game for free.
Fans were treated to a host of static displays arrayed inside of Lineberger Stadium. The displays included various emergency vehicles and some military equipment.
South Point came into this game undefeated at 2-0 while the Hilltoppers rolled in with a 1-1 record.
A pre-game review of the stats going into this one proved interesting.
On paper, the matchup between the Red Raider defense and the Hilltopper offense looked to be one to watch. Which unit controlled the line of scrimmage would
probably determine who had the upper hand.
R-S Central runs a high-octane triple option offense that has put up 76 points in two games. On the other side of the coin the South Point defense has only allowed 19 points in two games.
When you flip the script and match up the Central defense against the Red Raiders Redbone things didn’t look so rosy for the Hilltoppers.
Like Central, the South Point offense has also put up 76 points in two games. However, the Hilltopper defense has yet to prove that they can stop anyone. In two games they’ve given up 76 points.
Before the players took the field there was a lot of energy in the stadium. Yet, 15 minutes before the game the atmosphere in the South Point locker room was subdued.
Instead of getting pumped up players and coaches sat in quiet reflection or in small groups going over last-minute adjustments. You could say that it was reminiscent of the quiet before the storm.
However, by the time the players left the locker room they were ready to rumble.
As part of the pre-game program all active-duty military, veterans and first responders were asked to come on to the field and assemble along the South Point sideline to be honored.
As the team entered the field the players along with the coaches, cheerleaders and members of the dance team all came to the sidelines and personally thanked each and every vet and first responder for coming.
For this game the Red Raiders donned the black and grey camouflage jerseys they first wore in the 2019 Patriotism Bowl.
Just before kickoff the Red Raiders asked retired Trooper Chris Wooten to be an honorary captain at the coin toss at mid-field.
As the pre-game activity came to an end the student section of the stadium started to get fired up. Everyone was ready for some football.
The game started a bit slow with the Red Raiders only up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second things began to open up as South Point took control of the line of scrimmage and started to dictate which way the game would go.
Throughout the second quarter the Red Raider offense pushed Central all over the field.
On the other side of the ball the South Point defense did a good job containing what should have been a potent Hilltopper offensive unit.
The Central offense tried to take on the Red Raiders. They hit South Point on the ground and in the air. Yet no matter what the Hilltoppers did they just couldn’t get any traction.
In a nutshell, R-S Central got no breaks, even the South Point special team units pummeled them.
If you could have summed up Central woes in one play it would have come late in the second quarter when senior Will Ross fielded a punt at mid-field and took it 57 yards for a score.
South Point went into the half up 35-0.
In the third quarter the Red Raiders started to rotate players yet still scored another touchdown to make it 42-0
The Hilltoppers scored twice in the fourth, but that proved to be a case of too little too late.
In the end South Point would leave the field with a big 42-14 win and a 3-0 record.
Looking back at how things worked out head coach Adam Hodge was good with the effort he saw.
“It was a lot like last week,” Hodge said. “A lot of kids got to play. We looked good offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
Up until the game against Central, the South Point punting game had seen limited action. This game provided the Red Raiders with a chance to give that unit some work.
“I don’t like to punt,” coach Hodge went on to say. “But I like that we punted the ball well. Aiden Ramirez did really well.”
Several players turned in noteworthy performances for the Red Raiders.
Cam Medlock showed that he is a classic South Point fullback. Medlock ran hard and kept moving forward every time he carried the ball.
Medlock had 16 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with an impressive 7.5 yard per carry average.
After a solid performance last week against East Gaston, freshman quarterback Patrick Blee showed that he may not be a one hit wonder. Blee delivered a solid performance for Big Red finishing with 81 yards off seven carries and going two for two through the air with a touchdown.
Another special teams standout was kicker Charlie Birtwistle. Birtwistle was Mr. Automatic going six for six on PAT attempts.
All in all, this turned out to be an awesome event. The crowd at Lineberger Stadium was treated to not just a good football game, but an evening that proved to be so much more.
It’s no secret that today we live in a nation divided. People with opposing views struggle to find ways to communicate with each other. Yet on this night there was no division. A real sense of unity hung in the air.
It was truly special to see people take a moment to come together for more than just a football game. It was nice to see folks from all walks of life take time to honor those that have given up so much so that a night like this was possible.
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East Gaston Warriors JV Vs.  Stuart Cramer Storm JV

The East Gaston Warriors JV and Stuart Cramer Storm JV football teams collided last Thursday. When the dust settled, the Warriors had pulled off a 14-12 win. Here are some scenes from the scintillating action. 

Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Stuart Cramer Storm
vs. East Gaston Warriors

The Stuart Cramer Storm varsity football team traveled to East Gaston last Friday to play the Warriors. In a hard-fought tussle, the Storm dampened the Warriors 27-21. Here are some action-packed pics from the gridiron grind.

See more photos on page 9 of this week's Banner News (September 8, 2022)

Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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Belmont Middle vs Grier
on the football field

The Belmont Middle School football team hosted the Grier Middle School Knights last week in the Wildcat’s home opening game. In the end, the Wildcats scratched out a 19 to 6 victory. Here are some great photos from the football frenzy.

See more photos on page 7 of Belmont Banner September 8, 2022 issue.

Photos by
Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football squad met Southwest Middle last week and ended up with a 10-8 win thanks to a field goal with 11 seconds to go in the game. The Wildcats ended Southwest’s 31 game winning streak. The kicker who won the game was Tanner Layman. The earlier touchdown was scored by Jeremiah Holt who had a pick-six and returned the ball for 67 yards for the earlier score. Photos by Calvin Craig

Belmont Middle School Wildcats
wins 10-8 against t Southwest Middle 

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football squad met Southwest Middle last week and ended up with a 10-8 win thanks to a field goal with 11 seconds to go in the game.  The Wildcats ended Southwest’s 31 game winning streak.  The kicker who won the game was Tanner Layman. The earlier touchdown was scored by Jeremiah Holt who had a pick-six and returned the ball for 67 yards for the earlier score.  

