Mt. Island Charter School
swimmers score big at state event

Hat’s off to the Mt. Island Charter School HS Swim Team.  The boys finished 4th and the girls finished 6th overall at the 1A/2A State NCHSAA Swim Championship Meet.
The Senior Girls left it all in the pool. Wiley, Strauss, and Oliverio are the first girls in school history to qualify for the state championship all four years.
The Girls 200 Medley Relay, 400 Free Relay and 200 Free Relay (all swam by Wiley, Strauss, Oliverio, Heil) finished 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, respectively.
The Boys 200 Free Relay (N. Berry, Lazaroski, Greene, Logue) and 400 Free Relay (N. Berry, Lazaroski, Greene, G. Berry) finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Individual performances were as follows:
Keara Wiley:  50 Free-5th
Cailyn Oliverio:  100 Free-6th
Sydney Strauss:  100 Fly-10th
Emily Heil:  500 Free-10th
Jack Lazaroski:  200 Free-2nd, 100 Fly-7th
Nolan Berry:  50 Free-6th, 100 Free-4th
Mason Greene:  100 Breast-12th
Connor Logue:  50 Free-20th, 100 Breast-23rd
Grant Berry:  500 Free-15th, 200 Free-17th
Here are some scenes from the event.
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Gaston Christian School Lady Eagles participate in State Championships

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Lady Eagles swim team who took part in the February 15 State Championships in Greensboro.
State Qualifiers were:
Kenna Matheney - qualified for 50, 100, and 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Kenna chose, for her two events to compete in, the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Celia Roche - qualified in 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 IM. Celia chose to compete in 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Lillian Robinson - qualified in 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and competed in both events.
Girls relay team - Kenna Matheney, Celia Roche, Kaitlyn Baczek and Lillian Robinson competed in 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay.
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The Stuart Cramer Storm varsity basketball team hosted the Ashbrook Greenwave squad last week. Photo by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography

Storm, Red Raiders, and Warriors prep for playoff action
 

By John Wilson
John.bannernews@gmail.com

 Last week the Stuart Cramer, South Point, and East Gaston basketball teams all made it to the second round of their conference tournaments. Unfortunately, none of them made it any further.
Even though the Warriors, Storm, and Red Raiders didn’t pull off tournament wins that doesn’t mean their seasons are over.
On Saturday the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) released the seeding brackets for the upcoming high school basketball playoffs.
 A review of the listings showed that all three teams made the cut.
First round playoff action began on Tuesday, February 22.
South Point and Stuart Cramer will compete in the 3A West while East Gaston will play in the 2A West.
Here is a breakdown of where each team is seeded and what they have to look forward to in the first round of the playoffs.

Stuart Cramer
Cramer had an excellent 2021-22 regular season finishing at 19-6. When the brackets were released, the Storm drew the 15th seed. With that seeding Cramer will get a home game in the first round as they play host to the 18th seeded Central Davidson Spartans. Central Davidson finished the season with a respectable 17-7. The Spartans play in the Mid-Piedmont 3A
Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. One thing the Storm has going for them is an explosive offense. Right now, the Cramer offense is hot scoring over 75 points in four of their last five games.
Head coach David Sloan is hoping that his team continues with the hot hand going into the playoffs.
“I think the playoffs are all about matchups,” Sloan said. “It’s about getting hot at the right time. I think we’ve been hot offensively the last few days and if we continue with that, we can match up with anybody.”

South Point
South Point finished the 2021-22 regular season at 13-12 overall. The Red Raiders went 8-6 in Big South action. When the bracket pairings were released South Point drew the 27th seed. The Red Raiders now have to go on the road to go up against the sixth succeeded Enka Jets. The Jets come from the Mountain Athletic 3A/4A. Enka finished the regular season 22-4.
While South Point has shown that they can be a very competitive team facing Enka will not be an easy task. For this one the Red Raiders will need to play smart and be consistent for four consecutive periods.
This one will be tough, but head coach Kody Kubbs has scoped out the competition and he believes the Red Raiders are up for the challenge.
“It’s a tough matchup for us,” coach Kubbs explained. “They have five guards that are 6’2 or taller, but we are excited for the opportunity. They are a long and athletic team. There is a reason that they’re 22-4.”

East Gaston
East Gaston finished the regular season going 12-12. When the brackets were released the Warriors landed the 25th seed and are set to go on the road against the 9th seated West Caldwell Warriors. West Caldwell is a member of the Catawba Valley 2A.
Road trips are always tough but head coach Eugene Farrar likes what he sees when he looks at this matchup.
“We got a couple of scouting reports on them and I think we match up well,” Farrar said. “They have two players, #3 and #1, both guards. Their offense comes off of them whether it’s penetration or straight out shooting the three.”
East Gaston has been plagued by injuries all year. But it looks like going into the playoffs the Warriors will be healthy. When asked to confirm that coach Farrar said, “Yes we are healthy.”

Stuart Cramer Storm Vs. Ashbrook Greenwave

The Stuart Cramer Storm varsity basketball team hosted the Ashbrook Greenwave squad last week. The game was full of thrills and chills. In the end, the Storm rained on the Ashbrook parade by a score of 81-52. Here are some shots from the contest.

Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
 
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Abbey baseball team wins doubleheader

The Belmont Abbey baseball team had a strong offensive showing that helped it earn a sweep of a doubleheader against Francis Marion last Saturday.
A seven-run third inning provided the boost needed en route for a 17-0 win in Game 1 which was followed by a 10-6 victory in Game 2 to take the opening series of Conference Carolinas play.
Sean Johnson (#24) was one of the leaders for The Abbey with five hits combined in the two games while Ben Gobbel (#30) hit two home runs in the nightcap.
Belmont Abbey leaves Florence with a 9-3 overall record and a 2-1 mark in conference play. The Patriots are 6-3 overall, 1-2 in the league following Saturday’s twin bill.

Belmont Abbey photo
 
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Crusaders win opener

Sophomore Kellee Branham (#88) registered five hits and Payton Whitley’s (#36) home run was the game-winner in the opener as Belmont Abbey improved to 10-0 on the season with a sweep of Southern New Hampshire last Saturday afternoon at Crusader Field. The Crusaders won the opener 6-5 before taking the second 10-2 in six innings The Penmen fall to 0-4 on a season-opening road swing through the Carolinas. 

Belmont Abbey photo
 
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Abbey Women’s Track & Field news...

Belmont Abbey Women’s Track and Field returned to action on Saturday, competing in the Mondo College Invite at the JDL Fast Track. Belmont Abbey results:
Women 60 Dash (Qualifying)- Cristina Villanueva, 16th, 8.43; Sekyah Chestnut, 18th, 8.50 (8.495); Karolina Colon, 25th, 8.81; Shanekera Faulk, 27th, 8.97
Women 60 Hurdles – Prelims- Amalie Bouton, 5th, 10.33Q (10.327); Isabelle Flores, 6th, 9.33q; Karolina Colon, 12th, 9.85; Olivia White, 14th, 9.99; Haley Kells, 25th, 11.09
Women 60 Hurdles – Finals- Isabelle Flores, 4th, 9.33; Amalie Bouton, DQ (hand on hurdle)
Women 200 Dash- Sekyah Chestnut, 25th, 27.68; Olivia White, 32nd, 28.28; Karolina Colon, 44th, 29.20; Shanekera Faulk, 48th, 30.80
Women 400 Dash- Isabelle Flores, 7th, 1:02.13; Malia Reitmeyer, 14th, 1:04.82; Tamiya Ellis, 27th, 1:08.67
Women 600- Tory Manno, 22nd, 1:57.68; Madison Jones, 27th, 2:10.17
Women 800- Grace Hetzel, 7th, 2:37.75
Women 1000- Tory Manno, 20th, 3:37.20
Women 1 Mile Run- Makenna Pallozzi, 7th, 5:52.12
Women 3000- Makenna Pallozzi, 15th, 11:19.46
Women High Jump- Macie Sims, 5th, 1.47m; Katrina Morse, 17th, 1.42m
Women Long Jump- Cristina Villanueva, 8th, 5.18m; Macie Sims, 12th, 4.76m; Haley Kells, 15th, 4.70m
Women Shot Put- Katrina Morse, 8th, 11.00m; Alexa Davis, 17th, 9.56m; Katie Branch, 29th, 6.91m
Women Triple Jump- Cristina Villanueva, 14th, 9.86m; Haley Kells, 15th, 9.79m; Macie Sims, 16th, 9.61m
Women Weight Throw- Katrina Morse, 10th, 13.83m
Women 4x400 Meter Relay- 1) Malia Reitmeyer 2) Sekyah Chestnut 3) Olivia White 4) Isabelle Flores, 3rd, 4:17.74

