1-22-23 roundup: Pro basketball and football, High school basketball, Middle school basketball

By Richard Walker

Only once in Gaston County’s basketball conference championship history has the same school won both the boys and girls titles.

It was the Southwest Roadrunners in 2009 as the boys edged Grier 42-38 and the girls rolled past Belmont 40-12 to complete 11-1 seasons.

If the preseason coaches’ polls are correct, Holbrook will join Southwest in that select circle since the county first hosted conference title games in 1982.

The Holbrook boys are a near unanimous favorite following a 7-3 season last season in which the Lions missed the four-team playoffs by tiebreaker. Southwest and Belmont, teams that met in the 2022 title game, are picked to finish second and third, respectively, in coaches’ voting.

Belmont upset unbeaten Southwest 52-42 in last year’s championship.

The girls title race is considered less competitive as defending champion Holbrook is the unanamious favorite after arguably the most dominant season in county history; The Lions went 12-0 and outscored its opponents 590-84 last season, including a 51-12 victory over W.C. Friday in the 2022 title game.

Here’s a look at each team with information provided by the respective coaches:


Belmont Wildcats
Head coach: Pet Sumner (4th year, 28-8)
Assistant coach: Zachary Bumgarner
Returning players: Cayden Rumph (PG, 8th), Hunter Gerould (SF, 8th), Jent Miller (PG, 8th), Cody Alexander (PG, 8th)
Newcomers: Eli Connor (SG/SF, 8th), Hunter Hartness (PF/C, 8th), Jeremiah Holt (G, 8th)
Bessemer City Tigers
Head coach: Rob Johnson (2nd year, 2-8)

Chavis Wolverines
Head coach: David Williams (2nd year, 0-10)
Assistant coaches: none
Returning players: Isaiah Champion (G/F, 8th), Aiden Thomas (G/F, 7th), Kenan Fowler (G/F, 8th), Cole Kelly (G, 8th), Elijah Proctor (G, 8th)
Newcomers: Narian Hopper (G/F, 7th), Josue Varela (C/F, 8th), Enijae Whitworth (G/F, 8th)

Cramerton Eagles
Head coach: Jason Cabe (9th year, 49-33)
Assistant coach: Ryan MaGill
Returning players: Trenden England, Marcus Rhodes, Semaj Hart, Gavin Jordan, Preston Huitt, Kmarion Dye, Aiden Helton, Cooper McMillan, Sean Barnett, Jordan Littlejohn
Newcomers: Cohen Summey, Carson Sloan, Rex Champion, Zack Larner, Coleman Schafer

W.C. Friday Cavaliers
Head coach: Adam Sellers (1st year)
Assistant coach: Amy Brown
Returning players: Aiden Thompson (7th), Tavier Medlin (7th)
Newcomers: none listed

Grier Knights
Head coach: Alec Hudson (1st year)
Assistant coaches: Darius Lindsay Aaron Brown
Returning players: Zyir Sowell (G, 8th), Braylon Smith (G, 7th), Ray Tribble (G, 8th)
Newcomers: Tylik Griggs (F, 8th), O’Brian Lockhart (G, 8th), Travion Sanders (F, 8th), Juan Arias (F, 8th), Tomorris Caldwell (G, 6th), William Brown (G, 6th)

Holbrook Lions
Head coach: Jordan Wallace (3rd year, 14-7; 6th year overall, 40-16)
Assistant coaches: John Brown, Bryan Nichols
Returning players: Savion Lindsay (G, 8th), Dyson Britt (G, 8th), Jeric Guthrie Barber (G, 8th), A.J. McClain (G, 8th), Payton McRae (G, 7th), Tramel Bell (G, 7th), Quay McGill (G, 7th), Aiden Smith (G, 7th)
Newcomers: Makylin Hinton (F, 8th), Mekhi McIntosh (G, 8th), Kaleb Griffin (G, 6th), E.J. Lindsay (G, 7th)