Photos by Calvin Craig
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The South Point Red Raiders football team hosted the East Gaston Warriors last Friday. Storm clouds swirled pregame, but the show went on and in the end the Red Raiders emerged with a 48-6 victory. Here are some great shots from the enthralling evening. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

In week two football action South Point and Cramer win big

By John Wilson

High school football is back and let’s just say the local action has already started off with a bang.
In Week One South Point and East Gaston won big in their openers. East Gaston topped North Gaston 28-8 while the Red Raiders outpaced the Lincolnton Wolves 28-13.
Stuart Cramer had a wild home opener but fell short 47-35 in a shoot-out against Bunker Hill.
Despite the loss Storm quarterback Justin Rocquemore played well.
Roquemore finished the evening with 341 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.
In Week Two action the pace of play didn’t slow down as East Gaston and South Point faced off while Cramer traveled to Bessemer City to take on the Yellow Jackets.

East Gaston
at South Point
Rivalry games are always special, and the rivalry between South Point and East Gaston goes back for decades. Yet you would have to go back to 2008 to find the last time the Warriors beat the Red Raiders on the gridiron.
When the gates opened there was a buzz in the air as a big crowd filed into Lineberger Stadium for South Point’s Black Friday/Senior Night.
Many on the East Gaston side of the stadium were cautiously optimistic. There was hope that with the progress the Warriors had made in the last few years this might be the game where the streak ended.
There were other reasons for Warrior fans to feel good about this one.
Injuries forced the Red Raiders to go with freshman quarterback Patrick Blee under center.
However, as the game unfolded it soon became clear East Gaston would have to wait another year if they hoped to break the streak.
South Point jumped out to an early 27-0 halftime lead. EG fought hard but the Warriors just couldn’t hold back the Red Raider onslaught.
By the third quarter South Point started to pull their starters and put other players in.
The Red Raiders racked up 425 yards of total offense as they walked away with a big 48-6 win.
“I thought we played well in all phases,” head coach Adam Hodge said. “Offensively we played really well. Then on defense we looked good. It was a good team win.”
Frosh QB Patrick Blee sure did his part. By all accounts Blee did a solid job executing the offense and avoiding mistakes.
The freshmen ended the game with 109 yards off seven carries and two touchdowns. He also tossed a 46-yard second quarter touchdown strike to Aaron Chaney.
When asked about Blee’s performance coach Hodge was straight and to the point.
“I thought he handled the moment well,” Hodge noted. “A freshman quarterback on Black Friday/Senior Night. It was a packed house.”
Other top performers for South Point included fullback Cam Medlock, safety Will Ross and defensive end Aiden Ramirez
Medlock ran for 152 yards and a pair of TDs while Ross led the Red Raiders in tackles with nine stops.
Ramirez was a turnover machine snaring two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Overall, it was a good weekend for both the varsity and JV football programs as the Red Raider JV beat EG 40-6 on Thursday.
“We have 104 players in our football programs including JV,” coach Hodge went on to say. “All got to play Thursday and Friday. Everyone that suited up got to play and I thought that was great.”

Stuart Cramer
at Bessemer City
Starting the season off on the right track is what every team strives for at the beginning of the year.
After a tough loss to Bunker Hill the Storm bounced back strong rolling past Bessemer City 48-28 in a non-conference matchup.
In this one, the Cramer offense was on fire as the Storm burned out 520 yards in total offense.
Senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore had a record setting day going 21 for 29 with 387 yards and seven touchdowns. Rocquemore threw TD passes to five different receivers.
Rocquemore’s seven touchdowns tied the county record and set a new mark at Cramer.
Cramer’s top receiver against Bessemer City was Tyler Ward. Ward ended the night with an impressive eight catches, 132 yards and three scores.
Another player who had a good night was sophomore running back Mark O’Dell.
The 5’11” 190 pound back ran hard. He also showed that he has no problem catching passes out of the backfield.
O’Dell rushed for 74 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
While the offense was churning out yardage the Storm defense held their own
Bessemer City put up some decent stats but the Storm defense held the line.
Cramer’s top defensive players were Daimean Fernandez and Lavonte McCorbin. Fernandez had 17 tackles on the night while McCorbin finished up with 14.
Looking back at the game head coach Ben McMillan was satisfied with the win, but he also saw areas the team needs to work on.
“I’m proud of the way our guys bounced back from last week,” McMillan said. “We had some new guys step in and other step up for some guys that were out. We also gave the ball up a few times that led to scores and we have to correct that.”
This week East Gaston hosts Cramer while South Point will be home at home against R-S Central.
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2022 Fall Football Outlook

See Special Section in this week's  Banner-News (August 25, 2022)
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Abbey Crusader soccer players team up with Belmont Parks and Rec.

The City of Belmont Parks and Recreation soccer program recently teamed with  Belmont Abbey Men’s Soccer Crusaders players who shared their talents and skills for an hour to help “kick start” the 2022 Fall Season, Thanks  to the volunteer coach staff who came for training and to the Abbey and to all the parents who came out so their kids could be a part of this wonderful preseason soccer clinic.
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South Point High men’s
soccer team receives award