Cramerton Parks & Rec. news
 

Spring Sports in Cramerton
Spring Sports Registration opens February 1st and ends March 1st or until teams are full.   Register for the following:
Baseball – age 7-15; Soccer – age 3-15
Softball – age 7-15; Teeball – age 3-6; Volleyball – age 7-15
$60 resident/$80 non-resident
Register at the CB Huss Rec Center (8 Julian St).
For more information please call 704-824-4231.
Valentine’s Day Sweet Art
Cramerton Parks and Rec. has partnered with A Little Bit of Art and The Wandering Cup for a new take on Valentine’s Day.  Friday, February 11th the trio will put on the Sweet Art at 900 South Fork Village Drive in the South Fork Village development.  It is a drop-in event so you can stop in anytime between 1:00 and 8:00pm.
Register for their Sweet Art event and you will get a delicious cookie and sip your hot chocolate from The Wandering Cup while you create a beautiful ceramics piece courtesy of A Little Bit of Art.  Friends and loved ones of all ages will love spending time together at this unique spot. 
Pre-registration is required at the CB Huss Rec Center (8 Julian St).  If you have any questions please call 704-824-4231.
One-Day Camps for Kids
New-  Cramerton Parks and Recreation will be offering an alternative for kids and parents on those days when kids don’t have school. Whether it is a Teach Work Day or a school holiday, we have your elementary schoolers covered.
Each day has a theme with specific activities geared toward that theme, but we will always have arts, crafts and games available as well as access to the gymnasium and playground.
Lil’ Squirt camps for kiddos age 4-6 are back! Lil Squirts days also have a theme with specific activities geared toward that theme, but will always have arts, crafts and games available as well as access to the gymnasium and playground.
For more information visit the CB Huss Rec Center (8 Julian St) or call 704-824-4231.
$15 resident/$20 nonresident
 Sideline Sale – Everything under $5
Spring Sports are starting up soon.  Do you have all the gear that you need?  Whether you’re looking for soccer socks, cleats, softball pants or baseball hats, we have got something for you.  Come check out our stock of new and used items with every item being $5 or less. Stop by the CB Huss Recreation Center (8 Julian St) on Saturday, February 26th between 10am and 2pm to stock up!  If you have any questions please call 704-824-4231.
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Alexis Schulz shoots.

Abbey women’s basketball defeat Erskine

The Belmont Abbey women’s basketball team got off to a quick start and led wire-to-wire in a 68-38 victory over Erskine in Conference Carolinas action last Monday at the Wheeler Center. It is the largest margin of victory this season for the Crusaders. It was the first home game for The Abbey in 2022 due to schedule changes. The Crusaders won its second straight contest and advanced to 7-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play. Erskine moved to 0-11 overall and 0-8 in the conference.
How It Happened- The Crusaders started the contest on a 14-2 run that included a run of thanks to a 14-2 run to begin the game. Brittany Autry provided the early boost with consecutive layups to begin the game. She finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot. The Abbey led 22-6 at the end of the first quarter and held the Flying Fleet to just two field goals in the period. Jo Snow connected on three 3-pointers in the first half as part of her 13 points for the game. Alexis Schulz (pictured) stepped up in the second half for the Crusaders by scoring 12 of her team-high 15 points in the period. She also added three assists, a pair of rebounds and a steal. The Abbey pulled away by outscoring the Flying Fleet 24-13 in the third quarter. Belmont Abbey held a strong 45-18 advantage in rebounding. Autry led the Crusaders in that category while Sydni Clawges added six rebounds in the win.

Storm and Warriors notch needed conference wins

by John Wilson
john.bannernews@gmail.com

Last week the Stuart Cramer and East Gaston basketball teams both saw conference action. The Storm played three gamed while the Warriors played two.
Cramer won two out of three while EG won both of their contests.
East Gaston looked good scoring a pair of impressive wins over Thomas Jefferson in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A action.
The Warriors beat the Gryphons 55-35 on Wednesday and then came back on Thursday night to clip TJ again. This time with a convincing 69-45 victory.
In the first game of the week the Warriors set the pace early and kept up the pressure outscoring the Gryphons 14-7 in the first period and 15-6 in the second.
At the half East Gaston was up 29-13.
Thomas Jefferson managed to outscore the Warriors 13-12 in the third period, but that was about all the offense the Gryphons could muster. In the fourth EG continued the onslaught scoring 14 points to TJ’s nine.
Junior McKaskill Rivers was the game’s top scorer with 12 points followed by Trent Sherrill and Chauncey Creamer who each finished up with eight points apiece.
In the second matchup both teams started off fast and played well offensively.
 Going into the half East Gaston held a 32-25 lead.
That ended up being the closest the Gryphons would ever get. When play resumed the Warriors pummeled TJ. East Gaston really turned on the jets outscoring the Gryphons 25-6 in the third period.
As the game played out it was apparent that on this night Thomas Jefferson just couldn’t keep up as the Warriors rolled on for the win.
Sophomore Trent Sherrill was the Warriors top scorer with 22 points followed by McKaskill Rivers with 19 points. Rivers was also EG’s stop rebounder finishing the game with 11 boards.
Going into the final leg of the season the Warriors are looking pretty good. Head coach Eugene Farrar thinks his team is on track.
“We talk a lot about mojo,” coach Farrar said. “When we played Burns the week before I thought we were getting our mojo back. Then we played back-to-back against Thomas Jefferson and I saw we are playing with more swag.”
Playing with a bit of swag is something the Warriors will need to do as the regular season enters its final few weeks.
Going into this week East Gaston is sitting at 9-7 overall and 4-3 in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference play.
Right now things are still wide open in the Southern Piedmont and the Warriors will have every opportunity to make an impact.
“We’re playing a lot better defensively and offensively,” Farrar added. “I think we can make some noise in the conference.”
This week the Warriors will take on the 13-3 Bessemer City Yellow Jackets and the 9-3 Shelby Golden Lions.
Last week the Stuart Cramer Storm started the week with a loss against Crest and finished up with back-to-back wins over Hunter Huss.
In the Crest game the Storm played the Chargers tight outscoring them in two of four periods.  However, in the second period Crest played exceptionally well outscoring Cramer 18-8. In the long run those 10 points gave Crest just the cushion they needed to stay ahead of the Storm.
The Chargers stayed the course for the rest of the game and left the court with a 77-70 win.
Senior Will Kelly had a phenomenal game scoring 40 points in a losing effort. Kelly also led the team with nine rebounds.
The Crest lost stung, but head coach Brad Sloan made sure his team remained focused. He knew there were still games to play that week and he also knew his team would get another shot at the Chargers.
“There’s a lot of basketball left to play,” Sloan said. “We knew the Crest game would be tough. Now we have another shot at them coming up and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
After losing to the Chargers the Storm shifted gears and got set to play two games against Hunter Huss.
Going into the first Huss game Cramer was ready. However, no matter how ready the players were, the Storm still needed to deal with a bit of history.
In nine seasons of varsity ball Cramer had yet to beat the Huskies. Yet on Wednesday night all of that would change when the Storm tore into Huss breaking the losing streak with an impressive 75-50 win.
Once again Will Kelly led the Storm’s offensive effort with a game high 40 points followed by Jacob Joyner who finished the evening with 21 points.
Defensively John Hill led the way with 11 rebounds while Owen Sloan and Will Kelly each had four steals apiece.
In Friday night’s rematch Will Kelly showed that given the opportunity he can be a one-man wrecking crew. Kelly scored 50 of Cramer’s 85 points as the Storm laid waste to the Huskies in a big 85-67 win.
“It’s tough to be beat a team twice,” coach Sloan stressed. “We had never beaten Huss before so Wednesday was about breaking the streak and Friday was about starting a streak of our own.”
When coach Sloan said there was a lot of basketball left to play, he wasn’t kidding.
Right now, Cramer is 15-3 overall and 6-3 in Big South 3A play with five regular season games left on the schedule.
At this stage anything is possible when it comes to the Big South 3A. Taking the conference is going to be tough, but Cramer has the tools and the talent to make a go of it.
 This week the Storm has league games slated against Ashbrook, Crest and Kings Mountain.
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Abbey Women’s Softball update...