Mount Holly Hawks
Head coach: ​Ricky Bullock (2nd year, 5-5)
Assistant coaches: Landon Helton, Carlos Leslie
Returning players: O’Brian Lowery (G, 8th), Braylon Clark (F, 8th), Brayden Fortenberry (F, 8th)
Newcomers: none listed

Southwest Roadrunners
Head coach: Keith Rhodes (2nd year, 11-1)

Stanley Blue Devils
Head coach: Casey Miller (5th year, 24-18)
Assistant coach: Derrick Newman
Returning players: R.J. Rowe (G, 8th), Blake Wilkinson (G, 8th), Caleb Smith (G, 8th), Josh Norris (C, 8th)
Newcomers: Noah Nash (G, 7th), Bryson Summey (G, 7th)

York Chester Cougars
Coach: Timothy Robare (1st year)
Assistant coach: Tykel Smith
Returning players: Quincy Fortenberry (PG, 8th), Elijah Littlejohn (PF, 8th), Najeh Potts (SG, 8th)
Newcomers: Chancellor Manning (C, 8th), Raymond Hodge (C, 7th), Cerise Foketi (PF, 8th), Krishaun Williams (PG, 8th), Jayden Crawford (SF, 8th),
Chavis Mitchell (SF, 8th), Za’Quan Anderson (SF, 7th), Korzane Wilkes (PF, 8th), Omir Mckinney (SG, 8th), Michael Smith (C, 8th), Jadarian Bull (PF, 8th)


Belmont Wildcats
Head coach: Carey Galbreath (7th year, 32-27)
Assistant coach: Chuck Lari
Returning players: Stella Absher, Evelyn McKee, Ella Gibson, Ella Louise Blee, Lucy Rodenberger, Rowen Trexler, Sally Risk
Newcomers: Kaelinn Reagan, Lucy Frank, Alice Bass, Ellis Boyd

Bessemer City Tigers
Head coach: Timothy Justiss (1st year)

Chavis Wolverines
Head coach: Cheryl Houston-Word (5th year, 8-32)
Assistant coach: Abby Hawkins

Cramerton Eagles
Head coach: Carrie Curtis (7th year, 47-20)
Assistant coaches: none
Returning players: Jyi’yanna Watkins (G, 8th), Ava Cabe (G/F, 8th), Tori Chao (F, 8th), Priscilla Iyevbele (G, 8th), Emory Johnson (F/C, 8th), Addi Dellinger (G/F, 7th), Madison Potter (G/F, 7th)
Newcomers: Cameron Smith (C, 8th), Savannah Barnhill (G, 7th), Addison Duncan (C, 7th), Kalli Stuart (G, 7th), Sophia Green (G/F, 6th), Hailey Hinson (F/C, 6th), Hadley Skidmore (G/F, 6th), Mckayla Smith (G, 6th)

W.C. Friday Cavaliers
Coach: Amy Brown (1st year)
Assistant coach: Adam Sellers
Returning starters: 4
Returning players: Allyson Smith (8th), Diamond Jackson (8th), RyNa Watkins (8th)
Newcomers: none listed

Grier Knights
Head coach: Darius Lindsay (1st year)

Holbrook Lions
Head coach: Bryan Nichols (3rd year, 16-6)
Assistant coaches: Shamila Roberts, John Brown, Debbie Eaddy
Returning players: Jakyra Sadler (G, 7th), Shemiah McCoy (G, 7th), Jaleila Littlejohn (F, 8th), Arianna McDowell (F, 8th), Makenzie McCaskill (F, 7th), Isabella Escamriosa (G, 7th), Sophie Arrowood (G, 8th)
Newcomers: Layla Pless (C, 8th), Breauna Whitener (F, 8th), Shevinique Barnes (C, 6th), Genesis Hall (G, 6th)