Story by Charlotte Sautner
The NCHSAA Scholar Athlete Program is a voluntary program sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s “Click It or Ticket.” It recognizes varsity teams and individual athletes for their excellence in the classroom. To be a scholar athlete team, the team must maintain a 3.1 unweighted grade point average for the designated semester and have at least five members.
The NCHSAA presents a plaque to the top team in each sport, based on an unweighted team GPA. The top three teams in each sport are recognized. With an unweighted GPA of 3.868, the South Point High School men’s 2021-2022 soccer team was named the top NCHSAA Scholar Athlete for their sport. They had the highest grade point average of all the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s men’s soccer teams nominated for the award. This is the tenth South Point team to be named the state NCHSAA Scholar Athlete team in their sport.  The other teams were Women’s Cross Country (2002-03), Men’s Cross Country (2005-06), Men’s Swimming and Diving (2008-09), Men’s Tennis (2010), Women’s Golf (2010 and 2012), Men’s Cross Country (2012-13 and 2013-14), and Men’s Basketball (3,705).
The members of this year’s NCHSAA State Scholar Athlete men’s soccer team are Ronald Baker, Charles Birtwistle, Andrew Cheshire, Aiden Crill, Ethan Crosby, Henry Eisenhuth, Domenic Feduniec, Noah Gosnell, Colin McAlister, Carson McClure, Ian McGinnis, Cole Miller, Dylan Nicks, Conner Proud, Emilio Saiz, Henry Southard, Aidan Tobin, Graham Williams, Garett Ziemer.
Kent Hyde, South Point Athletic Director wrote this about this team.  “These young men are indicative of the quality of kids at South Point.  They work as hard in the classroom as well as on the field. “
Coach Baity said that “one of the biggest things about this team is their hard work and their competitive nature, not just on the soccer field, but in the classroom.  I am very proud of their many accomplishments on the field and off the field.”
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Gaston Christian School Girls Volleyball action

The Gaston Christian School Varsity girls volleyball played in a scrimmage at Kings Mtn High School last week. The team played five schools in the public school system and finished with three wins and two ties.                                                                                               GCS photos
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Harry Adams

Winning words: Harry Adams explains his success

By Kathy Blake
Harry Adams started a girls AAU basketball league in Mount Holly in 1995. He was coaching at Mount Holly Junior High and wanted some of his athletes to play at the next rung, so he combined some of his team with girls a friend coached in Charlotte.
Someone donated jerseys.
“I wasn’t aware how much it cost. We just jumped into it,” he says.
The team played a Regionals in North Wilkesboro, the first step toward the state tournament in Raleigh and national championships. It didn’t go well:
“I talked to a guy who ran the Wilkes Diamonds program, and he explained that this is a whole different level.”
Adams wasn’t going to let history repeat.
He found gyms to practice in – Mount Holly and Stanley schools, the Mount Holly city gym and, through a friend, Temple Baptist Church in Gastonia. He reworked his program and coached AAU for 25 years.
He won three national championships.
Along the way, he also coached girls basketball at Mount Holly and Stanley middle schools, varsity girls at Gaston Day and Gaston Christian, and basketball, baseball and football at Mount Holly Junior High.
Now, at age 71, his work as a coach and his contributions to the town have Adams being honored in the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame with the Community Spirit Award.
“It’s really humbling. In my life, you never think something like this could happen and you never know when you start how things will work out, how God will make it work out,” he says, “but you do what you do, and that’s where my heart was.”
Adams sees his athletes as people first, ballplayers second.
“If you can look in a mirror and say ‘I did my best,’ that’s good enough for me as a coach. I was able to win with a lot of kids with that presentation, and I was genuine with it. And that’s the winning piece, when they know you’re real,” he says. “Kids are smart and they can see through the fluff, but when you come in the gym every day and they see you’re the same person, they will play their hearts out for you.”
Actions may speak louder than words, but words can be influential and powerful.
Listen to some philosophies from Adams.
On coaching:
“It’s something that I think has to be a God-given gift to work with kids like that because you have to be committed and you have to give up a lot in order to do it. I got gratitude out of seeing kids get better. They come out and try to get a grasp of what’s going on, but if they work hard they can get better. Oh, they may not be the best, but if you love what you do, you can get better.”
On being a leader:
“Everybody who came into our program, I sat with the parent and the child and said this is a team organization, and all our players are not on the same level but we play as a team. If you have any questions, don’t ask anyone else, ask me. I tell them that so there wouldn’t be any junk, and I was able to be successful. I know how things can be when you deal with kids, so everything went through me. You want to blame someone? Blame me. And it works.”
On players who aren’t their team’s best:
“It’s a learning tool for them. Be patient. Great athletes are easy to coach, but when a kid comes along who isn’t that great, it’s a lesson. I pride myself in trying to get that kid to grow as an athlete and as a person. You don’t just throw that kid out and get someone better to play, you develop that kid.”
On player mistakes and last-second losses:
“I can’t tell you how many times, in a critical game… A kid knows when they should have done something and it didn’t work out, and you have to let them know it’s not the end of the world and that’s not what this is about. You have to leave it where it is, because there’s another game tomorrow and you might hit the winning shot. This is a team thing. No one’s going to blame you because you missed the last shot. That’s not what defines you.”
On education:
“You can’t play for me unless you have an A-B average. Education is important. If you don’t have grades, you can’t go anywhere with a sport. I put that out in front of my parents and my kids, and a lot of parents didn’t like it, but I think education is important. Only a very small percentage become professional athletes.”
One season, he says a team missed going to a championship because of a missed layup:
“In that split second, when you find out it didn’t happen, you think it’s going to stay with you until next year when you come back. But you have to take that, along with the glorious parts, and learn from it. We didn’t play win-at-all-costs. It’s about winning and learning about life. That’s the important part. Because, after basketball there is life. When basketball is over, you have to start living life.”
His AAU team was headed to Tampa for the National Championships in 2006 when Adams hurt his back doing landscaping at his home. His son took him to a doctor, who told Adams not to get on the airplane.
“I coached from a chair the whole time, and we won the national championship that year. I was in the chair, and the kid hit the winning shot, and I came out of that chair and was jumping up and down. It was one of the highlights of my career, seeing those kids win on a big stage. It was just the adrenaline that got me up. My assistant coach, he was 6-foot-7 and I’m 5-foot 6, and he set me right back down. For a group of girls from a small town to go down there, where people didn’t give them a chance .. and we won.”
Adams graduated from Mount Holly High in 1971.
He and his wife, Rita, have two sons, Marquis and Terrell, and he coached them when they played youth basketball and football, in addition to his work with AAU and schools.
This July, he retired. Some former players still come visit him. He says he gets wedding invitations, and baby announcements, in the mail.
“It’s a real blessing,” he says, “when you see the kids again and they acknowledge what you did for them. It’s so gratifying. You can’t put a price on it.”
Harry Adams
1995-2020: Mount Holly Stars AAU girls basketball
2005: 11-Under AAU Division II National Champion
2006: 11-Under USSA National Champion
2007: 12-Under USSA National Champion
Public schools:
2011-2012: Gaston Day School (24-3)
2010-2011: Gaston Day School (14-8)
2008: Gaston Christian School (12-2)
2003-2004: Stanley Middle School (2004 – 12-0, county champions)