The Belmont Abbey softball team earned a first-place vote and was selected to finish fourth in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll that was released last Thursday afternoon. The poll was compiled from votes by the league’s head coaches.
The Crusaders are coming off one of their best seasons in 15 years by finishing third in the conference standings in 2021. The Abbey finished 20-18 overall with a 14-6 league record.
Mount Olive was selected as the preseason favorite with 129 points and four of 13 first-place votes. Mount Olive was one of eight teams to earn a first place nod. UNC Pembroke captured two first-place votes and 111 points to rank second while King was picked third with 109 points and two first-place selections.
Belmont Abbey opens the 2022 season with a doubleheader against William Peace February 4 at Crusader Field while the conference championship slated for April 28-May 1 at Tyger River Park in Duncan, South Carolina.
Belmont Abbey photo/story
 
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Belmont Parks and Rec. Dept 2022 basketball ages 3-4 instructional league scenes

Four teams took to the court this winter to learn the basics of basketball. Volunteer coaches and players met Saturday mornings for fun drills and mini games. Players were taught how to transition from offense to defense, dribble, pass and shoot the ball. Here are scenes from the events.
For more info on how your child can participate through the Belmont Parks and Recreation sport programs, please reach the office at 704-825-8191.

East Gaston Lady Warriors  take on Burns High Lady Bulldogs

Last Wednesday saw the East Gaston Lady Warriors varsity basketball team take on the Burns High (Lawndale, NC) Lady Bulldogs. In a super exciting game that went to the wire, East Gaston pulled out a 39-38 victory. Enjoy these super shots from this thrilling hoops hoohah.        Photos by Jennifer Hall
 
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East Gaston Christian School Middle School boy’s basketball Undefeated

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Middle School boy’s basketball red team who were undefeated this season. They finished their season defeating Hickory Grove Christian 56-47.  Top GCS scorers-Blee 15 pts, Joy 17 pts, Milner 8 pts, Faile 7 pts.
 

Abbey baseball...

Sean Johnson (pictured) hit the second pitch of the season over the center field fence and eight Crusader pitchers held Mars Hill to just three hits, lifting Belmont Abbey to a 10-1 victory last week at Abbey Yard. The Abbey registered 10 hits overall and sent nine men to the plate during a three-run first to take the season opener for both teams.

Belmont Abbey photo

 

East Gaston High Warriors
Host Burns High Bulldogs

Last Wednesday the East Gaston High Warriors varsity basketball team hosted the Burns High Bulldogs who had travelled all the way from Lawndale, NC. When the thrilling matchup was over, the Bulldogs had bitten the Warriors by a score of 66 to 57. Here are some action shots from the game.  
                                                                                                    Photos by Jennifer Hall

 

MICS swimmers
rake in the medals

Congratulations to the Mt. Island Charter School Raptors HS swimmers below who qualified for the Regional Championship Meet last Friday.  The Boys finished 3rd and the Girls finished 5th.
Best of luck to these swimmers at the State Championship meet this Saturday in Cary, NC.
The Raptors took home 36 Regional Medal and one Regional Championship (Girls 200 Medley Relay).
Kudos to three MICS Senior Girls - Keara Wiley, Cailyn Oliverio, and Sydney Strauss have now qualified for the Swim State Championships four years in a row.

Austin Ashburn    
*Emily Heil+   
1st Place-200 Medley Relay
3rd Place-500 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400  
Free Relay
*Grant Berry+
3rd Place-200 Medley Relay
Katie Lamkin  
*Nolan Berry+
2nd Place-200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
3rd-50 Free, 100 Free         
Talyn Morris 
Jonathan Brachten   
Olivia O’Brien  
Owen Bright            
*Cailyn Oliverio+  
1st Place-200 Medley Relay
3rd Place-100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
Christopher Dunavant 
 Lydia Robinson  
*Mason Greene+
2nd Place-200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
3rd Place-200 Medley Relay, 100 Breast
Annalee Shank   
Jack Johnston  
Kelsey Snavely  
*Ethan Jung+
2nd Place-200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
3rd Place-200 Medley Relay
*Sydney Strauss+
1st Place-200 Medley Relay
3rd Place-100 Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
*Jack Lazaroski+
2nd-200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
3rd Place-200 Free, 100 Fly
Ellie Thomas
*Connor Logue+
3rd Place-200 Medley Relay
*Keara Wiley+
1st Place-200 Medley Relay
3rd Place-50 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
Riley Manion  
Nathan Rein
Carson Reitter+(alternate)      
Makenna Butlak+(alternate)

*-swimmer named to the All-Regional team
+-qualified for State Championship meet
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Congratulations to Gaston Christian School

Congratulations to Gaston Christian School MS basketball red team for their great win last Wednesday.  They defeated York Prep 45-24. GCS scorers included-  Faile 13pts;  Blee 9 pts; Carpenter 7pts; Leffew 4pts.
 
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Back row left to right: Chaynce Ford, Dylan Nicks, Ethan Thagard, Jackson Blee, Sullivan Absher, Jacob Patterson, Xarique Culbreth, and Wyatt Triplett. Front row left to right: Winter Kincaid, Will Ross, Matthew Laney, Shane Wilson, Cam Medlock, Tyson Riley, Jack Milford, Ryan Harris, Jaquis Rumph. Photo by Calvin Craig

South Point
Football Awards

By Charlotte Sautner
South Point High School announced its 2021 football awards on Monday, January 24th.
Tyson Riley – Dr. Wade Breeland Most Valuable Player – First given in 1948 at the old Belmont High School, this award is presented to the Most Valuable Player on the football team and is the school’s oldest award.  It is named in honor of the late Dr. Wade H. Breeland, a local dentist and long-time supporter of Belmont and South Point High School athletics.
Wyatt Triplett – Gerald Cortner Character, Leadership, and Scholarship Award – This award is given to a senior football player who excels on the field and in the classroom and who demonstrates outstanding character and leadership qualities.  This award is given in memory of Mr. Gerald Cortner, the first principal of South Point High School.  Mr. Cortner was a long-time teacher, football coach, and administrator at the old Belmont High School prior to overseeing the consolidation and transition of the Belmont, Reid, and Cramerton High Schools into South Point High School in 1969.
Cam Medlock – Wrather Johnson Sportsmanship Award – Awarded since 1967, the football Sportsmanship award recognizes the respect for and fair treatment of one’s teammates and opponents. It is given in memory of Coach Wrather Johnson who coached football, basketball, and baseball at the old Belmont High School. After being sponsored for many years by long-time Big Red Booster Club supporters Yates and Marie Abernathy, it is now sponsored by Dr. Patricia Goble.
Ryan Harris – Belmont Drug Best Defense – This award has been presented since 1967 to the best defender on the varsity football team.  First sponsored by the old Catawba Pharmacy in East Belmont, this award is now sponsored (since 2003) by  Matthew Morgan, owner of Belmont Drug Store.
Jacob Patterson – Dr. Eddie Lineberger Best Blocker – Awarded since 1964 to the best blocker on the football team, this award was originally named after long-time team physicians Dr. Sam Shaver and Dr. Lee Beatty. The award is now sponsored by local veterinarian, Dr. Eddie Lineberger who was the starting center on the 1979 State 3A Championship team.
Ethan Thagard – Gaston Auto Glass Unsung Hero Award – Awarded to a varsity football player, who may not be well known to others, but is known by the teammates and coaches as playing a significant role in the success of Red Raider teams. The award is inspired by the late Bobby Brown (Belmont High School Class of 1957 and football player) and is inscribed with the poem “Unsung Hero” written by Bobby Brown.
Jaquis Rumph – Bennie Cunningham Most Improved Award – Presented since 1984 to the most improved player on the football team.  It is given in memory of Cramerton and Gaston County legend Coach Bennie Cunningham.  The award is sponsored by Mr. Art Shoemaker in honor of his former coach who mentored and provided direction to hundreds of area youth as part of the Cramerton Recreation Department and the highly successful Little Orangemen Pop Warner football programs.
Xarique Culbreth – Phil Tate “First Things First” Award – This award was begun in 2017 and is presented to a varsity player who places the needs of the team ahead of his own.  It is named in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Phil Tate who taught and coached hundreds of student athletes for over 50 years in football, baseball, basketball and golf at South Point High School.
Shane Wilson – Coach’s Award – This award goes to a varsity player who embodies what it means to be a Red Raider, someone who plays with heart, puts the team first, and is tenacious.
Walter Kincaid – Lee’s Lawn Service Scout Defense Award – This award is given to a defensive varsity football player who, day in and day out, does an exceptional job preparing the starting unit for the upcoming opponent.  They receive little recognition, but their efforts are highlighted by the team’s overall success.
Jack Milford – Lee’s Law Service Scout Offense Award – This award is given to an offensive varsity football player who, day in and day out, does an exceptional job preparing the starting unit for the upcoming opponent.  They receive little recognition, but their efforts are highlighted by the team’s overall success.
Matthew Laney – Herman Gregory “Spirit of the Raider” Memorial Ward – Initiated in 2021, this award is presented to a football player who embodies the “Spirit of the Red Raider” through perseverance, courage, and commitment to our program and his teammates.  The award is sponsored by the Big Red Booster Club and named in memory of former football player #79 Herman Gregory who sadly passed away at a young age in 2021.  “Big Herm” loved South Point High School, and especially Red Raider football, and lettered for 3 years, culminating in playing on the 2016 3A State Championship team.
Will Ross – Sheila M. Rollins Memorial Most Versatile Award – Sponsored by Rollins Insurance Agency, this award has been presented to the most versatile player on the varsity football team.  It is given in memory of long-time Big Red Booster Club supporter, Mrs. Sheila Rollins.
Chaynce Ford – JV Most Valuable Player.
Other Recognition announced: Sullivan Absher and Jackson Blee – Academic All State; Sullivan Absher – NC Super Team; Tyson Riley – Queen City Bowl Selection; Ryan Harris – Luke Kuechly Defensive Player of the Year; Sullivan Absher, Tyson Riley, Jacob Patterson, Dylan Nicks, Will Ross – NC High School OT All State team; Will Ross, Jacob Patterson, Tyson Riley, Dylan Nicks, Sullivan Absher – NC All 3A State team; Tyson Riley, Jacob Patterson, Wyatt Triplett,  Sullivan Absher, Will Ross, Ryan Harris, Dylan Nicks – All Big South; and Dylan Nicks – Big South Kicker of the Year.
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Twin brothers Zachary and Nicholas Willer, students at Stuart W. Cramer High School, received scholarships to run cross country at East Carolina University.