Mount Holly Hawks
Head coach: Remyan Gray (2nd year, 2-8)
Assistant coach: Daniel Poole
Returning players: Mallory Hall (SG, 8th), Sara Pawlish (SF, 8th)
Newcomers: Riley Honbaier (PF, 8th), Brenly Womack (PG, 6th), Lauren Humphrey (C, 8th)

Southwest Roadrunners
Head coach: Keith Rhodes (1st year)

Stanley Blue Devils
Head coach: Brooke Cook (5th year, 18-22)
Assistant coaches: Mark Grahl, Jeff Tignor
Players: Carsyn Simmons, Raegan Lilja, Lilly Rymer, Molly Kuproski, Kayla Maiers, Savannah Price, Aqua Campbell, Alannah Chaney, Rhianna Deal, Olivia Falls, Mallory Gibson, Valeria Herrera Santaclara

York Chester Cougars
Head coach: Jarrett Hill (1st year)

The full Gaston County Conference 2023 schedule:

Jan. 23 – Belmont at Cramerton, Bessemer City at Chavis, Southwest at Holbrook, Stanley at Grier, York Chester at W.C. Friday
Jan. 26 – Bessemer City at Belmont, Chavis at York Chester, Cramerton at Stanley, W.C. Friday at Southwest, Grier at Mount Holly
Jan. 30 – Belmont at York Chester, Chavis at Southwest, W.C. Friday at Holbrook, Mount Holly at Cramerton, Stanley at Bessemer City
Feb. 2 – Belmont at Southwest, Bessemer City at Mount Holly, Chavis at Holbrook, Cramerton at Grier, York Chester at Stanley
Feb. 6 – W.C. Friday at Chavis, Grier at Bessemer City, Holbrook at Belmont, Mount Holly at York Chester, Southwest at Stanley
Feb. 9 – Belmont at W.C. Friday, Bessemer City at Cramerton, Southwest at Mount Holly, Stanley at Holbrook, York Chester at Grier
Feb. 13 – Chavis at Belmont, Cramerton at York Chester, W.C. Friday at Stanley, Grier at Southwest, Holbrook at Mount Holly
Feb. 16 – Holbrook at Grier, Mount Holly at W.C. Friday, Southwest at Cramerton, Stanley at Chavis, York Chester at Bessemer City
Feb. 21 – Grier at W.C. Friday, Holbrook at Cramerton, Mount Holly at Chavis, Southwest at Bessemer City, Stanley at Belmont
Feb. 23 – Belmont at Mount Holly, Bessemer City at Holbrook, Chavis at Grier, Cramerton at W.C. Friday, York Chester at Southwest
Feb. 27 – Cramerton at Chavis, W.C. Friday at Bessemer City, Grier at Belmont, Holbrook at York Chester, Mount Holly at Stanley
March 2 – tournament semifinals
March 7/8 – finals (March 7 girls, March 8 boys)












High school basketball

(Tuesday’s games)
Cramer at South Point
Crest at Ashbrook
Forestview at North Gaston
Kings Mountain at Huss
Bessemer City at Thomas Jefferson
Cherryville at Shelby
Highland Tech at Burns
Carolina International at Piedmont CC
Hickory at North Lincoln
Statesville at East Lincoln
Newton-Conover at Lincolnton
West Lincoln at Maiden
Langtree Charter at Lincoln Charter
Pine Lake Prep at Mountain Island Charter
Gaston Christian at Northside Christian
Gaston Day at Westminster Catawba










Pro basketball

Here’s the 2022-23 Charlotte Hornets schedule:

(13-34 record)
19 at San Antonio (W 129-102)
21 New Orleans (L 112-124)
23 at Atlanta (W 126-109)
26 at New York (L 131-134, OT)
28 at Orlando (L 93-113)
29 Golden State (W 120-113, OT)
31 Sacramento (L 108-115)
2 at Chicago (L 88-106)
4 at Memphis (L 99-130)
5 Brooklyn (L 94-98)
7 Washington (L 100-108)
9 Portland (L 95-105)
10 at Miami (L 112-117, OT)
12 at Miami (L 115-132)
14 at Orlando (W 112-105)
16 Indiana (L 113-125)
18 at Cleveland (L 122-132, 2 OT)
20 at Washington (L 102-106)
23 Philadelphia (W 107-101)
25 Minnesota (W 110-108)
28 at Boston (L 105-140)
2 Washington (W 117-116)
3 Milwaukee (L 96-105)
5 L.A. Clippers (L 117-119)
7 at Brooklyn (L 116-122)
9 New York (L 102-121)
11 at Philadelphia (L 113-131)
14 Detroit (L 134-141, OT)
16 Atlanta (L 106-125)
18 at Denver (L 115-119)
19 at Sacramento (W 125-119)
21 at L.A. Clippers (L 105-126)
23 at L.A. Lakers (W 134-130)
26 at Portland (L 113-124)
27 at Golden State (L 105-110)
29 Oklahoma City (W 121-113)
31 Brooklyn (L 106-123)
2 L.A. Lakers (L 115-121)
4 Memphis (L 107-131)
6 at Milwaukee (W 138-109)
8 at Indiana (L 111-116)
10 at Toronto (L 120-132)
12 at Toronto (L 114-124)
14 Boston (L 106-122)
16 Boston (L 118-130)
18 at Houston (W 122-117)
21 at Atlanta (W 122-118)
23 at Utah, 9 p.m.
24 at Phoenix, 9 p.m.
26 Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
29 Miami, 1 p.m.
31 at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
2 at Chicago, 8 p.m.
3 at Detroit, 7 p.m.
5 Orlando, 1 p.m.
8 at Washington, 7 p.m.
10 at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
11 Denver, 7 p.m.
13 Atlanta, 7 p.m.
15 San Antonio, 7 p.m.
24 at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
25 Miami, 7 p.m.
27 Detroit, 7 p.m.
1 Phoenix, 7 p.m.
3 Orlando, 7 p.m.
5 at Brooklyn, 6 p.m.
7 at New York, 7:30 p.m.
9 at Detroit, 7 p.m.
11 Utah, 7 p.m.
12 Cleveland, 5 p.m.
14 Cleveland, 7 p.m.
17 Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
20 Indiana, 7 p.m.
23 at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
24 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
26 Dallas, 1 p.m.
28 at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
31 Chicago, 7 p.m.
2 Toronto, 1 p.m.
4 Toronto, 7 p.m.
7 Houston, 7 p.m.
9 at Cleveland, 1 p.m.









Pro football

Here’s the 2022-23 NFL playoff schedule:

-Wild Card weekend
Jan. 14-16
No. 1 Kansas City – bye
No. 5 L.A. Chargers at Jacksonville – Jacksonville 31-30
No. 7 Miami at No. 2 Buffalo – Buffalo 34-31
No. 6 Baltimore at No. 3 Cincinnati – Cincinnati 24-17

No. 1 Philadelphia – bye
No. 7 Seattle at No. 2 San Francisco – San Francisco 41-23
No. 6 N.Y. Giants at No. 3 Minnesota – N.Y. Giants 31-24
No. 5 Dallas at No. 4 Tampa Bay – Dallas 31-14

-Confererence semifinals
Jan. 21-22
No. 4 Jacksonville at No. 1 Kansas City – Kansas City 27-20
No. 3 Cincinnati at No. 2 Buffalo – Cincinnati 27-10

No. 6 N.Y. Giants at No. 1 Philadelphia – Philadelphia 38-7
No. 5 Dallas at No. 2 San Francisco – San Francisco 19-12

-Conference championship games
Jan. 29
NFC – No. 2 San Francisco at No. 1 Philadelphia, 3 p.m. (FOX)
AFC – No. 3 Cincinnati at No. 1 Kansas City, 6:30 p.m. (CBS)

-Super Bowl
Feb. 12
At Glendale, Ariz., 6:30 p.m. (FOX)