The 2022 Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held on August 20 at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex at 6pm. Doors open at 5. Tickets are available at Moose’s Pharmacy and David’s Detailin, and online at
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Gaston College hires title-winner from
South Point as its new cross country coach

Gaston College didn’t have to look far for its new cross country coach.
The Rhinos, whose 2021 cross country team was the school’s first athletic team in 50 years, have hired title-winning South Point High coach Kody Kubbs as their second head coach.
Kubbs replaces Jamie Rosser, who in May was promoted from Gaston College’s associate basketball coach and head cross country coach to head basketball coach.
Kubbs, 37, has guided Belmont Middle School and South Point High School to cross country, basketball and track championships during his 16-year Gaston County coaching and teaching career and will remain at South Point as a teacher and boys basketball head coach.
“The idea of getting college experience, building a program and getting the support Gaston College is giving to athletics is really attractive for me,” Kubbs said. “There’s a real buy-in to the athletic program from the school administration and the resources they’ve provided.”
A 2003 graduate of Watkins Memorial High School in Pataskala, Ohio, Kubbs came to North Carolina after graduating from Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, in 2007.
His impact on the Belmont Middle School program was immediate as his first Wildcats basketball won the 2008 conference regular season title and his first girls track team won its division title.
After four years at Belmont with one Gaston County basketball title, three girls track division titles and two boys track division titles, Kubbs was hired as South Point’s boys basketball coach and, two years later, became the Red Raiders’ boys and girls cross country coach.
Over the last 12 years at South Point, Kubbs has become the winningest basketball coach in Red Raiders’ history with 133 victories. He also guided the school to its farthest playoff advance in school history in 2017 and its first regular season boys conference title in school history in 2018.
In cross country, Kubbs’ teams have won two boys conference championships and three girls conference championships and he has been honored as his league’s coach of the year five times. The three girls titles have come in the last four seasons.
His goal at Gaston College is to help the Rhinos become a competitive force in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 10.
“I’m excited about what the program can be,” Kubbs said. “We’ve got two coming back from the first team. Since I’ve coached in the area during the last 10 years and have a lot of connections, I know there’s some really talented runners in this area.
“We’ve got to get them to come out and keep running in college.”
Kubbs’ returnees from Gaston College’s 2021 team are Victoria Perez, a 2020 graduate of Gastonia’s Highland Tech, and Rein Norton-Small. Perez was the Rhinos’ individual medalist in all four meets last fall.
Kubbs is looking to field a roster of 10 to 12 runners - five is necessary for Gaston College to have a team score - and has already worked on arranging a schedule that will start in early September. As a second-year program, the Rhinos will be eligible to compete for NJCAA national and Region 10 honors.
“It’s going to be a challenge to get the program off the ground,” Kubbs said. “But with the talent in the area, I’m excited about what we can do and the possibilities of it.”

Gaston Braves action...

The Gaston Braves American Legion baseball team continued their march through the playoffs last week with victories over Shelby and Cleveland County. Here are some scenes from that series.  

Photos by Wendy Simmons

City of Belmont Fall Sports and Program Offerings

Belmont Parks and Recreation will be wrapping up Fall sports registration within the next couple of weeks so be sure to get registered! Participants can register either online at or in the parks and rec office, located at 1401 E. Catawba St.
Belmont Parks and Rec also has Fall dance registration and gymnastics registration open. Dance can register online or in the office and gymnastics participants must register at the parks and rec office.
Belmont Senior Gad Abouts offers fun outings for those ages 55 and older! Meet new friends and go to fun, different places every Wednesday! Please call 704-825-8191 with any questions.
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Cramerton golf event planned

This year’s Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is partnering with Cramerton and their Historical Society to host the Cramerton Legacy of Golf Tournament on July 29, 2022, at the Cramer Mountain Club.
The format this year allows for two groups of 72 golfers to participate with both an AM and an afternoon shotgun start.
If you are interested in being a sponsor, review your opportunities for this year’s inaugural event at the website,
If you have questions, please call the MACC at 704-825-5307. You can also email:, or Doug Glenn with the Cramerton Historical Society,
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Belmont Abbey women’s team
earns All-Academic Team distinction

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the 2022 Division II ITA Scholar-Athletes and All-Academic Teams recently with the Belmont Abbey women’s team earning the All-Academic Team distinction. In addition, seven women’s tennis players were named scholar-athletes.
In order to be named an All-Academic Team, programs must have a team grade point average of 3.2 or above (on a 4.00 scale), all student-athletes included should be listed on the institutional eligibility form, and all varsity letter winners should be factored into the cumulative team GPA for the current academic year.
To be name an ITA Scholar-Athlete, student-athletes must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year and be listed on the institutional eligibility form. The Crusaders were one of six teams from the conference to earn the All-Academic Team honors and 29 additional student-athletes were named ITA Scholar-Athletes.
Belmont Abbey scholar-athletes include- Lily Aranyos, Carlie Davis, Hannah Farmer, Daniella Galeano, Frankee Hendricks, Reagan Sommariva, Anna Steiner.
Belmont Abbey photo/story