Twin brothers lead the pack in cross country

By Sean Corcoran
Gaston County Schools

Sometimes when people see Stuart W. Cramer High School students Zachary and Nicholas Willer, they do a double take.  The brothers are identical twins, and it’s not just their looks that are shared.  Their winning ways are, too.
In the 3A west regional and state cross country championships as well as most other running competitions, the brothers have been separated by mere seconds.  Zachary finished two and a half seconds ahead of Nicholas to win the state title, becoming Gaston County’s first boys state champion in 43 years.
Prior to the state contest, Zachary finished one second ahead of Nicholas at the western regional meet.  Earlier in the cross country season, it was Nicholas who earned first place in the Gaston County meet and the Big South 3A conference championship.
While there is a rivalry between some siblings, Zachary and Nicholas say they are not competing against each other, but rather they focus on the athletes on opposing teams.
“We support one another,” said Zachary. “We are cheering no matter who finishes ahead of the other.  If I see Nicholas doing well during a race, it motivates me that much more.”
The two brothers have a good relationship.  They played other sports such as soccer and swimming together before making running their primary focus.
“We started running laps in middle school soccer for conditioning,” said Nicholas. “Our coaches saw how well we ran and asked us to give middle school track a try, and the rest is history.”
With the cross country season complete, the Willer brothers can now concentrate their training on indoor and outdoor track and field.  Both of them compete in the 1600 meters, 3200 meters, and 4x800 relay events.
However, running is not their long-term goal. Both realize it would be great to be a professional distance runner, but they know a good education is what awaits them at East Carolina University where they have earned cross country scholarships to help pay for their studies.
“We’re majoring in biomedical engineering,” said Nicholas.  “We hope to develop prosthetics for the medical field.”
Both Nicholas and Zachary credit the Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes offered through Gaston County Schools and their teacher, Meredith McMillan, for their interest in biomedical engineering.
Now, their futures will take them to East Carolina to further their academic and athletic aspirations.  Together, they hope to continue being a friendly force in competition and sharing more championship moments.

Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. signups

Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. Youth Spring Sports
The deadline to register for youth spring sports is February 18. Spring sports include:
Tee-ball (ages 3-6)
Baseball (ages 7-14)
Soccer (ages 3-15)
Girls’ volleyball (ages 7-15)
Girls’ softball (ages 7-15)
You can register online at www.mtholly.us, or in person at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex.
For more information call 704-951-3024 or email kent.womack@mtholly.us.

South Point basketball finds their footing after mid-season slump

By John Wilson
john.bannernews@gmail.com 

In basketball, eleven days can make all the difference in the world. One minute you can be staring into the abyss. The next you may just find yourself watching the sun come up.
In a span of eleven days the South Point basketball team has seen a bit of the darkness and a bit of the light.
Heading into the January 14th game against Forestview the Red Raiders found themselves in a hole. Big Red was in the midst of a three-game losing streak and was looking for a way to turn things around. What happened against Forestview could very well determine the path the team would take for the rest of the season.
“We are in a bit of a spell right now,” head coach Kody Kubbs said before the Forestview matchup. “We’ve dropped six of our last seven.”
A quick review of the South Point record up to that point showed a team more than capable of winning. Early season wins against East Gaston, Lincolnton and Huss showed what the Red Raiders were capable of doing.
The issue for South Point was consistency. At times the Red Raiders played well. Other times they seemed to shoot themselves in the foot at the worst possible moments.
“We are sabotaging ourselves,” Kubbs said. “We’ve blown double digit leads in six of our nine losses, mostly in the second half.”
While it’s true that winning is never really easy, the solution to the problem was pretty basic. All the Red Raiders needed to do was figure out how to play heads-up basketball and deliver game to game.
“We need to be consistent,” Kubbs went on to say. “We need to be disciplined. The talent is there, the potential is there. It just needs to be there on a consistent basis. We’ve seen glimpses of what we can be.”
Before the Red Raiders took the court against the Jaguars, coach Kubbs planned to stress the need for consistency and discipline.
Based on the game results it looked like the players listened.
The Red Raiders would go on to beat the Jaguars 55-43 in a much needed conference win.
The first half action was tight. Forestview played tough and the Red Raiders went into the locker room with a slim 26-25 lead.
In the third period the Red Raiders set the pace and started to take control outscoring the Jags 15-7.
Once South Point established a solid lead, Forestview struggled to catch up and the Red Raiders kept up the pressure and came away with the win.
Offensively the Red Raiders were consistent across the board. Jackson Blee finished the game with 11 points while Cooper Ray, Jaquis Rumph and Sully Absher ended the night with 10 points apiece.
After beating the Jaguars, the Red Raiders kept the forward momentum going by beating the North Gaston Wildcats 68-43 last Thursday night in another Big South 3A contest.
Copper Ray and Sully Absher led the offensive attack each dumping in 11 points.
Also contributing was Sean Gore who added nine points to the scoring effort.
Defensively Sully Absher finished the game with eight rebounds while Jaquis Rumph came away with four steals.
With back-to-back wins under their belt, it looked like South Point was on a bit of a roll. However, the red Raiders were about to be seriously tested when they found themselves in another Big South showdown on Friday night against the 13-1 Stuart Cramer Storm.
On paper it looked like Cramer would have had the edge. However, that’s not how things panned out. The Red Raiders and Storm played a heck of a game that wasn’t truly decided until the final buzzer with South Point winning 73-71.
South Point’s top performer was Jaquis Rumph who scored 25 points. Rumph also pulled downs seven rebounds and five steals. Cooper Ray also put in a solid performance finishing the game with 19 points.
Cramer’s top scorer was Will Kelly who put up 31 points.
For South Point this win was big. In the course of eleven days the Red Raiders found themselves going from a three-game losing streak to winning three in a row. South Point now finds themselves 8-9 overall and 4-4 in league play.
The team’s dramatic turnabout has definitely been impressive.
“The boys have been executing and playing much more cohesively the past few games,” Kubbs said. “Our struggles this year have not been due to a lack of effort, it’s been inconsistent play. We seem to have figured out some of the issues and are beginning to play to our strengths as a team. I’m very proud of their tenacity and the way that they approach the game.”
While there is little doubt that South Point is playing better, there is still a bit more basketball yet to be played. Moving forward the Red Raiders need to stay consistent and play smart ball if they hope to have a shot at a playoff spot next month.
This week South Point plays Huss and Crest.
 

Warriors keep up the fight despite setbacks

By John Wilson
john.bannernews@gmail.com

To say that the 2021-2022 basketball season has been crazy for East Gaston would be an understatement. Over the last few months, the Warriors have had to battle a slew of injuries, bad weather and the scourge of COVID. Yet despite all that East Gaston is sitting at 8-7 overall and 2-3 in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference play.
It’s definitely been an up and down season. The bad weather and COVID related game cancellations have played havoc on the Warrior’s schedule. The situation is so chaotic that the Warriors find themselves in late January and they have yet to play some conference foes.
Yet, despite the setbacks head coach Eugene Farrar is taking it all in stride.
“We’ve been dealing with injuries, COVID, and the weather,” Farrar said. “We had to shut down in December because of COVID and have yet to play Bessemer City and Thomas Jefferson. It’s just been crazy.”
Going into last Friday night’s game against Highland Tech the Warriors had to shuffle things to replace players that have gone down.
 “Trent Sherrill was out against Highland Tech with an ankle injury,” coach Farrar explained. “Grayson Falls has also been out for about a week with an ankle injury.”
East Gaston will definitely want Sherrill back in the lineup soon.
Going into the Highland Tech game Sherrill was the second highest scorer on the team with 230 points.
In addition to Sherrill the Warriors have been getting solid production this year from McKaskill Rivers, Chauncey Creamer, and Vallon Rivers.
In fact, McKaskill Rivers is the team’s top producer. The six-foot seven-inch junior is having a great year. This season Rivers has scored 283 points and pulled down 168 rebounds.
Even with a few roster adjustments the Warriors played well on Friday night against Highland Tech. In a much-needed conference win EG handed the Rams a decisive 70-46 loss.
In this one the Warriors jumped out to a quick 22-8 first period lead and never looked back.
McKaskill Rivers led EG in scoring with 23 point and 12 rebounds.
Also having a solid night against the Rams was junior Connor Rankin who scored 12 points.
Coach Farrar thinks that his team has handled the challenges of this season pretty well. While he knows there is room for improvement, he also sees progress that can be built upon.  “The team camaraderie is very positive,” Farrar went on to say. “These guys are really learning to play together.”
The next few weeks are going to be very important for the Warriors. The makeup games with Bessemer City and Thomas Jefferson will be critical in determining how season goes.
 In addition to having to make up extra games the Warriors will need to contend with the fact that none of their upcoming games look to be cakewalks. In fact, the competition in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A has been very competitive. The conference’s 1A programs are proving to be very tough nuts to crack.
The Southern Piedmont’s 1A schools, Bessemer City, Thomas Jefferson and Cherryville are all playing well and all are sporting winning records.
This week the Warriors will battle Thomas Jefferson twice. The Gryphons are 11-3 overall and 2-1 in league action.
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Gaston Christian defeats Cardinal Newman

The Gaston Christian School Varsity Boys basketball team defeated Cardinal Newman 73-65 last week in the Phenom Hoops MLK tournament. 4-0 in 2022.


Jahseem Felton - 22pts 10rebs 7Ast

Joe Rhyne - 15pts 4ast 2rebs
Isaiah Tate - 12pts (4/9 3pts)
Corey Gaines - 8pts 3rebs 4ast
Christian Petty - 5pts
Cameron Newman - 4pts 2stls
Preston Shuford - 4pts 5rebs
Greg Brockington - 3pts 5stls.
 
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Abbey men lose to Pembroke

The Belmont Abbey men’s basketball team hosted UNC Pembroke in a Conference Carolinas matchup at the Wheeler Center. The Crusaders were able to nearly mount a rally but fell 71-62 to the Braves. The Abbey trailed by as many as 14 points and got as close as seven late into the second half. The Crusaders are now 5-6 overall, 3-4 in the conference while the Braves move to 9-1 and 6-1, respectively.

How It Happened- Sean Halloran and Chandler Baker accounted for the first two made field goals of the game for the Crusaders. Bosko Bojovic and K.J. Garrett accounted for 11 of the final 15 points of the first half for The Abbey. The duo led a late surge with a pair of layups in the final six seconds in the first half to pull Belmont Abbey within 10 points at 31-21 at halftime. Belmont Abbey held UNC Pembroke to 34.3% shooting in the first half. The Crusaders got things going offensively from beyond the arc, making all six 3-pointers attempted after halftime. Belmont Abbey shot 51.4% from the field in the second half. Quest Aldridge led the way for The Abbey in his first home game of the season with a team-high 14 points off the bench. He also accounted for two steals. Sean Halloran also finished in double figures scoring with 12 points, a team-high four assists and a pair of steals. L.J. McCoy led Belmont Abbey with six rebounds.
Belmont Abbey photo/story
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Charity Clark, center, receives her award.

Poetry winner...

Recently, Gaston County celebrated its 175th anniversary. As part of the celebration, a poem contest was held throughout the county. Many congratulations to Charity Clark for winning the adult contest with her poem about Ranlo.

The Place That Holds My Dearest Memories
Charity Clark
Mawmaw told me time and time again,
“I walked into church that morning and
God told me it was him.”
By God, it must have been true.
Two weeks after meeting,
my grandparents said their “I do’s.”
They both worked at the Rex Mill
in Ranlo for a spell. Spin and spool.
Frame and fill.
In Ranlo when I spent the night,
Mawmaw would whisper “I love you,” as
the train whistled through the county with all its might.
“I remember when Sears was downtown,
and we had a Woolsworth’s, too.” She loved
to recall days past when I drove her around.
Although today my Mawmaw might be gone,
I find a lot of solace in the fact
that our county is still going strong.
For some Gaston County will only ever be
a spot on a map or a place to pass through. But for me,
it will always be the place that holds my dearest memories.
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Coach Greg Lekavich
named NC Private School Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Gaston Day School soccer coach Greg Lekavich. He was recently named NC Private School Coach of the Year by the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association.
 
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Derek Bing  named The Charlotte Observer Volleyball Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Gaston Day School volleyball coach Derek Bing for being named The Charlotte Observer Volleyball Coach of the Year. Also, three Gaston Day student-athletes were selected for All-Observer teams: Drew Brown (1st team volleyball), Marco Wright (1st team soccer) & Anne Bradley Bing (2nd team volleyball).
 
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Abbey Men’s Volleyball starts strong

The Belmont Abbey men’s volleyball team started off its 2022 season with a strong opening match, completing a sweep of Long Island University, 25-16, 25-17, 25-25, Monday night at the Wheeler Center. It was also the first career victory for head coach Derek Sullivan, who was making his head coaching debut at The Abbey.

How It Happened- Matteo Miselli finished with a match-high 13 kills in the victory. The junior also finished with a .478 hitting percentage and had four block assists. The Crusaders took control of the match early by jumping out to an early 8-3 lead in the first set. The Abbey closed the first set strong by earning three of the last four points in the first set. Jake Somers gave the Crusaders a boost with an ace to open the second set. He also added seven kills and a solo block. The Crusaders also were strong defensively, finishing with 14 block assists and a pair of solo blocks. Matthew Maxwell finished with a match-high 25 assists. Brian Knoerr led the Crusaders with six digs. The Abbey held a 20-11 advantage over Long Island in that category. Belmont Abbey was also able to put together a strong start in the third set by taking an early 3-0 lead that later grew to an 11-4 advantage.
Belmont Abbey story/photo
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Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Middle School boys basketball team

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Middle School boys red basketball team for their win over Hickory Grove last week. The final score was 45-36. Joy had 19 pts., Leffew had 10 pts., Faile had 9 pts., and Blee had 9 pts.
 

Peoples Bank Holiday Clash Basketball Tournament

Area high school basketball teams gathered last week for the Peoples Bank Holiday Clash Basketball Tournament at Lincolnton High. These are pictures from the Stuart Cramer vs Bandys boy’s first round game. Stuart Cramer won 56-31. See page 13 for more action shots.                                                                                                    Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
 

Stuart Cramer wins Championship game of Holiday Clash Tournament...

Stuart Cramer defeated Lincolnton 67-62 in the Championship game last Thursday night to win the Peoples Bank Holiday Clash Tournament.  Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
 
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Congratulations Gaston Day School!

Gaston Day School scored a three-peat by fielding state championship teams in not one but three sports. Congrats to the GDS Varsity Girls Tennis, Varsity Volleyball, and Varsity Boys Soccer. Way to go!
 

Stuart Cramer soccer on a roll

The Stuart Cramer Men’s Soccer team finished the regular season as the Big South 3A Conference Champions with a record of 13-0-1 and continue to roll in the NCHSAA State Soccer playoffs. The Storm defeated Freedom 2-0 in the first round and Fred T. Foard in the second round 4-2. The Storm have played great team soccer in the playoffs with goals coming from Joseph Bravo, Jack Matz, Drew Crotts, Noah Arrowood, and Aidan Cameron. The Storm now move into the third round of the playoffs to face Central Academy as they continue with their record breaking season. 
Photos by Bill Bostick Tarheel Sports Photography
 

South Point and East Gaston advance while Cramer falls

By John Wilson
John.bannernews@gmail.com

South Point East Gaston, and Stuart Cramer all saw action in the first round of the North Carolina High School football playoffs. South Point and East Gaston were able to pull off wins while Cramer fell.