Gaston Braves finish regular season

Action shots from Gaston Braves games. (Photos by Wendy Simmons)

By Art Shoemaker
The Gaston Braves have just completed a very successful 2022 regular season. The Braves have compiled an overall 12-3 won-loss record.
There are four divisions in N.C. and the Braves play in area which comprises the western part of the state. Area  is split into two divisions with the Braves competing in the east division of area . In division play the locals finished with a 10-2 record which was good enough for second place in the first round of play. The Queen City Mustangs finished in first place with only one loss.
The Braves were responsible for this loss as the Braves split the two-game series with the Charlotte nine. Fewer regular season games were played this season as Lincoln Co, Pineville and Statesville either dropped out or did not field a team.
The Gaston Braves are comprised of players from the following high schools: South Point, East Gaston, Stuart Cramer, Highland, Gaston Christian, East Lincoln and Lincolnton.
However, many of the top players from these schools play travel baseball. The reason given for travel baseball is to enhance the opportunity to obtain a college baseball scholarship. In the opinion of many, for the most part, playing travel baseball does not assure a baseball scholarship.
College coaches are aware of the talent level of the majority of players. Most likely the level of success in high school competition determines a players opportunity to play baseball at the college level.
Additionally, travel baseball comes at a cost of several thousand dollars a season and requires an additional cost of hotel expenses, meals and travel cost as most games are played out of state.
Also, many family members and most local fans miss the opportunity to see these players perform as mentioned these games are played in distant locations.
On the other hand, American Legion baseball is very strong in North Carolina and there is no cost involved for the players to play. But it should be noted, in most cases, the cost of travel baseball far outweighs what scholarship money is available for these players as most colleges have a limited amount of money available for baseball scholarships.
Getting back to the Braves, Parker Agosta, Hunter Reavis, Chase Stewart, and Ethan Simmons have pitched well during the 2022 season. Leading hitters included Logan Agosta, Caleb Burr, Julian Hall, and Daniel McCellan.
The playoffs for area begin July 2 with opponents being determined at a July 1 meeting.
Coach Kenneth Paysour has been very pleased with this year’s team. Paysour commented that hitting has been adequate. He also stated that pitching will determine how far the team can advance in playoff competition. Coach Paysour added that this has been a good group of players to coach. Paysour says the team has played and pulled together and have displayed a team-first attitude all season.
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Belmont Elementary
Girls on the Run

Hats off to the girls from North Belmont Elementary who took part in the recent Girls on the Run event in Gastonia. Great job, ladies!
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Gaston Christian School student Anderson Hudson is proud of his ring as this photo shows. His team place 2nd place Raptors baseball. He also hit a homerun. Congratulations to Sanderson and his team.
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Congratulations to the Pinewood Elementary School Dueling Porcupines Robotics Team

Congratulations to the Pinewood Elementary School Dueling Porcupines Robotics Team for an amazing RoboGaston showing in the Gaston Schools Robo Competition. They placed First in the Robot Runs. Everyone is proud of these students and their amazing coaches, Ms. O’Bryon, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Bryant, and Mrs. Taylor.
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Congratulations to Cramerton
Middle School Eagle Teams

Congratulations to the two Cramerton Middle School Eagles teams who took part in the recent Robotics Competition. They both scored high honors with the Box Cops team winning the Overall 1st place Middle School Award.
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Congratulations to the North Belmont Elementary School
5th Graders

Congratulations to the North Belmont Elementary School 5th Graders for winning the countywide Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader competition. Thank you to their partners of East Gaston Rotary for an amazing night.
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Belmont Middle School Robotics Team Placed First

Congratulations to the Belmont Middle School Robotics Team, the Cargo Cats. They placed 1st in Teamwork May 14 at the RoboGaston competition. Everyone at BMS is proud of all of their hard work!                                                                                                    Gaston Schools photo
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Mt. Holly Middle School Robotics Team 1st Place Winners

Congratulations to the Mt. Holly Middle School Robotics Team for winning 1st Place  in Project Presentation and for being awarded the Gracious Professionalism Award out of 39 teams at the recent countywide Robotics Competition.

GCS takes 4 state titles
in Track and Field

Gaston Christian School hosted the NCISAA 3A track meet on May 20th and 21st. They hosted 15 teams from all over North Carolina.  Gaston Christian received 4 state titles. Trinity Hall won states in discus. Madi Freeman won states in shotput Abbey Ford, Julia Ramsey, Gabby Comery and Olivia Van Pelt won states in the 4x100 & 4x200 meter relays. Congratulations to GCS Ladies Track and Field team. Thanks to coaches: Jason Moore, James Ford, Dee Lester, Julian Smallwood & Shameka Gordon.

Belmont Parks and Recreation Jr. Golf

It’s “Hang Time!” for almost forty Belmont Parks and Recreation Department Jr. Golf program participants.
For 18 years, this popular youth golf program is again in full swing for the summer.
Junior golfers for kids ages 6-13 have been meeting up twice a week on Mondays and Tuesdays at Hangtime Golf Range at 3119 South New Hope Rd, Gastonia. A big thank you to the Belmont Abbey College Golf staff instructors and to Hangtime Golf Range for being a corporate sponsor and accommodating the program. For more info on how you can get involved, reach Brian McGonagle at
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Lady Red Raiders soccer action...

The South Point High Lady Red Raiders soccer team traveled to Lake Norman Charter School last week for the semi-final championship game. When all the kicking was concluded, South Point came up short 5-1. However… the team finished the season 23-1 and they won the Big South Conference Title and they were West Regional Finalists in the 3A state tournament. Great work by the team.

See more photos on page 13
Banner-News June 9, 2022 Issue

Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders
Photo 3
Veterans from all branches of the armed forces throw in the ceremonial first pitch to members of the South Point softball team during the Lady Raider’s Military Appreciation Day. Photos by John Wilson

South Point belts a home run by honoring the US military

By John Wilson
Honoring those that served is always a noble endeavor.
At South Point High, the Lady Raiders softball team took it the next level during their annual Military Appreciation Day.
For eight years the softball team has taken a few moments before a game to pay tribute to American servicemen, both past and present.
This year the ceremony took place last week before South Point’s game against Kings Mountain.
South Point softball head coach Leah Brooks came up with the format for the event hoping to find a way to teach her players something about military service.
“It’s more than softball,” coach Brooks said. “I’ve always wanted my team to be involved in the community. My brother was in the US Navy and I wanted to teach my girls something about the military.”
Based on the enthusiasm of everyone involved it looks like coach Brooks and the Lady Raiders are really on to something.
The program that South Point put together was truly inspiring.
Veterans in attendance represented all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States.
As part of the program members of the softball team were teamed with a veteran and given a commemorative softball.
The ceremony began with the players and vets lined up along the first base line. One by one the veterans were introduced and brought on to the infield by their player escort. As the vets took the field a brief summary of their service and accomplishments was read out over the stadium’s public address system.
Before long a line of 20 servicemen was arrayed around the infield from third base on to first base.
When the veterans were all in place the United States colors were presented by members of the South Point Navy Junior ROTC.
After the colors were in place the National Anthem and the playing of Taps was performed by softball player Annie Pinto.
Pinto’s performance of the classic military bugle call added to the reverence of the observance.
The ceremony closed with the veterans throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
The pitch was done in unison with the servicemen tossing their softballs to the players that had escorted them to the field just a few moments before.
After the toss the Lady Raiders returned the softballs to the vets as a keepsake. The softballs all had a handwritten message on them that thanked them for their service.
As the spectators looked out on to the field, they could not help to realize that they were in the presence of living history.
Those being honored represented over 70 years of military service.
The vets gathered in the South Point infield served in various roles ranging from logistics support to infantry. Many saw action in combat zones across the globe from Korea and Vietnam to Lebanon and Iraq.
  One of the veterans on hand for the event was 90-year-old Max Robinson.
Robinson served in the United States Air Force during the post-World War II Occupation of Japan and the Korean Conflict.
As the longest living vet in attendance Mr. Robinson was happy to be a part of the softball team’s effort to honor veterans. In fact, Robinson has participated in every Military Appreciation Day South Point has done since the event’s inception in 2014.
Max Robinson understands the importance of paying tribute to not only those servicemen that were at the stadium, but also those that are no longer with us.
“I’ve been to every one of them,” Robinson said of the program. “I really enjoy it. Some of my old buddies that used to come are now no longer here.”
While this day may have been about honoring the military there was also a softball game.
The Military Appreciation Day was a big success, but unfortunately the Lady Raiders didn’t have a great day on the diamond.
South Point lost to Kings Mountain 19-0.
While the South Point Lady Raiders may not have won the game, they did something even better. They took a moment to give back to the community. And in the process, they touched the hearts of those they chose to honor.
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The East Gaston baseball team is all smiles after winning the 2022 Gaston County Easter Baseball Tournament. This year’s victory marked the sixth time EG has won the annual event held at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia.

East Gaston and Stuart Cramer take spring break tournaments

By John Wilson
For most high schoolers spring break is usually about relaxing a bit and making some memories.
 This year the Stuart Cramer softball team and East Gaston baseball team made some memories they won’t soon forget as both teams walked away with spring break tournament titles.
Stuart Cramer softball won last week’s Toyota of Gastonia Spring Break Softball Tournament held at South Point High School while EG baseball won the Gaston County Easter Baseball Tournament.
The softball tournament got off to a rocky start early in the week when Mother Nature threw the event a curve ball and adjustments needed to be made.
The games were supposed to be held on Monday and Tuesday, but heavy rain on Monday forced the schedule to be moved back a day.
South Point head coach Leah Brooks and her staff didn’t let the weather out do them. As the tournament hosts, the South Point crew did a good job dealing with the delay.
“I think it would be appropriate to give credit to coach Brooks, her players and coaching staff for hosting this,” Cramer head coach James Brown said. “I know they had to move things around because it rained on Monday and I know it’s a lot of work trying to dry the infield.”
While nature did its thing that never damped the mood of the event. Once the action got underway it soon became clear that Stuart Cramer was going to dominate this year.
The Storm won the title by beating South Point 15-3, East Gaston 12-0 and Forestview 5-0 in the final.
In the win against South Point, Hadley Womack took the mound and pitched the entire game giving up only three hits and delivering five strikeouts.
In the East Gaston and Forestview games, Emma Donaldson started and played well.
Donaldson was in total control against the Lady Warriors fanning eight East Gaston batters on her way to pitching a shutout.
Things got a little tougher when the Storm faced off against the Lady Jags in the final.
In that one, Donaldson still came through in the clutch giving up five hits, but also striking out eight Forestview batters.
In recognition of her strong performance, Emma would go on to be named the tournament’s MVP.
While it’s true that Donaldson delivered a stellar performance, what really made this tournament special for Cramer was the fact that players who normally aren’t in the spotlight stepped up big time.
“We had two players, Madison Lee and Addy Marr who got their first career home runs,” Brown said. “Both of those girls also got All-Tournament selections.”
A breakdown of the post-game stats show that Marr and Lee really had a good run.
Marr finished the tournament with three hits and six RBIs while Lee would finish with four hits and six RBIs.
In addition to Marr, Lee and Donaldson receiving accolades, Braley Hamilton was also named to the All-Tournament team as well.
Hamilton wielded a heavy bat all week ending the tournament with five hits.
Across the board, Coach Brown was happy with the way his team performed.
“Everyone contributed both offensively and defensively,” Brown went on to say. “We had a couple of girls really step up on both sides of the ball.”
On the baseball side of things, the East Gaston Warriors won their sixth Gaston County Easter Baseball Tournament title.
The annual classic held at Sims Legion Park has a long tradition dating back to 1987.
The last time the Warriors won the county championship was in 2016.
This year East Gaston got it done playing their version of small-ball. An offensive philosophy that emphasizes placing runners on base and then advancing them into scoring position.
East Gaston got their first win of the tournament on Monday with a big 13-3 blowout of Bessemer City.
Bryce Benson got the start and did a good job in three innings of action. The junior hurler got the win without giving up a run. While facing Benson, Yellowjacket batters only managed two hits.
Benson wasn’t the only EG pitcher to take the mound. Gracen Mahadeo came in relief and did well pitching for three innings.
While Bryce Benson did a good job on the mound, he did even better swinging a bat. Benson went 3-for-3 and led the team in batting.