South Point 41
East Guilford 31
When two evenly-matched teams take the field the difference between winning and losing could come down to how each team responds at a pivotal moment in the game.
The Red Raiders and Wildcats were both faced with critical situations in their first round playoff game. South Point was able to overcome their obstacles while East Guilford could not.
Right from the beginning this game was hard fought.
Midway through the second quarter the Red Raiders were trailing 14-7. While trying to move down the field the South Point offense coughed the ball up.
This mistake was big. If the Wildcats were able to capitalize on the turnover and score a touchdown they would be up 21-7.
Fortunately for Red Raiders fans the South Point defense had other plans.
“We faced a little bit of adversity early,” head coach Adam Hodge said. “We responded and held them to a field goal. We handled the adversity well. A lot of teams fall apart. We didn’t.”
After East Guilford kicked the field goal the Red Raider offense went to work and soon scored sending both teams to the locker room at half-time with the Wildcats up 17-14.
Having averted a potential disaster the Raiders took the field in the second half and continued to fight.
East Guilford fought as well as both teams went back and forth trying to find an opening.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter the Wildcats punched the ball into the end zone and after the PAT pulled ahead 31-28.
However, the Red Raiders were not deterred.
As the quarter evolved the momentum swiftly shifted South Point’s way. The Red Raiders offense turned on the afterburners with two Tyson Riley touchdown runs.
With the game on the line and time running out the Wildcats found themselves facing their moment of truth. While the Red Raiders had shown that they could overcome a setback with their second quarter stand, East Guilford was finding that they just didn’t have much in the gas tank anymore.
In the closing minutes the South Point defense stiffened and all East Guilford could do was turn the ball over. Once South Point had pushed out to a 41-31 lead the Wildcats found themselves trapped.
“In the fourth they turned the ball over and we pulled ahead,” Hodge said. “We pulled ahead and kept ahead.”
In reviewing the stats it looked like both offenses put up big numbers.
Overall South Point managed 451 yards of total offense. 414 of those yards came from a highly effective running game.
Tyson Riley carried the load for Big Red with 36 carries for 372 yards with five touchdowns.
Riley’s performance just can’t be understated. Every time he touched the ball he averaged 10.3 yards a carry.
South Point’s top defensive performers were Will Ross, Ben Lunsford and Shane Wilson.
Ross finish the game with 11 tackles while Lunsford registered nine stops and Wilson finished the evening with eight.
 Up next the 16-seeded Red Raiders will head to the mountains to take on the top seeded 10-1 Pisgah Bears of the Mountain Seven 3A Conference.
“Pisgah is big and physical,” Hodge explained. “They will try to run the football. Whoever is more physical will win. We have to match them.”

East Gaston 57
School of Davidson 39
Going into this game Warriors head coach JT Postell thought his team could match up well against the Spartans.
As this game started to unfold it looked like Postell was right.
While Davidson was able to move the football and score they just could not stop the Warriors ground game.
East Gaston rumbled for 541 yards of rushing offense.
Justin Hill ran for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
When Hill left the field he had 1,818 yards on the year. That proved to be more than enough to break the East Gaston single season rushing record of 1,714 yards set by Jazz Hopkins in 2014.
While Hill definitely had a good game he wasn’t the only Warrior the post big numbers. Markel McKinney ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns while Nehemiah Stovall ran for 112 yards with two scores.
Quarterback Trenton Sherrill passed for 62 yards and had a 100.7 QB rating.
Sherrill’s top target was Aiden Cloninger who had two receptions for 43 yards.
This week East Gaston will host the 25th seeded Forest Hills Yellow Jackets.
The 7-4 Yellow Jackets come from the Rocky River 2A/3A. Forest Hills is just coming off of a 27-26 win over the 8th seeded Providence Grove Patriots.
Coach Postell sees a difficult matchup.
“It’s going to be tough,” Postell said of the matchup with Forest Hills. “They are a good team. They have a lot of good players. They have some size and speed.”
The Warriors are coming off their first playoff win in 15 years. Even with that momentum coach Postell knows the road ahead will not be easy.
“When you advance you face a tougher opponent each week,” Postell went on to say. “The games are going to get tougher each week, but we know that’s how the playoffs are supposed to be.”

West Charlotte 34
Stuart Cramer 10
Stuart Cramer kept it tight for a while but in the end could not hold back the West Charlotte Lions.
Cramer finished the year at 5-6 and worked hard to snag a playoff bracket spot.  The Storm can hold their heads high. In 2021 they played some exciting football.
 
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Abbey volleyball sweeps Converse

Belmont Abbey hit a season-high .277 and Paige Rawlins tallied her eighth double-double of the season, lifting the Crusaders to a 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-12) victory over Converse in Conference Carolinas women’s volleyball action last Saturday afternoon.
With their fourth win in the last six matches, The Abbey improves to 5-16 overall and 5-6 in league play. The Valkyries fall to 3-16, 3-7.
How It Happened
The Crusaders tallied 45 kills against just 14 errors in 112 chances. Converse connected at only a .062 pace (25-18-112). Rawlins registered 35 assists and 12 digs. She also had three kills and three block assists. Cameron Young had a season-high 16 kills, hitting .170. She had three assists, one ace and five digs. Lauren Hamilton also reached double figures in kills with 10. Hailey Ryan led the defensive effort with 17 digs. Maya Simmons equaled her career high with 12 digs.
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Abbey girl’s field hockey
defeats Coker

The Belmont Abbey field hockey team closed out its regular season home schedule on a good note in a 3-1 victory over Coker in South Atlantic Conference Carolinas play Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field. Madison Mitchell, Ashley Hubbard and Camrynn Aiello were all honored on Senior Day during a pregame ceremony. Belmont Abbey moved to 7-5 overall and 5-4 in league play with the victory while Coker is now 2-9 overall and 2-8 in the SACC standings.

How It Happened
The Crusaders generated pressure on the Cobras early with three shots and three penalty corners in the first quarter. Abigail Kane scored her first goal of the season for The Abbey with 1:25 left before halftime. Her goal was set up off of a Crusaders penalty corner and was assisted by Casey Etter. Etter tallied her seventh goal of the season in the third quarter to give Belmont Abbey a 2-0 lead. She finished with a game-high five shots. Coker responded later in the third with a goal off of a penalty stroke. Samantha Moore scored her first goal of the season with 2:45 remaining in the game to seal the victory for The Abbey. Chloe Parker finished with eight saves, all of which came in the second half. It matched a season high that Parker accomplished Sept. 7 against Converse and Sept. 15 against Shippensburg. The Crusaders finished the game with 11 shots on goal.
Belmont Abbey story/photo
 

South Point, East Gaston
and Cramer prep for playoffs

By John Wilson
John.bannernews@gmail.com

Regular season High School football is over and the playoffs are about to begin.
The North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) released their final brackets on Saturday afternoon and three local teams made the cut.
South Point, Stuart Cramer, and East Gaston all received at-large bids.
Here is the breakdown of who plays who and where this Friday night.

South Point
vs East Guilford
The 16th seeded South Point Red Raiders will host the 17th seeded East Guilford Wildcats in the first round. The Red Raiders ended the season 7-3 and finished third in the Big South 3A.
The Wildcats finished their season at 7-2 and ended the year in second place in the Mid-State 3A.
The Wildcats will be a tough opponent. They have the ability to produce points and shut down opposing offenses.
Offensively East Guilford has put 40 points or more on the score board in five games, while the Wildcat defensive has held their opponents to eight points or less six times.
Players to watch include quarterback Jaiden Evans, running back Tyriek Boyd and wide receiver Khyair Lundy.
South Point has the weapons to keep pace with the Wildcats. However, to increase their likelihood of pulling out a win South Point will need to play strong for four quarters.
Several times this year the Red Raiders started slow only to finish like gangbusters. In the playoffs that might not work.
South Point will need to hold the line defensively and get their running game going early. Look for senior Tyson Riley to run hard.
Playing strong is something that South Point head coach Adam Hodge will stress as the Red Raiders get ready for Friday night.
“They have a good team,” coach Hodge said of East Guilford. “They have a good quarterback, a good running back and some big ole lineman. We are going to have to play well. Sixteen and seventeen ain’t far apart. I think both of us have good teams. I think it will come down to execution.”