In the second game of the tournament East Gaston held off a late rally by Forestview to walk away with an 8-4 win. One of the keys to the victory was a strong sixth inning performance where the Warriors scored four runs.
Right hander Elijah Sutherland got the start and managed to hold his own. In well over five innings of play. Sutherland allowed four runs on seven hits. He also struck out four Forestview batters.
Sutherland got a little bit of help toward the end of the game when Dylan Howell came in and pitched for one and one-third innings in a relief role.
In the Forestview game, EG’s top batter was Logan Agosta. Agosta finished the game with a .750 batting average by going 3-for-4.
In the championship game, the Warriors took on a familiar foe when they faced off with the North Gaston Wildcats.
The last time the Warriors and Wildcats played was in March. In that one North Gaston blanked EG 5-0.
In the re-match East Gaston got a bit of payback when Parker Agosta took the mound and decimated the Wildcat batting lineup.
Agosta had a sensational game striking out 11 batters while only giving up one hit and no runs in over seven innings of action.
In addition to pitching well Parker joined his brother Logan Agosta, Dylan Howell, Liam Brady and Daniel McClellan in churning out multiple hits to power the East Gaston offense. In all the Warriors belted out 11 hits.
Winning the county championship is a big deal. Head coach Randy Sellers and his squad did a heck of a job this year.
“I’m very proud of our team’s preparation, focus and play during the tournament,” coach Sellers said. “Their effort and intensity while pulling for their teammates was instrumental in winning the championship.”
This week East Gaston and Cramer will get back to regular season action.
The Warriors have games this week against R-S Central and North Gaston while Cramer plays Ashbrook and Kings Mountain.
See more photos on  page 11
(Banner-News April 28, 2022 Issue)


Summer camp signup

Looking for a summer camp for your kids? Come join the Entrepreneurial Mindset Summer Camp! Rowing & Robotics. This is a G.E.M. Class camp sponsored by The Community Policing Project & Techworks Gaston. This camp will prove to be exciting as it brings together Kids, Community & Police to learn Team Building with an “Entrepreneurial Mindset.”
Spots are filling up fast so don’t wait! Visit
to sign-up or stop by TechWorks Gaston at 52A Ervin Street, Belmont, NC 28012.
The Camp “kick off” will be Saturday, June 11, 2022 with “Movie Night” at Techworks, with the movie “A Most Beautiful Thing.” The true story of an unlikely American High School Rowing Team. 7pm to 930PM.
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Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. holds Easter egg hunt

Last Wednesday the Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. Dept. held its first Easter egg hunt in two years at Tuck Park. A big crowd showed up and the dash was on for toy-filled plastic eggs. 

See more photos on page 16 of this week's issue (April 21, 2022)

Photos by Alan Hodge

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The Keep Belmont Beautiful plant sale will be part of the Living History Day scene. Photo by Alan Hodge

Belmont Historical Society plans “Living History Day” event

The Belmont Historical Society will be hosting their annual “Living History Day” event  on Saturday, April 30th at the museum, located at 40 Catawba Street, Belmont, NC.
The event will be held from 10:00am-1:00 pm.  The three main museum buildings will be open for touring;  the 1899 Robert L. Stowe Home, the 1899 Free standing kitchen/cooks quarters  and the restored 1930’s textile mill house. On the grounds will be many different exhibitors including: Piedmont Fiber Guild, Military Memorabilia, Basket Weaving: Nancy Duffie, Ancestor: Gary Griffin  from family of the 1916 Flood of Western North Carolina, Local Authors:Dixie Abernathy and Gloria Sloan, Gaston County Beekeepers Association, Children’s activity. The main house will feature new displays Belmont Police Department memorabilia and Carolina Pottery.
Please come and bring the family to learn about Belmont’s past. The event is free.
Included also on the 30th will be a Plant Sale, sponsored by Keep Belmont Beautiful.  Lovely hanging baskets and pots of Supertunia’s. Preorder if interested.  Herbs will be available for sale on day of event.
For more information, contact Elizabeth 704-813-2648.
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City of Lowell  2nd annual spring Litter Sweep

On Saturday, April 2, the City of Lowell held its 2nd annual spring Litter Sweep. Volunteers filled about 20-25 trash bags with litter from areas around Lowell and at the city limits. Thank you to all the volunteers.  The next cleanup opportunity which will be the fall River Sweep event.