East Gaston vs Community School of Davidson
2021 was a good year for East Gaston football. The Warriors recorded their first winning season since 2015 with a 6-4 record. That effort put them in possession of third place in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A.
EG was awarded the 24th seed and will hit the road to take on the ninth-seeded Community School of Davidson Spartans. The Spartans finished the season 8-2 and won the Catawba Shores Athletic Conference 1A /2A title.
When Davidson has the ball, they definitely like to put it in the air. Quarterback Jameson Davies has thrown for 1,462 yards this season with 16 touchdowns and nine picks. His top target is sophomore Tanner Mullins who has hauled in 10 touchdown passes this year.
A review of the schedule shows that the Spartans and Warriors had two common opponents this year.
In 2021 Davidson and East Gaston both played Thomas Jefferson and Bessemer City. The Spartans beat the Yellow Jackets 31-24 but lost to the Gryphons 51-15 while the Warriors beat Bessemer City 48-28 and Thomas Jefferson 42-37.
This game will come down to doing what you do best and stopping the other guy.
Davidson will throw the ball, and the EG defensive secondary will need to be on their toes.
The Spartans will also have their hands full trying to stop the Warriors running game.
Justin Hill and Markel McKinney have both ran for over 1,000 yards this year. Trying to stop the run will be a priority for the Spartans, but there may be a price to pay if Davidson choses to bring their safeties up to try to crowd the line of scrimmage.
This year the Warriors offense has a credible passing attack. If quarterback Trenton Sherill gets the call he can torch the Spartans up top.
Making the playoffs was something Warriors head coach JT Postell told his team that they needed to shoot for.
“We are excited to make the playoffs,” Postell said. “That was one of our goals going into the season. We know we will have a tough opponent in the Community School of Davidson. We know offensively they pose some challenges with the way they throw the football. Defensively they are very aggressive so we know we need to have a great week of practice and preparation”

Stuart Cramer
vs West Charlotte
The Storm finished the regular season at .500 with a 5-5 record that placed them 5th in the Big South 3A.
Cramer drew the 27th seed and will travel it to Mecklenburg County to take on the sixth-seeded West Charlotte Lions. The Lions ended the regular season 6-3 and came in fourth in the Queen City 3A/4A.
Cramer and West Charlotte never faced the same team in 2021, yet they still have some things in common.
Both teams play in some of the toughest conferences in the state in the Big South 3A and the Queen City 3A/4A. The Storm and the Lions have both taken on some top-tier competition this year.
West Charlotte fields a powerful team that is strong on both sides of the football.
While there is no doubt the Lions will be a challenge, the Storm shouldn’t be short changed either.
Offensively Cramer is more than capable of putting up points.
Senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore can get the job done with his arm or his legs. Rocquemore is a game breaker. If he has a good day the Storm offense will be humming.
During several games this year the Storm defense has also shown that they can play some hard-nosed football.
Defensive end Arias Nash and linebackers Josue Sanchez and Daimean Fernandez are all outstanding players. This crew is gifted. If things work out they can really cause some chaos.
If Cramer plays smart football they have a real shot.
Head coach Ben McMillan believes his team is ready for the next level of play.
“We are excited for an opportunity to play another week,” McMillan said. “We are going to take this as a new season and chance to start over. We feel like we have a good team that can do some good things in the playoffs.”

South Point, East Gaston
and Cramer prep for playoffs

By John Wilson
John.bannernews@gmail.com

Regular season High School football is over and the playoffs are about to begin.
The North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) released their final brackets on Saturday afternoon and three local teams made the cut.
South Point, Stuart Cramer, and East Gaston all received at-large bids.
Here is the breakdown of who plays who and where this Friday night.

South Point
vs East Guilford
The 16th seeded South Point Red Raiders will host the 17th seeded East Guilford Wildcats in the first round. The Red Raiders ended the season 7-3 and finished third in the Big South 3A.
The Wildcats finished their season at 7-2 and ended the year in second place in the Mid-State 3A.
The Wildcats will be a tough opponent. They have the ability to produce points and shut down opposing offenses.
Offensively East Guilford has put 40 points or more on the score board in five games, while the Wildcat defensive has held their opponents to eight points or less six times.
Players to watch include quarterback Jaiden Evans, running back Tyriek Boyd and wide receiver Khyair Lundy.
South Point has the weapons to keep pace with the Wildcats. However, to increase their likelihood of pulling out a win South Point will need to play strong for four quarters.
Several times this year the Red Raiders started slow only to finish like gangbusters. In the playoffs that might not work.
South Point will need to hold the line defensively and get their running game going early. Look for senior Tyson Riley to run hard.
Playing strong is something that South Point head coach Adam Hodge will stress as the Red Raiders get ready for Friday night.
“They have a good team,” coach Hodge said of East Guilford. “They have a good quarterback, a good running back and some big ole lineman. We are going to have to play well. Sixteen and seventeen ain’t far apart. I think both of us have good teams. I think it will come down to execution.”

East Gaston vs Community School of Davidson
2021 was a good year for East Gaston football. The Warriors recorded their first winning season since 2015 with a 6-4 record. That effort put them in possession of third place in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A.
EG was awarded the 24th seed and will hit the road to take on the ninth-seeded Community School of Davidson Spartans. The Spartans finished the season 8-2 and won the Catawba Shores Athletic Conference 1A /2A title.
When Davidson has the ball, they definitely like to put it in the air. Quarterback Jameson Davies has thrown for 1,462 yards this season with 16 touchdowns and nine picks. His top target is sophomore Tanner Mullins who has hauled in 10 touchdown passes this year.
A review of the schedule shows that the Spartans and Warriors had two common opponents this year.
In 2021 Davidson and East Gaston both played Thomas Jefferson and Bessemer City. The Spartans beat the Yellow Jackets 31-24 but lost to the Gryphons 51-15 while the Warriors beat Bessemer City 48-28 and Thomas Jefferson 42-37.
This game will come down to doing what you do best and stopping the other guy.
Davidson will throw the ball, and the EG defensive secondary will need to be on their toes.
The Spartans will also have their hands full trying to stop the Warriors running game.
Justin Hill and Markel McKinney have both ran for over 1,000 yards this year. Trying to stop the run will be a priority for the Spartans, but there may be a price to pay if Davidson choses to bring their safeties up to try to crowd the line of scrimmage.
This year the Warriors offense has a credible passing attack. If quarterback Trenton Sherill gets the call he can torch the Spartans up top.
Making the playoffs was something Warriors head coach JT Postell told his team that they needed to shoot for.
“We are excited to make the playoffs,” Postell said. “That was one of our goals going into the season. We know we will have a tough opponent in the Community School of Davidson. We know offensively they pose some challenges with the way they throw the football. Defensively they are very aggressive so we know we need to have a great week of practice and preparation”

Stuart Cramer
vs West Charlotte
The Storm finished the regular season at .500 with a 5-5 record that placed them 5th in the Big South 3A.
Cramer drew the 27th seed and will travel it to Mecklenburg County to take on the sixth-seeded West Charlotte Lions. The Lions ended the regular season 6-3 and came in fourth in the Queen City 3A/4A.
Cramer and West Charlotte never faced the same team in 2021, yet they still have some things in common.
Both teams play in some of the toughest conferences in the state in the Big South 3A and the Queen City 3A/4A. The Storm and the Lions have both taken on some top-tier competition this year.
West Charlotte fields a powerful team that is strong on both sides of the football.
While there is no doubt the Lions will be a challenge, the Storm shouldn’t be short changed either.
Offensively Cramer is more than capable of putting up points.
Senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore can get the job done with his arm or his legs. Rocquemore is a game breaker. If he has a good day the Storm offense will be humming.
During several games this year the Storm defense has also shown that they can play some hard-nosed football.
Defensive end Arias Nash and linebackers Josue Sanchez and Daimean Fernandez are all outstanding players. This crew is gifted. If things work out they can really cause some chaos.
If Cramer plays smart football they have a real shot.
Head coach Ben McMillan believes his team is ready for the next level of play.
“We are excited for an opportunity to play another week,” McMillan said. “We are going to take this as a new season and chance to start over. We feel like we have a good team that can do some good things in the playoffs.”

Mt. Island Charter tops Lake Norman Charter

Here’s a wrap up of the Mt. Island vs Lake Norman football game last Friday by Coach Robert Washington. Score Mountain Island Charter 34 Lake Norman Charter 29.

MICS Players of the Game Nominations
Offense
Dylan Bisson- 17/22 402 passing yards, 4 TDs, 5 rushes 37 yards (BROKE GASTON COUNTY SINGLE PASSING RECORD) 137/195 3436 yards, 30 TDs
Cole Hart- 5 catches 118 1 touchdown.
Elijah Hadley- 15 carries 220 yards, 1 TD.
Trae Nickelson- 6 rushes 101 yards, 3 catches 102, 1 TD, 1 punt returns 27 yards and 3 kick returns 77 yards.
Defense
Leonard Hadley- 15 tackles.
Special Teams
Austin McConnell- 2 Punts 91 yards, 6 kickoffs 317 yards.
 