East Gaston still has shot
at conference championship

By John Wilson
Going into last week the East Gaston baseball team had a legitimate shot at winning the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A. All the Warriors had to do was beat the Burns Bulldogs twice.
Of course, that proved to be easier said than done and things didn’t turn out the way East Gaston would have liked it to.
The Warriors beat the Bulldogs 3-0 on Tuesday but Burns turned things around and dealt EG a tough 6-1 lost on Thursday.
In Tuesday’s game the Warriors got the job done with some strong pitching and smart play. East Gaston was able to take advantage of some first inning opportunities and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.
Parker Agosta got the start and didn’t make things easy on the Bulldogs.
Agosta finished the game with five strike outs and with the help of the EG defense kept Burns off the scoreboard.
“Parker Agosta pitched an outstanding game by shutting out a team with only one previous loss.” head coach Randy Sellers. “We scored early and held on to win against a very good ball club.”
On offense, East Gaston was limited to five hits but they made each one count.
Logan Agosta, Aiden Cloninger, Parker Agosta, Dylan Howell and Riley Hawkins all connected with hits.
In Thursday’s game the Bulldogs played hard and EG just couldn’t seal the deal.
The Warriors had ample chances to win the day, but they just couldn’t make it happen.
“We were unable to capitalize on our opportunities to score,” coach Sellers said. “We left the bases loaded twice and had a runner on third with one out and were unable to produce. Give Burns credit and their pitcher, Coby Putnam for their outstanding play.”
In the end the Warriors ended up splitting their series with Burns.
Now EG finds themselves in somewhat uncharted territory.
Had East Gaston won both games, they would have been the conference champs. However, Thursday’s loss changed the dynamics of the conference standings.
At 12-5 overall and 10-2 in conference play East Gaston is now sitting in second place in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A with no more conference games left on their schedule. At the moment the Warriors find themselves one game back from the 9-1 Burns Bulldogs.
However, it’s not over just yet.
Due to early season game cancelations and rescheduling issues, Burns isn’t done with their conference schedule. So as things sit right now the Bulldogs hold on first isn’t quite a lock just yet.
In the last week of April, the Bulldogs have a two-game series against the Shelby. What happens in that series will determine who wins the Southern Piedmont.
“We have finished our conference play and stand one game in the loss column behind Burns,” Sellers explained. “We need help but still have an outside chance of tying for a conference championship if Burns and Shelby split or being the outright Southern Piedmont champions if Shelby were to win both games of that series.”
What will end up happening in the Southern Piedmont is anyone’s guess. However, at the moment there is nothing the Warriors can do about it. They just need to see how things play out.
With that said, don’t look for East Gaston to dwell on what may or may not happen two weeks from now.
Right now, EG plans on playing some baseball.
This week the Warriors are set to play in the Gaston County Easter Tournament at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia.
In addition to East Gaston, Ashbrook, Bessemer City, Forestview, Highland Tech, Hunter Huss, North Gaston, and Stuart Cramer are set to compete in this year’s tournament.
“We will be ready to play tomorrow in the Gaston County Spring Break Tournament,” coach Sellers said on Sunday. “All games this time of year have significant importance.”

Belmont Sports Hall of Fame wrap-up

By Ray Hardee
The Belmont Sports Hall of Fame is set to induct four new honorees on April 19, 2022 at Park Street United Methodist Church.  This year’s class have earned the recognition and honor that goes with induction into this august hall of recognition.
Cynthia Hibberts did it all! She took care of all of the court during a time that most people only took care of half of the court. Her parents and coaches always said, “Give it 100% and keep learning.” That proved to be prophetic in the way that Cynthia Hibberts has lived her life.  Cynthia always shows up. She was a four-year starter in basketball, track, and as a cheerleader. In her sophomore, junior, and senior years, she was the Gold Medal State Champion in track and field for her event of choice- the 100-yard low hurdles. She was co-captain of the basketball team and the cheerleading squad during her senior year. She was the Kiwanis Club Outstanding Athlete of The Year. Plus, she has coached student-athletes on all levels with excellence.
Mark Young was perennial MVP in baseball and football. He was All-State in high school football, All-ACC player in football, and selected as an East-West High School All-Star as well. But his achievements were not confined to athletic fields. He was selected as a regular Member of the Student Council and in his Senior Year (1985), chosen to be President of His Senior Class, Member of the United Nations Club, and selected as one of the Who’s Who Among American High School Students.  Mark’s exploits gave him the opportunity to sign a full scholarship to play college football at Wake Forest University on the Division I level where he was runner-up for ACC Player of the Year and selected for the All-ACC First Team as a running back.
Migjen Bakali is the all-time South Point High School leader in career scoring with 1606 points as well as the single-season record holder with 658 points scored. Each of these records have stretched the scoring parameters and will not (if ever) be easily broken. During his senior season, he averaged 25.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 6.4 assists while leading South Point to their first sectional title game.  Mr. Bakalli still holds the N.C. State record for eight straight 3-point goals in a single game with a win over the University of Maryland. In addition, he hit six out of six field goal attempts in an NCAA tournament win over the University of Southern Mississippi that is still a Southeast NCAA Tournament Regional record.  His 47.7 percent three-point field goal completion percentage still ranks as seventh best all-time at N.C. State.
George Kitchen is a Belmont legend- born, raised, and stayed. A local Belmont High School (1953-1957) graduate, George has invested his life in the local community. Literally hundreds of student-athletes received their tutelage under the wise influence of George Kitchen. From Little League to Belmont Middle School and South Point High School, Mr. Kitchen has served the local sports community with excellence in multiple ways. He has even kept the clocks of Belmont and South Point teams in his spare time. As a coach and servant-leader, he has served the Belmont community with excellence for decades.
These honorees are shining examples of athletic excellence and candidates who have certainly earned their place in the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame. The Belmont Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held on April 19, 2022 at Park Street United Methodist Church in Belmont, NC. Tickets can be purchased for $20 from Phil Champion State Farm Insurance in Belmont and the Belmont Drug Store.

East Gaston High Warriors
met Cherryville Ironmen

The East Gaston High Warriors baseball team met the Cherryville High Ironmen April 6 on the diamond shaped field of play. At the end of the game, rain and the Warriors had rusted the Ironmen by a score of 8-5. Here are some photos from the contest.

Photos by Jennifer Hall