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The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team went at it against the Ashbrook Greewave on Monday, Oct. 18. When the thrilling exchange was over, the Red Raiders had pulled out a 35-21 win making them 5-3. Emily Vargas was crowned Homecoming Queen at halftime. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

South Point wins two in a row

By John Wilson
John.bannernews@gmail.com
There is only one more game left in the 2021 high school football regular season, but it looks like the South Point Red Raiders are well on the way to finishing the season strong with back-to-back wins against Ashbrook and Forestview.
South Point 35
Ashbrook 21
Last week South Point ended up playing two games in five days. Their first game was on Monday when the Red Raiders lined up against the Ashbrook Greenwave.
The Greenwave managed to keep the ball away from the Red Raiders offense early in the game, but South Point was able to recover and went into the half up 14-7.
In the second half South Point was able to put another 21 points on the score board and easily outpaced the 14 points scored by Ashbrook.
The Red Raiders kept it on the ground only attempting one pass all game.
In the end South Point finished with 236 yards of total offense.
Solid performances were put in by Tyson Riley, Ashton Harris and Elijah Phifer.
Riley rushed for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Harris had 59 yards and a touchdown and Phifer finished up with 48 yards and one TD.
On the other side of the ball, the South Point defense played Ashbrook tough. The Red Raiders defense generated three turnovers.
Will Ross was Big Red’s top tackler with 16 stops. Not far behind Harris were Jaquis Rumph, Matt Hastings and Shane Wilson who all had 11 tackles a piece.
The Greenwave fought hard but in the end South Point took care of business.
“I thought we played pretty good,” head coach Hodge said. “They limited our possessions early in the game, but we were able to win the game. I’m proud of the kids.”
South Point 17
Forestview 14
After beating Ashbrook the Red Raiders only had a few days to prep before they faced the Forestview Jaguars in another important Big South 3A matchup last Friday.
This contest proved to be a real slugfest with both squads playing good football on both sides of the ball.
The South Point offense was powered by some strong running by senior Tyson Riley. Riley fought for every yard running for 79 yards off of 23 carries and scoring two touchdowns.
On the defensive side Ryan Harris led the Red Raider “D” with 11 tackles.
When regulation ended the game was tied up 14-14.
The battle continued well into two overtimes as the Jaguars and the Red Raiders both fought to get the upper hand.
In the second overtime it looked like Forestview may pull out the win, but missed a 42-yard field goal.
That misfire gave South Point the opportunity they needed to seal the deal.
A few plays later kicker Charles Birtwhistle had a chance to put the Red Raiders on top. Birtwhistle didn’t let his shot go to waste. The six-foot three-inch sophomore lined up and drilled a 27-yard field goal to give the Red Raiders the win.
With the playoffs coming up any conference win is a big deal. After beating Forestview the Red Raiders improved their record to 6-3. They are now in sole position of third place in the Big South 3A.
Coach Hodge was definitely pleased with how this one went down and is gearing up for the next game.
“A good high school football game,” Hodge added. “I’m proud of our kids and how they finished. They stuck together and won the game. Now we got to get ready for the next one. As Coach Lineberger would say, “Biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”
This week South Point finishes up the regular season hosting the 1-8 North Gaston Wildcats.

Scenes from South Point Homecoming Game

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Mt. Island Charter Homecoming Queen And King

The Mt. Island Charter School Raptors played their homecoming game against Bishop McGuiness Catholic High (Kernersville) last Friday. Homecoming King and Queen were Leonard Hadley and Sandy Osterndorf.
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Congratulations to Mr. Zak Splawn who is the Carr Elementary PE Teacher. He was recently selected as a FSI Office/Carolina Panthers Top 10 Teacher of the Week.

Gaston County Schools Good News, September 2021

The Gaston County Board of Education received the following “good news” for the month of September 2021:
Bessemer City High School, East Gaston High School, Forestview High School, Highland School of Technology, and South Point High School were recognized by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association for outstanding sportsmanship.  The five schools did not have any athlete/coach ejections during the 2020-2021 school year.
Letters written 20 years ago by students at Tryon Elementary School were included in a display by the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the anniversary of 9-11.
Stuart W. Cramer High School senior Gwen Campau and Highland School of Technology senior Travis Rainwater are among 16,000 students who were named National Merit semifinalists. They will have an opportunity to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million, which will be awarded next spring.
North Belmont Elementary School received a $9,150 donation from Vallen Corporation to purchase 20 computer stations.  In addition, Vallen employees donated three boxes of school supplies for students and teachers.
Rankin Lake Baptist Church packed and delivered 480 goodie bags for employees at North Gaston High School, W.C. Friday Middle School, Carr Elementary, Costner Elementary, Highland School of Technology, and Woodhill Elementary.
Highland School of Technology graduate Maggie Ferguson is the recipient of the Steagall Family Foundation Scholarship.  The scholarship provides $10,000 a year for college education along with an additional $6,000 per year for a summer internship program at Holy Angels. Maggie is attending UNC-Chapel Hill where she is studying speech pathology.
Gaston County Schools received 50 book bags from Direct Auto Insurance filled with school supplies.
H.H. Beam Elementary School received 96 book bags filled with school supplies from the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
W.B. Beam Intermediate School counselor Mark Reep shared information about the school’s amateur radio club with members of the Cherryville Rotary Club.  In addition, students in the Falcon Radio Club participated in the “Parks on the Air” amateur radio program this summer at Crowders Mountain State Park.
The cafeteria staff at Belmont Middle School and Page Primary received a 100 percent sanitation score.
The W.A. Bess Elementary PTO sponsored a school beautification project to prepare for the new school year. A team of school volunteers spent time planting flowers and spreading mulch to beautify the school grounds.
Bessemer City Primary celebrated “K is for Kindness Day” on September 10 in commemoration of September 11 and to honor the memory of Kay Scearce, who taught at the school for 31 years.
Classroom Central sponsored a school supply drive at Carr Elementary.  Nearly 190 teachers from across Gaston County received a box of school supplies.
Cake Me Away Bakery provided school supplies for Carr Elementary, Costner Elementary, W.C. Friday Middle, and North Gaston High School.
The Cherryville High School “Kindness Club” created posters for W.B. Beam Intermediate School.  Each poster has a unique message such as “One kind word can change someone’s entire day.” Senior Landrie Wofford organized the project.
Carr Elementary received school supplies from the Kiwanis Club, Dallas Baptist Church, and the Dallas Police Department. In addition, the school received a school supplies donation from third grade student Natalie Day.
In partnership with the Carolina Panthers, Carr Elementary teacher Diane Baron was nominated as a FSI Teacher of the Week.
Carr Elementary received the “Best of Gaston” award from The Gaston Gazette as a top public school in Gaston County.
Carr Elementary was selected to receive a Duke Energy Science Night Kit, which provides materials for students to participate in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, math) activities.
North Gaston High School art teacher Tammy Hovis organized an art project at Carr Elementary that involved high school students painting a mural of the Leader in Me “7 Habits of Happy Kids.”
Chapel Grove Elementary teachers received gas gift cards from Gastonia Seventh Day Adventist Church. In addition, Southside Baptist Church, Carolinas Telco Credit Union, and Communities in School donated school supplies and backpacks.
More than 100 students at Gaston Early College High School have qualified for membership in the National Beta Club.
Gaston Early College High School students assisted Keep Gastonia Beautiful volunteers with a cleanup of the Highland Community Garden.
Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences school counselor Desiree Lackey and Gaston College liaison Misti Elting met with students and families to create four-year plans and discuss career and college goals. In addition, the school is developing clubs and a student council and working on inviting medical professionals to meet virtually with students to talk about their career journeys.
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy held a “Spruce Up The Nest” beautification day to prepare for the new school year.
The Hunter Huss High School football team assisted with a landscaping and mulching project at Lingerfeldt Elementary prior to the start of the school year.
McAdenville Elementary received a donation of school supplies from the Cramer Mountain Investment Club and Cramerton Community Committee.
Through the school’s “Penny March Madness” fundraiser, the New Hope Elementary PTO purchased new indoor basketball goals.
Each week at Page Primary, one kindergarten class and one first grade class have the opportunity to earn “The Golden Brick” as a part of the school’s behavior/character education program.  Classes must show the characteristics of respect, responsibility, and safety to be selected for “The Golden Brick.”
Pleasant Ridge Elementary received signs from Cliff Dixon and Pressbox Creative to help with morning and afternoon traffic flow.
Parkwood Baptist Church and Creekside Nursery volunteers planted 60 shrubs as part of a beautification project to repurpose the interior courtyard at Sherwood Elementary.
Sherwood Elementary received a donation of school supplies from Myers Memorial United Methodist Church.
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Belmont Middle School Wildcat Golf Team Runners-Up at GCS Championship

Congratulations to Coach Beaver and the Belmont Middle School Wildcat Golf Team. They finished Runners-Up at the GCS Championship at Cherryville Country Club last week. Belmont Middle’s Will Monteith was the Top Golfer at the tournament with a low score of 40 to lead all players.

Gaston Schools photo
 

Belmont Middle Wildcats
are Division II Champs

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team beat York Chester Middle at York Chester last Wednesday 14-0 to become the Division II Champions for Gaston County.

Photos by Calvin Craig